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