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(Jon sez:)

Your Writer: Jon Kilgannon A Miracle of Science is about a hopeful future where science is swinging upwards towards a technological singularity, a concept best explained by former SDSU professor Vernor Vinge.

I first read Vinge's work back when A Fire Upon the Deep came out, a decade ago. At the core of Vinge's writings is the concept of the Singularity, a point in time when technology has become so advanced that it is nigh-impossible to explain to anyone from today.

The colonists of Mars in MoS have advanced technologically far beyond even the standards of the Earth of 2148, to the point where Benjamin is pondering what magical technology Captain Quevillion can bring to bear to find him among the transients on a crowded station. Looks like he's having fun thinking about it, huh?

P.S. Mark has promised to upgrade me from cantaloupe to bell pepper, since I pointed out that cantaloupes can't type. I think it escaped him that bell peppers can't type, either.

P.P.S. Mark writes "Mark sez" after I send him this column. Let's sit back and watch him reply...

(Mark sez:)

Your Artist: Mark Sachs I am shocked, shocked, at the implication I would take advantage of a detail of scheduling to make fun of Jon. Why, the very idea.

Anyhoo, Vernor Vinge is popular over on this side of the HTML table, too; he's been my favorite SF writer since I found a copy of Marooned in Realtime in the public library years and years ago. Vinge was the first writer to stare unafraid directly into the eye of accelerating technological change and try to imagine the logical consequences of it -- not just mine it for the usual science fiction plot devices of laser guns and interplanetary kingdoms, but actually picture how it would change our society and ultimately even challenge our definition of humanity. Other authors such as John Brunner were toying with those concepts before him, and in the years since he broke down that door a few other writers have walked through it (Charles Stross and Alastair Reynolds are good examples, as is Adam Warren in his usual eclectic fashion) but Vinge is the one who showed the way.

So go down to your local library right this very second and check out a Vinge book. Or else Caprice will cry, and you don't want that, do you?