So, is anyone else having flashbacks to their high school reading of 1984?

What intrigued me the most about this book was the vocabulary. Vinge does not choose to coddle his audience by offering simple vocabulary or easing them into his world. Rather, he expects his readers to not only know but to also interact with what he has written. His readers should be able to sympathize quite well with all of the newness that Robert is experiencing. And just like Robert, his readers have a choice–to fight back and ignore the new vocabulary and inventions or to work with it and begin to understand the world in a more effective way.

The gaming chapter–“An Excellent Affiliance”–is the one that most intrigued me. Having begun to explore Second Life just to begin to understand it a bit more, I found myself thinking about that chapter. In fact, I would imagine that most video games and/or virtual reality games are hoping for this goal of being more realistic and life-like. So, people will pay for their games to be more interactive, but the idea of interacting in real life is actually becoming more and more intimidating. Vinge writes that the Hill kept the players from running into each other. So, while there are many people playing on the same hill, none of them would truly have contact with others. In my head I picture virtual sledding, and then I think that it must be nice to not have the constant pain in my right hand from the real life sledding accident where I encountered a couple on their first date, an electric fence, and my first bone break. And people what virtual reality? What is wrong with the world? 😉

As others have mentioned, not knowing who Mr. Rabbit is became the resounding question as I continued reading. Mostly, I am going to go with the idea of Rabbit being AI. And the reason is this–because this book is about changing technologies, it would seem that Vinge wouldn’t necessarily want Rabbit to represent a character. Rather, he would want Rabbit to take on attributes of various characters (like any AI might do thanks to their creative programmer), but really when it comes right down to it, he is exactly what Vinge might be asking his audience to be cautious of. Still playing with that one…