The Peace War

Vernor Vinge
The Peace War Cover

The Peace War


A quick read, this novel reveals the setting slowly, and I won't spoil that here. Suffice to say it is set in the area of California in an authoritarian near future. The tale is told from the perspectives of multiple characters, each also developed slowly. Very much a case of a rebellion against the authority.

It also has other aspects of Campbell's hero quest - the kid, the mentor, mundane vs special worlds, etc. One of the main characters is a young minority, the other a strong female pilot. Written in 1984, it also has aspects of cyberpunk. So what's not to like?

Institutionalized sexism and overt segregation, neither with a reason in the plot, are unnecessary baggage here. The extortion between Della and Michael doesn't really make sense. Technology is used in too-convenient ways - farmers have television and play old shows (on a local network?) in the evening together, but later in the book the authoritarians use this same method to broadcast propaganda.

This story finishes with "End Book I", and it is followed by a short story and another novel. Both this book and the short story stand alone fine; the two novels were collected in one book later on. It seems familiar enough that I read it in high school, but not memorable enough that I am sure. It was nominated for a Hugo, but did not win. Overall a 3 star rating.

I liked this quote, a good fit for our increasingly authoritarian present. "To think that some lousy contractors could have brought down the greatest nation in history!"