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TRUE NAMES by Vernor Vinge


and The Opening of the Cyberspace Frontier

by Vernor Vinge & edited by James Frenkel

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-86207-5
Publisher: Tor

Before William Gibson coined the term "cyberspace" and, along with authors like Bruce Sterling and Neal Stephenson, forged our understanding of the virtual landscape, Hugo-winning Vinge (A Deepness in the Sky, 1999, etc.) had presented the concept in the 30,000-word novella True Names.

It sparked an immediate reaction, which has continued to this day, among A.I. researchers, hackers, techno-anarchists, and other computer cognoscenti. Despite a number of reprints, the novella is hard to find; here, James Frenkel reaches booklength by reprinting ten articles and essays by other writers, either in response to or inspired by Vinge's original work. Some of the additional material adds little, like "True Nyms and Crypto Anarchy," by Timothy May; some, like Marvin Minsky's 1983 Afterword, are thoughtful and provocative.

Read it for the still-compelling novella; the rest is lagniappe.