Marooned in Realtime Vernor Vinge


Science Fiction

Marooned in Realtime Marooned in RealtimeVernor Vinge; Tor Books 2004WorldCat

Wil Brierson had been a cop in the later 21st century. But on his last case, someone wanted him out of the way. The perpetrator didn’t kill him, but might as well have. Instead Brierson was put into stasis. When he wakes up “the next day” it is hundreds of thousands of years later. Now the high tech Korolev women are trying to ensure the human species survives. They are rescuing people who come out of stasis. Hopefully, there will be enough people to keep the species going. It will be close, though. They keep people in stasis between each rescue so no one ages. Then they will choose a time when everyone can be awake and repopulate a reformed and reshaped Earth.

Someone doesn’t agree with their idealistic look at the future of mankind. When people are bobbled for stasis the first time after Brierson is awakened, Marta Korolev, the visionary, is purposefully left out of the bobbles. She lives over 40 years in real time before she dies. By the time the bobbles stop and open, she has been dead many years. Now, when they are not bobbled, Brierson has to discover who purposefully marooned Marta to her death. If he can’t discover who it was, her legacy won’t survive despite her sister Yelen’s hard work.

Brierson knows it has to be one of the high techs. These people were bobbled in the 22nd century before the 23rd century Extinction when most of mankind mysteriously disappeared. The low techs, like himself, don’t have the technology hardware or intelligence to have been able to pull it off. Now he has to fine who and why.

In Marooned in Real Time Vernor Vinge shows the reader how the physical shape of the Earth will change over the millenia yet how human nature doesn’t. There are still idealistic people who want to get along. There are still controlling people who want everyone to do things their way. There is still independence from and dependence on each other. The novel is confusing at first, which mirrors Wil Brierson’s confusion. The reader has to catch up on the technology in use. Although Brierson is accepting of that, he is still grappling with being ripped from his family and life and thrust into this unknown future.

Vinge is a Hugo Award winning author and retired mathematics professor. In Marooned in Real Time he gives insight into life completely alone in a completely natural environment. The only intrusion by man outside of the bobbles is the one Marta Korolev herself imposes. Her diary and the future society make an interesting contrast. Plus there’s a pretty good mystery.

I was having trouble finding it at the library. I finally found an interlibrary loan copy through San Diego State University, the school where Vinge was a professor.

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