Questions about Vinge's Marooned in Realtime


  1. Has Vinge ever written anything about how Della Lu escaped from her situation upon blocking Renaissance from activating? My theory would be that Avery or someone else present to witness her actions thought fast enough to realize that Lu was probably now considered a hero in Realtime and that killing her would make a bad situation worse.

  2. The fifty million year Peacer bobble: really just a freak accident? That’s the only explanation Vinge gives, but… c’mooon… I was sure it was going to turn out that Genet/Chandault set up a bobble generator to embobble them for fifty million years the very split second their bobble was scheduled to burst. This seems perfectly in keeping with the rest of the story, and it would have just taken a single sentence during Genalt’s final speech to explain the event I propose. Am I missing something which would have made this (or anything else at all) a better story element than a “freak accident”?

  3. Where else does Vinge write about his ideas regarding “the singularity?” I don’t recall any talk of it in A Fire on the Deep or A Deepness in the Sky, but it’s been a few years since I read those so maybe I forgot… Is it talked about anywhere else in his corpus?[/spoiler]



Nobody’s read it? :slight_smile: I’m talking about Vernor Vinge’s novel Marooned in Realtime. It’s a great book, and he’s a great author. I’m sure there are people here familiar with his work.

I am replying to my own post because I remembered there was a fourth question I had wanted to ask:

[spoiler]I’m not a hundred percent sure I understand why the lie about Wil which Marta put in her diary was a big clue to Wil that she was trying to communicate specifically to him through that diary. I think the reasoning is something like as follows. Elsewhere, Marta explicitly tried to direct Yelena toward’s Wil as someone who should be working on the case of Marta’s disappearance. Meanwhile, the lie about Wil is a shocking anomaly, demanding explanation. What are some salient facts about the lie? That the purported audience of the diary (Yelena) would have no way to know that it was a lie, and that the only person who could know it was a lie is someone who normally wouldn’t have access to the diary material–except for the fact that he is investigating the case of Marta’s murder. But Wil is the one investigating the case largely due to Marta’s own words in the diary encouraging Yelena to place him in that position. So putting this all together, it begins to look like a very good theory that the lie about Wil has as its intended function the signification to Wil himself that Marta is trying to communicate with him–in other words, the message “behind” the lie could be paraphrased as “See how I’m saying something which picks you out specifically, in that you and only you are the one person who could know that it is a lie? This should confirm to you that I have you in mind and I want you searching for clues in this diary!”

The logic’s a bit rocky, or if it’s not its certainly hard to express clearly. But what do you think? Is this the right way to understand the lie as a “clue?” Or is there something more simple (or more complex) which I missed?[/spoiler]


I’ve read and enjoyed the book (along with the other two in the same setting) but unfortunately I have no ideas on how to answer your first two questions.

On the third, I don’t think Vinge has used the singularity as a major plot point in any of his other works. From what I’ve read, he feels it makes it almost impossible to construct a good plot in any future setting. But he really regards it as an inevitable likelihood, so he feels obliged to create scenarios to explain why it doesn’t happen. In The Peace War, he delayed it by a war and the Peace Authority stifling technology. In his more recent books, he’s used the Slow Zone as an explanation.

On your next post, my recollection is that:

Marta knew that other people, including her killer, would see her “diary”. So she had to be very subtle in hiding her clues under symbolsim. But she worried that the clues might be so subtle a reader might not even realize they were there to be looked for. So she planted the whopping lie about Wil in them to alert him that not everything was literally true in what she wrote. She knew that nobody else would realize what she wrote was a lie, because Wil and her were the only two supposed witnesses. Theoretically, I suppose she may have planted other similar lies about other people on the off-chance that somebody else was investigating.

I love Vernor Vinge’s stuff, but can’t recall enough about the “realtime” universe to answer your questions.

Why not email this guy:

He’s a real fan who created this website:

The website was active up until a year ago, so there may be hope of getting an answer.

I believe that Little Nemo’s answer about the OP’s second post is spot on.

I don’t recall that Vernor Vinge has any other books dealing with the Singularity, other than Peace War and Marooned in Realtime.

[spoiler]I don’t know of anyplace where Vinge might have written about Della Lu’s dealing with the immediate after effects of bobbling the Peace HQ. However, given her skills I’m not sure that it’s all that surprising she survived - and unlikely to be an interesting story. It’s not one that has the potential to transform the character, which is something that both the ‘Realtime’ stories do for Della. So, while I can see where it would be an exciting scene to read, I’m not sure that Vinge has any desire to write that story.

Secondly, for the 50 megayear Peace bobble - no one knows just what caused the unplanned extension of the bobble. It’s possible that one of your scenarios is likely - I just believe that in the absence of any evidence to the contrary it’s more likely to be accurate to ascribe to Murphy such a FUBAR than to deliberate action.[/spoiler]

Well, here’s his essay on The Singularity, if you’ve not encountered it before:

The Singularity