Vernor Vinge
Vinge at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference (CFP) 2006
BornVernor Steffen Vinge
(1944-10-02) October 2, 1944 (age 79)
Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S.
OccupationComputer scientist
EducationUniversity of California, San Diego (PhD)
GenreScience fiction
Notable works
Notable awardsHugo Awards:
  Best Novel: 1993, 2000, 2007;
  Best Novella: 2003, 2005
Prometheus Awards:
  1987, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2014 Special Award for Lifetime Achievement
SpouseJoan D. Vinge (1972–1979, divorced)

Vernor Steffen Vinge (/ˈvɜːrnər ˈvɪn/ ; born October 2, 1944) is an American science fiction author and retired professor. He taught mathematics and computer science at San Diego State University. He is the first wide-scale popularizer of the technological singularity concept and among the first authors to present a fictional "cyberspace".[2] He has won the Hugo Award for his novels A Fire Upon the Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999), Rainbows End (2006), and novellas Fast Times at Fairmont High (2002), and The Cookie Monster (2004).

Life and work

Vinge published his first short story, "Apartness", in the June 1965 issue of the British magazine New Worlds. His second, "Bookworm, Run!", was in the March 1966 issue of Analog Science Fiction, then edited by John W. Campbell.[3] The story explores the theme of artificially augmented intelligence by connecting the brain directly to computerised data sources. He became a moderately prolific contributor to SF magazines in the 1960s and early 1970s. In 1969, he expanded the story "Grimm's Story" (Orbit 4, 1968) into his first novel, Grimm's World. In 1971, Vinge received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, San Diego, under the supervision of Stefan E. Warschawski.[4] His second novel, The Witling, was published in 1976.[5]

Vinge came to prominence in 1981 with his novella True Names, perhaps the first story to present a fully fleshed-out concept of cyberspace,[2] which would later be central to cyberpunk stories by William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and others. His next two novels, The Peace War (1984) and Marooned in Realtime (1986), explore the spread of a future libertarian society, and deal with the impact of a technology which can create impenetrable force fields called 'bobbles'. These books built Vinge's reputation as an author who would explore ideas to their logical conclusions in particularly inventive ways. Both books were nominated for the Hugo Award, but lost to novels by William Gibson and Orson Scott Card.[6][7]

Vinge won the Hugo Award (tying for Best Novel with Doomsday Book by Connie Willis) with his 1992 novel, A Fire Upon the Deep.[8] A Deepness in the Sky (1999) was a prequel to Fire, following competing groups of humans in The Slow Zone as they struggle over who has the rights to exploit a technologically emerging alien culture. Deepness won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2000.[9]

His novellas Fast Times at Fairmont High and The Cookie Monster also won Hugo Awards in 2002 and 2004, respectively.[10][11]

Vinge's 2006 novel Rainbows End, set in the same universe and featuring some of the same characters as Fast Times at Fairmont High, won the 2007 Hugo Award for Best Novel.[12] In 2011, he released The Children of the Sky, a sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep set approximately 10 years following the end of A Fire Upon the Deep.[13][14]

Vinge retired in 2000 from teaching at San Diego State University, in order to write full-time. Most years, since its inception in 1999, Vinge has been on the Free Software Foundation's selection committee for their Award for the Advancement of Free Software. Vernor Vinge was Writer Guest of Honor at ConJosé, the 60th World Science Fiction Convention in 2002.[15]

Personal life

His former wife, Joan D. Vinge, is also a science fiction author. They were married from 1972 to 1979.[16]



Realtime/Bobble series

Zones of Thought series

Standalone novels



Uncollected short fiction


  1. ^ a b Vinge, Vernor (Mar 1993). "The Coming Technological Singularity". San Diego State University. Archived from the original on May 8, 2017. Retrieved July 17, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Saffo, Paul (1991), "Consensual Realities in Cyberspace", in Denning, Peter J. (ed.), Computers under attack: Intruders, worms, and viruses, New York, NY: ACM, pp. 416–20, doi:10.1145/102616.102644, ISBN 0-201-53067-8. Revised and expansed from "Viewpoint", Communications of the ACM 32 (6): 664–65, 1989,doi:10.1145/63526.315953.
  3. ^ Summary bibliography, Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  4. ^ Vernor Vinge at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. ^ Vinge, Vernor (1976). The witling. Daw Books = sf. DAW Books Inc, Copyright Paperback Collection (Library of Congress). New York: DAW Books.
  6. ^ a b "1985 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  7. ^ a b "1987 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  8. ^ a b c "1993 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  9. ^ a b c d "2000 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  10. ^ "2002 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  11. ^ "2004 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  12. ^ a b c "2007 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  13. ^ Interview with Vernor Vinge, Norwescon website, October 12, 2009.
  14. ^ "Vernor Vinge's sequel to A Fire Upon The Deep coming in October!". December 2010.
  15. ^ "Guests of Honor". ConJosé (the 2002 Worldcon).
  16. ^ Stableford, Brian (2006), "Vinge, Vernor (Steffen) (1944–)", Science Fact and Science Fiction: An Encyclopedia, Routledge, pp. 551–552, ISBN 9781135923747
  17. ^ "1992 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  18. ^ "1999 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  19. ^ Vinge, Vernor (October 12, 2000). "Win a Nobel Prize!". Nature. 407 (6805): 679. Bibcode:2000Natur.407..679V. doi:10.1038/35037684. PMID 11048698.(subscription required)
  20. ^ Vinge, Vernor (1993). "The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era". Whole Earth Review (Winter 1993): 11. Bibcode:1993vise.nasa...11V.
  21. ^ Vinge, Vernor (March 23, 2006). "2020 Computing: The creativity machine". Nature. 440 (411): 411. Bibcode:2006Natur.440..411V. doi:10.1038/440411a. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 16554782. S2CID 4397608.
  22. ^ Brin, David (2017). Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World. Tor Books. p. 138. ISBN 9780765382580.
  23. ^ Vernor Vinge reading "A Dry Martini", recorded live at Penguicon 6.0 on April 20th, 2008
  24. ^ Vinge, Vernor (June 30, 2004). "Synthetic Serendipity". IEEE Spectrum.
  25. ^ Vinge, Vernor (26 February 2015). "BFF's first adventure". Nature. 518 (7540): 568. Bibcode:2015Natur.518..568V. doi:10.1038/518568a.
  26. ^ Vinge, Vernor (10 August 2017). "Legale". Nature. 548 (7666): 254. Bibcode:2017Natur.548..254V. doi:10.1038/548254a.

About Vinge

Essays and speeches