True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier

Vernor Vinge; Edited by James Frenkel

Tor Books



Trade Paperback

384 Pages



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Once in a while a science fiction story is so visionary—yet so close to impending scientific developments—that it is not only an accurate predictor, but is itself the locus for new discoveries and developments. True Names is exactly such a work. This classic novella, which first appeared in the early 1980s, all but invented cyberspace.

Here we find not only Vernor Vinge's classic tale but also several essays on its lasting influence and import—as well as its sturdy and ongoing ties to the Internet more generally. These articles are the work of computer scientists and journalists at the cutting edge of the field, including, among others: Danny Hillis, founder of Thinking Machines and the first Disney Fellow; Timothy C. May, former chief scientist at Intel—and a major insider in the field of computers and technology; Marvin Minsky, co-founder of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab; Chip Morningstar and F. Randall Farmer, co-developers of Habitat (the first real computer interactive environment); Mark Pesce, co-creator of VRML and the author of The Playful World: How Technology Transforms Our Imagination; and Richard M. Stallman, research affiliate with MIT and founder of the Free Software movement.


Praise for True Names and the Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier

"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."—Kevin Kelly, Wired

"[True Names] is still a testament to SF's power to shape the future and give us advance warning of the rocky issues ahead."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1 You can tell that something unusual is going on these days by the way we draw our graphs. In normal times, we would use a linear scale to plot progress. The height of our graph would be proportional to the measure of progress. But we live at a remarkable moment in history, when progress is so rapid that we plot it on a logarithmic scale.
In the field of computing we have become accustomed to measures that double every few years--processor speeds, communication bandwidths, the number of sites on the Internet--so we plot them on a scale that shows each order of magnitude as an equal
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  • Vernor Vinge; Edited by James Frenkel

  • Vernor Vinge, author of several popular SF novels and stories, has twice won the Hugo Award. He is also a professor of computer science at San Diego State University.
  • Vernor Vinge Gloria Price