The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge: Wikis


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The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge  
Collected stories of vernor vinge 2001 bookcover.jpg
Author Vernor Vinge
Country United States of America
Genre(s) Science fiction
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date 17 November 2001
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 464 (Hardback 1st edition)
ISBN 0-312-87373-5
OCLC Number 48223605
Dewey Decimal 813/.54 21
LC Classification PS3572.I534 A6 2001

The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge is a collection of science fiction short stories by Vernor Vinge. The stories were first published from 1966 to 2001, and the book contains all of Vinge's published short stories from that period except "True Names" and "Grimm's Story".




Bookworm, Run!

Also appears in:

The United States government has experimented with Intelligence Amplification by connecting a chimpanzee named Norman Simmons to an electronic memory bank. However, they have accidentally cross-connected the experimental computer with the government's main databank. Norman has accessed all classified federal data and knowing this carries severe punishment, he uses this information to escape captivity.

Norman remains remotely connected to the government computers, and due to their own security systems, he cannot be disconnected. Norman uses his information access advantageously to evade government forces. Eventually, he contacts the last remaining Soviet agents in the United States to help him escape to Canada. At this point, the American forces close in, and Norman and his Soviet accomplices are captured. Norman is returned to the research compound and the Russians have their memories read and erased. The agent's memories reveal that the USSR has a similar experiment running: they have enhanced a dog with similar results. The story ends with the American officials contemplating what they see as the coming IA arms race.

The Accomplice

Also appears in:

Bob Royce, CEO of Royce Technology, Inc., and his security officer Arnold Su have discovered that one of their employees has embezzled 4 million dollars worth of computer time. The evidence points to Howard Prentice, a 90-something renaissance man doing computer science research for the company. Prentice reveals that he has used the computers to create a 4-hour computer-generated film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. This file is the culmination of a 30-year project by Prentice and his wife Moira to turn film into an art form which can be produced by individual artists.

The Peddler's Apprentice

(with Joan D. Vinge) Also appears in:

Describes the arrival of a peddler, Jagit Katchetooriantz, who travels into the future to sell his wares. The peddler travels into the future by placing himself in a stasis field and emerging from time to time. The peddler sells items from the previous civilization to the current civilization, hence he is dependent upon a changing civilization to create demand for his goods. During this visit the peddler encounters a planetary government which is dedicated to preventing any changing in civilization by maintaining the majority humanity at subsistence level. This government captures Jagit and attempts to interrogate him using their global computer network. However, the people who run this government and the computer network have survived from Jagit's last visit and he knows the passwords and codes to control it. Jagit uses this power to destroy the network and the government freeing humanity from its authority. He returns to his stasis field at the end of the story to continue his travel into the future.

The Ungoverned

Also appears in:

Falls in the Bobble series between the novels The Peace War and Marooned in Realtime. Set in a future market anarchist American society, composed solely of independent individuals and private organizations. Security and police services are provided by organizations like Al's Protection Racket and Michigan State Police (MSP). There is at least one remaining nation-state, the Republic of New Mexico, which has territorial ambitions on Kansas. This invasion is repelled by the cooperation of the MSP and other individuals and private organizations.

Long Shot

Also appears in:

Description of a voyage from Earth to Alpha Centauri by an automated, AI controlled colony ship. The ship is launched because the Earth is going to be destroyed by a rapidly expanding sun. Ilse, the AI, is able to deal with the various situations and problems during the voyage to arrive on a suitable planet around Alpha Centauri where the process of rebuild the human race is begun.


Also appears in:

  • New Worlds SF, 1965

Set in a world where the Northern Hemisphere has been devastated by nuclear war, and nations in the Southern Hemisphere are now dominant. A scientific fleet from the Southern American Empire is investigating Antarctica and discovers an isolated tribe of humans. It is eventually determined that the tribe is descended from the only group of Afrikaners to escaped from South Africa after a genocide of all white Africans after the northern hemisphere's nuclear war.

Conquest by Default

Also appears in:

Set in the same work as "Apartness" but farther in the future where an alien civilization, the Mikin, have made contact with Earth. The Mikin culture is newly star-faring, profit driven, anarchy. The Mikin's technology is significantly advanced of humanity's and their culture is unbelievably diverse due to an ingrained acceptance of differences. Although a small fraction of the Mikin want to eradicate humanity, the Mikin's primary goal is to bring other societies into their culture.

The Whirligig of Time

Also appears in:

The story opens with a description of an attack on the unidentified losing side of a nuclear exchange. Ballistic missiles rain down on military installations, while smuggled bombs destroy cities. Over the next centuries the winning side of this conflict forms an oppressive solar system wide empire. The rest of the story is set in space on the occasion of the imperial heir's birthday celebration. During the party, the ship's captain is granted, and takes, an opportunity to use an antique nuclear weapon from the original war to destroy the spaceship. The captain believes this action will decapitate the empire and free the solar system from its tyranny.

