Extended Audio Sample

Download Rainbows End Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Rainbows End (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Vernor Vinge
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,643 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Vernor Vinge Narrator: Eric Conger Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2007 ISBN:
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Vernor Vinge doesn't write novels very quickly, but when he writes one, it's well worth the wait. His last two novels have won the coveted Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel of the year. Rainbows End is set in the same near future as his novella Fast Times at Fairmont High, which won the Hugo Award in 2002 for Best Novella. Set a few decades from now, Rainbows End is an epic adventure that encapsulates in a single extended family the challenges of the technological advances of the first quarter of the 21st century. The information revolution of the past 30 years blossoms into a web of conspiracies that could destroy Western civilization. At the center of the action is Robert Gu, a former Alzheimer's victim who has regained his mental and physical health through radical new therapies, and his family. His son and daughter-in-law are both in the military, but not a military we would recognize, while his middle-school-age granddaughter is involved in perhaps the most dangerous game of all, with people and forces more powerful than she or her parents can imagine.

Filled with excitement and Vinge's trademark potpourri of fascinating ideas, Rainbows End is another triumphantly entertaining novel by one of the true masters of the field.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christopher | 2/16/2014

    " I had previously read two short pieces that were incorporated into this: "Fast Times at Fairmont High" and "Synthetic Serendipity." Because so much of the novel's intrigue and surprise rests on its intense vision of near future technology, I had to rate it somewhat based on how impressed I was by those stories years ago--and I liked them a whole lot. And the novel added in plenty more ideas of interest, so it's well worth reading. That said, there are a few problems. There are too many characters, too weakly characterized, and too unimportant to the plot considering the screen-time they're given. And for a long while, the reader has to care about this future Earth's 'famous' fictitious characters, without any good introduction to them (there's a real missed opportunity to tell little side stories within the story such that we might actually care about the 'Librarians Militant' or the 'Scoochis' in the same way that some characters of the novel care about them). And the heavy-handedness of the novel's points/morals was grating. Yes, I might agree that people need to adapt to new technologies, that kids pick new media up and make new worlds of them faster than adults can figure out, that search/analysis skills and crowdsourcing and things like that are going to be more and more important, that we need to recognize when others have changed and accept them anew, and so on, and so on. But illustrations of these points were often so blunt as to verge on telling rather than showing. Still, it would have been a decent book with even half as many ideas in it, so Vinge deserves his accolades for it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 2/8/2014

    " I was deeply disappointed in this book. Vinge is one of my favourite writers, but this completely failed to grip me. One of the main problems was the lead character - at times unpleasant and deeply manipulative, at others being presented more sympatehtically, but without really seeming to gel. His switches towards a more sympathetic attitude seemed more like authorial fiat than character development, and his obsessions and goals never seemed to right true. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Owen | 2/2/2014

    " Vinge's view of the future comes through some VERY interesting contact lenses! His approach to introducing readers to the alien future is novel. The plot meanders and drags at times, and the main character is singularly difficult to related to, but the presentation of Augmented Reality and high technology was enjoyable throughout. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tynan Szvetecz | 1/30/2014

    " Vernor Vinge has written two of the most brilliant books ever - this is really cool for it's look into the near future and the power of the internet - but it's not up to par with his previous work. Definitely worth it just to see the role Google could play in our lives in the next 14 years. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 1/29/2014

    " fiction,science fiction,audiobook,augmented reality "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fuzzy | 1/28/2014

    " The best sf book I've read in a long time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 The3rdwall | 1/19/2014

    " great cyperpunky book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ken | 1/16/2014

    " Vinge's vision of the future may be more realistic than most, but his characters and plot drag. The first chapter is a bait-and-switch, introducing us to fascinating heroes, villains, and schemes, before focusing the rest of the book on less likable and interesting settings. Even one particular scene, which is identified as a diversion for the real action, is described in far greater detail across many more chapters than the situation warrants. And that's the overall problem I had with Rainbows End: too much attention in all the wrong places. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jared Housh | 1/15/2014

    " Cute little story. I particularly enjoyed the characterization. I guess cyberpunk isn't totally dead, it's just relegated to a tastefully decorated corner. This book had a very 30 minutes in to the future feel that I really enjoyed. I read this in one sitting so I suppose that says something. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andi | 12/24/2013

    " This book is better in concept than execution, but I still enjoyed it. Anyone interested in the issues of augmented reality should take a look. If you're not a serious geek though, you might want to skip it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 11/23/2013

    " I liked this more than A Fire Upon the Deep, at least in the beginning when it was very idea-centric. I still don't actually find Vinge's adventure-storytelling mode super compelling, and basically once they started the Librareome expedition I got monotonically less and less interested in reading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Vivienne | 6/2/2013

    " I got to page 99 and decided to abandon. I felt it started off well but I just couldn't get into Robert as a main character. I couldn't face another 260+ pages of the man. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becky | 4/23/2013

    " Amazing ideas, kind of clockwork characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David Benson | 12/26/2012

    " Excellent premise, but I couldn't get more than half way through. The writing style and the characters did nothing for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pixelmonkee | 7/24/2012

    " compelling and original view of the near future. hint: it's all the same, just heavily augmented. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rowena | 8/18/2011

    " There's a rabbit in here! Someone obviously knows some Lewis Carroll, but this one's gray. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Devyn | 8/14/2011

    " Didn't finish it...won't finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Harvey | 5/28/2011

    " I found this a bit hard to get into but I'm glad I persevered. Interesting ideas about near-future technological developments, although I'm not entirely convinced by some of them. The protagonist, Robert Gu, was not a terribly sympathetic character and the story didn't particularly grab me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jon | 5/23/2011

    " Good, but i bit to much action in "silent messaging". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gsmalz | 4/2/2011

    " Brilliant hard SF in the vein of Neuromancer and Snow Crash. This a visionary book and posits a not-to-distant future that seems entirely plausible on many levels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leon | 4/2/2011

    " Quite interesting basic idea, but I found the smaller ideas quite repetitive as I had already read some of the other Vinge novels out there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pixelmonkee | 3/3/2011

    " compelling and original view of the near future. hint: it's all the same, just heavily augmented. "

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About the Author
Author Vernor Vinge

Vernor Vinge has won five Hugo Awards, including three for Best Novel, for A Fire Upon the Deep, A Deepness in the Sky, and Rainbows End. For many years a professor of computer science, he is a highly regarded, visionary authority on the subject of the technological Singularity. He lives in San Diego, California.

About the Narrator

Eric Conger is a stage actor, voice artist, and award-winning audiobook narrator. He has narrated more than 125 fiction and nonfiction audiobooks and was a four-time finalist for the Audie Award, both as a sole narrator in 2007 and 2008 and as part of a multicast reading in 2001 and 2012. He has earned six AudioFile Earphones Awards. His extensive voice-over work includes more than 5,000 narrations for commercial ventures. A graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Paris, he also works as a writer and playwright. He has appeared in over fifty plays and has also translated plays of Molière and Feydeau for regional theaters. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children.