When I first read about this book, I thought that there must be some typo in the title. Surely it should be “Rainbow’s End”, shouldn’t it? We all have read stories about rainbows’ ends and all the wealth that awaits there. So it was a natural reaction to assume that this book by Vernor Vinge would be some variation on that old story.
Once I bought the book and read a few pages, I realized that, as odd as it may sound, the title was really “Rainbows End”. It still amazes me how the absence of a simple symbol - the apostrophe in this case - changes the whole meaning and mood of the title.
The book is a near-future science fiction novel. It takes place in 2025. People are using wearable computers all the time and augmented reality is used by everyone. Well actually some people don’t use those new technologies. Some of them live in a retirement home called “Rainbows End” - a zone free of those new technologies. Some live in the normal world but try to make a stand against the new things by sticking to notebook computers and printed books. There’s a pretty funny scene when one of them tries to prove that all you can do with wearable computers can also be achieved with a notebook and that the new technologies are so much more insecure than the old ones.
There are much similarities to our own times. We laugh at people who are scared by the internet and by computers in general but how will it look like when our generation is the old generation. Will we be flexible enough to adapt or will we stick to what we learned to accept and love now.
The book is much more than that. There’s a a crime of international scale, love and friendship and well thought out protagonists. I enjoyed reading the book very much.