Vinge has sometimes left me a bit cold, but I rather enjoyed this Hugo nominee. In particular, after a run of really bad stories about cures for Alzheimer's which seemed to feature on the shortlist every year for the last while, it was rather good to have a central character whose Alzheimer's is cured, and this is only the start of his and his family's problems.
That's not the main part of the plot, which is a complex tale of intelligence (both agencies and artificial), set in the brilliantly realised environment of UC San Diego a few decades from now. Of course, it's a landscape Vinge must know well, but I think he has brought it to life in loving detail here. Indeed, I have to rate his worldbuilding (of a familiar world) rather ahead of the complex story, involving three generations of the same family in the conspiracy by sheer coincidence.
There's lots to like here, and I suspect (given Vinge's previous record) this probably has a good chance of winning the award. I'm not wildly grabbed by it, though, and I wonder whether either of the other two nominees will grab me in the same way that Spin did last year, or River of Gods the year before.
Top 5 UnSuggestions for this book:
- The awakening by Kate Chopin
- My sister's keeper : a novel by Jodi Picoult
- Blue like jazz : nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality by Donald Miller
- Lucky by Alice Sebold
- Balzac and the little Chinese seamstress by Dai Sijie