Friday, May 6, 2011

Rainbows End- A Novel With One Foot In The Future

The book Rainbows End was both intriguing and frustrating to me.  The continuity of the plot was off in my opinion; Vinge's approach of starting off with a conflict and getting you interested and excited about it, leads to endless pages where the initial conflict is barely mentioned, to only jerkily return to the conflict at the end of the book.  Both times that the storyline changed this dramatically it felt like hitting a wall.  You had to pick up the pieces of new information (and your brain) and follow the new conflict presented.  I enjoyed Robert Gu's journey of being reintroduced into a world all new to him, and how he reacts to the prevalence of technology in this world and his new role in this world.  However, it was frustrating, because I do not feel like either storyline was tied up as neatly as I would have wished.  Looking up information online, I found that a sequel is rumored to this book.  Part of me wants to read this new novel to see if the storyline would have a more complete ending to me, but part of me does not wish to bother, having already been disappointed with the ending of the first book. 

Overall the book was successful in raising interesting questions about the future of technology.  How much control are we giving over to technology?  How plugged in are we into the technological world, and is that level too absorbed to be capable of relying on ourselves, or perhaps too unabsorbed so that we cannot function successfully in today's society?  This book may have been set in the future, but like many futuristic novels, Rainbows End is a mirror in order for us to take a good luck at ourselves today.

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