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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Peace War by Verner Vinge

$14.95 reprint pb; 304 pgs
From BarnesandNoble.comThe novel that garnered Vinge his first "Best Novel" Hugo Finalist nomination, back in print after thirteen years. With a combination of hard-SF concepts, tight plotting, and appealing characters, Vinge tells a now-classic story of the Few triumphing over the Many. The Peace Authority, wielding a new state-of-the-art weapon, takes over the world, and claims to be "maintaining the peace" while really controlling the scattered survivors of the new world. The inventor of their weapon, which was never meant to be a weapon at all, leads a resistance of high-tech "tinkers" who fight to defeat the "Peace."I had to check the publishing date on this book and saw it was 1984, which would explain the feeling of chronic fear from Authorities, the aftermath of another world wide war, and the fall of civilization. All speculative fiction surrounding the Cold War. However, I thought it read like a blend of the scifi from the 1950's and the early 1980's.

I also noted this was a Hugo Nominee in 1985, pitted against the likes of:

Neuromancer by William Gibson [Ace, 1984]
Emergence by David R. Palmer [Bantam, 1984]
The Peace War by Vernor Vinge [Bluejay, 1984]
Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein [Ballantine Del Rey, 1984]
The Integral Trees by Larry Niven [Ballantine Del Rey, 1984]

A rather eclectic selection of books, with the winner being Neuromancer by Gibson. Cyberpunk.

The book dealt with fear and paranoia on both sides - the 'Tinkers' fear of being discovered as one tried to 'reinvent' past contraptions, electronics, and other devices; and the Peace Authorities fear of someone actually doing exactly that. It went farther though, it was the fear of one man in the Peace Authority and his all encompassing paranoia of one man - a Tinker - who in his mind had created the whole problem in the first place. Which never really made sense and left me scratching my head more often than not.

Worth reading, but not one of Vinge's best in my opinon.

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