True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier
By Vernor Vinge
(Tor Books, Paperback, 9780312862077, 384pp.)
Publication Date: December 14, 2001
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Once in a great while a science fiction story is so visionary, yet so close to impending scientific developments that it becomes not only an accurate predictor, but itself the locus for new discoveries and development. True Names by Vernor Vinge, first published in 1981, is such a work.
Here is a feast of articles by computer scientists and journalists on the cutting edge of the field, writing about innovations and developments of the Internet, including, among others:
Danny Hillis: Founder of thinking machines and the first Disney Fellow.
Timothy C. May: former chief scientist at Intel--a major insider in the field of computers and technology.
Marvin Minsky: Cofounder of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab.
Chip Morningstar and F. Randall Farmer: Codevelopers of habitat, the first real computer interactive environment.
Mark Pesce: Cocreator of VRML and the author of the Playful World: How Technology Transforms Our Imagination.
Richard M. Stallman: Research affiliate with MIT; the founder of the Free Software Movement.
Vernor Vinge has won five Hugo Awards, including one for each of his last three novels, A Fire Upon the Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999), and Rainbow's End (2006). Known for his rigorous hard-science approach to his science fiction, he became an iconic figure among cybernetic scientists with the publication in 1981 of his novella "True Names," which is considered a seminal, visionary work of Internet fiction. His many books also include Marooned in Realtime and The Peace War.
Born in Waukesha, Wisconsin and raised in Central Michigan, Vinge is the son of geographers. Fascinated by science and particularly computers from an early age, he has a Ph.D. in computer science, and taught mathematics and computer science at San Diego State University for thirty years. He has gained a great deal of attention both here and abroad for his theory of the coming machine intelligence Singularity. Sought widely as a speaker to both business and scientific groups, he lives in San Diego, California.
Many Net veterans cite True Names as a seminal influence that shaped their ideas about Net policy. It became a cult classic among hackers and presaged everything from Internet interactive games to Neuromancer.