Bomb Scare

Also appears in:

During a battle in which one colonizing species is about to use a mass-energy converter to destroy the main planet of a solar system they wish to conquer, an unknown craft appears intent upon doing the same to the system's star. This unknown craft belongs to a species which has "supervised its own evolution for more than 100,000 years" and the conversion of the star would destroy the entire galaxy. The unknown craft is crewed by only two beings, and before they can destroy the star their mother appears behind them demanding to know what they are doing. At the mothers appearance it revealed that this species are the far-future descendants of humanity.

The Science Fair

Also appears in:

In a feudal society where scientific research is guarded at all times by the House which funded it, except during the "Science Fair". The Fair is an event held once a generation where scientific research is made public. One of the scientists reveals that he has discovered a star which is coming nearer to their world. He advocates that all scientific research must be made public and non-proprietary if the planet is to be able to cope with the nearest approach of this star. This story follows the agent who is hired to keep the scientist from being assassinated before he makes his presentation of his findings.


Also appears in:

Sandra goes to stay with her grandmother and discovers that she possesses an artifact, the Gemstone, that was found by her grandfather in Antarctica. The object is a skull-sized rock, that emits feelings of cold and desolation, which are assumed to be memories of Antarctica, and can convert plastic into diamonds. These diamonds have supported Sandra's grandmother since her grandfather's death, but they also prompt some young men to break into her house and attempt to extort the cache of rough diamonds they assume she must have. During the break-in the house catches fire and the Gemstone is exposed to the fire. The heat cause the Gemstone, which turns out to be a creature, to become mobile, active and happy while it is in the fire. As the fire burns out it returns to its dormant cold state.

Just Peace

(with William Rupp) Also appears in:

Chente, agent of the Canadian Hegemony is duplicated 19 light-years from Earth on the colony New Canada. The planet is about to undergo a core collapse which will likely destroy the entire colony. Chente must convince the disparate warring factions in the colony to work together to build an industrial base with which to deal with the disaster. When he is unsuccessful at convincing them, he set himself up as an enemy to both groups in order to force them to work and develop together.

Original Sin

Also appears in:

The story occurs on the planet Shima. The Shimans are a species whose individuals live only two and a half Earth-years, are extremely intelligent, and experience a ravenous hunger throughout their lives before dying in a parthenogenetic frenzy as their hundreds of young devour them from within. They have progressed from paleolithic to industrial age in the two centuries since contact with humanity. Earth's government works to keep the Shimans isolated on their planet because of the belief that the Shimans' hunger and fast life-cycle would cause them to overrun the galaxy. A human researcher is being employed to develop a longevity treatment for the Shimans. The organization that is backing the researcher wants the Shimans to be released in order to provide a worthy competitor to humanity, forcing them to improve and adapt.

The Blabber

Also appears in:

On a human colony planet named Middle America, just inside the Slow Zone, lives Hamid, and his unique pet, the Blabber. While Hamid is working with tourists from the Beyond in an attempt to get out of the Slow Zone, another visitor, Ravna&Tines comes to the planet, offering to buy the Blabber from him. When Hamid does not accept their deal expediently, Ravna&Tines launch attacks on the planet and the Beyond tourists. Hamid and the Blabber eventually end up with Ravna&Tines and head into the Beyond.

The story occurs in the Zones of Thought universe and occurs after a A Fire Upon the Deep. Tines is a member of the multi-part species introduced in A Fire Upon the Deep, the tines, and the Blabber is a missing member of Tines who is re-incorporated at the end of the story.

Win A Nobel Prize!

Also appears in:

  • Nature Vol. 407 No. 6805 "Futures", 2000

This is a letter offering a position to a researcher with an organization that will provide him with a mind-machine interface, implemented by a non-reversible tailored infection and manipulated with MRI. The letter describes other organizations using the technique to induce any psychopathology, but promises to transform the researcher into an idiot savant in his field.

The technology also appears in the novel A Deepness In the Sky used by the Emergents, a totalitarian, slave-based culture.

The Barbarian Princess

(This is also the first section of Tatja Grimm's World.) Also appears in:

Rey Guille operates a shipboard publishing company which sails from market to market. At one port they discover Tatja Grimm, ignorant but unexpectedly intelligent, who is a perfect match for the character Harla, Barbarian Princess. When the ship runs into trouble at one of their ports of call with the Termite Folk, who take this fiction very seriously, Tatja is used to bluff an escape.

Fast Times at Fairmont High

(occurs in the same milieu as Rainbows End) First appearance here.

Fairmont High is an advanced high school in a future where everyone has access to almost unlimited computation and bandwidth. However, Fairmont High believes that it is important that their students be able to operate both on-line and off-line; thus, one of their exams must be completed while isolated from the network. The story follows two students as they investigate some rumored strange activity as their off-line exam project.

This story won the Hugo Award for Best Novella in 2002.

Release details

  • 2001, United States of America, Tor Books ISBN 0-312-87373-5, Pub date 17 November 2001, Hardback

Sources, references, external links, quotations


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