The Barnes & Noble Review
Marooned in Realtime, Vernor Vinge's Hugo Award–nominated sequel to his 1984 classic The Peace War, is equal parts murder mystery and hard science fiction adventure that takes place 50 million years in the future as the last remnants of human civilization battle extinction -- and each other.
Like The Peace War, the major plotlines of Marooned in Realtime revolve around bobbles -- impenetrable force fields that can separate small areas of space from the normal universe. Fifty million years after the events in The Peace War, small groups of humans have survived by bobbling themselves in stasis for hundreds of thousands of years at a time. With less than 300 humans left alive and invaluable high-tech devices inevitably breaking down, a long-term plan must be implemented to ensure humankind's survival. Those who remain alive, however, are bitterly divided. When one of the leading planners, Marta Korolev, is cruelly murdered (she is left alone in realtime while everyone else spends centuries in stasis), a former police officer must somehow figure out who the culprit is before the human race is wiped out forever.
Fans of Vinge's later works -- like the Hugo Award–winning novels A Fire upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky -- who have yet to read Marooned in Realtime may be surprised that numerous publications have called the 1986 sequel to The Peace War his best work. Compelling, thought provoking, and visually breathtaking, this masterwork of imagination is a must-read for all who call themselves fans of science fiction. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This sequel to Vinge's novel The Peace War leaps forward 50 million years to a time when all of humanity numbers some 300 people, and those few are bitterly divided. In the midst of an extended debate over how best to survive, one of the leading planners, Marta Korolev, is murdered. Ex-cop Wil Brierson soon finds evidence of sabotage and zealously pursues his investigation with the aid of star explorer Della Lu. At times the setting might be any Silicon Valley suburb where the class distinctions are between high- and low-tech. As a mystery, this is a bust, in large part because only a few central characters are more than stick figures. Some of Vinge's sidelights are much more intriguing, particularly Marta's diary of her 40-year exile and the hotly contested question of what caused man's extinction in the 23rd century. (September)
Science Fiction Review
"The scope and grandeur of the plot mark this novel as a high point in hard SF creativity. Highly recommended."
"Marooned in Realtime combines the expansive mode of hard SF with the narrow focus of the detective story, complete with a final orchestrated showdown. The result is exciting; you can hardly turn the pages fast enough."
Read an Excerpt
Headline: Everyone agreed that the show had been impressive.
The rescue blasting had been about a hundred times as energetic as the ninteenth-century Krakatoa blow-off. Billions of tonnes of ash and rock were pumped into the stratosphere.
When it came down dry, it was like gray-brown snow, piling obscene drifts on houses, trees and the bodies of small animals. Even the sea had a layer of scum on it.
At the center of this vast lake sat a perfect sphere, the bobble. Glowing orange-red peeked through netted cracks in the scab. Of course, nothing marred its surface. A typical bobble, in an untypical place.
In a few months, the molten lake would freeze over, and an unprotected man could walk right to the side of the Peacer bobble. For a few years there would be brilliant sunsets and unusually cool weather. In a century or two, nature would have forgotten this affront, and the Peacer bobble would reflect forest green.
Yet it would be unknown thousands of years before the bobble burst, and the men and women within could join the colony.
As usual, the Korolevs had a plan.