Marooned in Realtime
by Vernon Vinge

A Prometheus Award winning novel about the disappearance of all but about 300 members of the human race and the plan to gather the remainder and save our endangered species. The plot involves a lot of time travel (forward only) and is very confusing. One of the two women who were working together to gather people gets left out of one of the time jumps and is left to survive by herself without high-tech equipment. This is viewed as murder, even though her recovered diaries indicate she survived for another 40 years. Her girlfriend commissions the hero to find out who is responsible for the “murder.” Suspects include all the high-tech people. The remnant of humanity consists of a few high-techies, two pro-government groups (New Mexico and Peace), and independent low-techies.

The hero was a private detective living in a world that had abolished all states before he was involuntarily thrust thousands of years forward in time by the criminal he was chasing. So he wants to catch that criminal to get revenge, he wants to find out who marooned the girl, and he wants to find out why most of the human race disappeared. At the end he accomplishes the first two goals and enables the race to have a chance to survive, but the disappearance remains a mystery.

The story is libertarian in that the presumption of the hero and other independent low-techies is that government is uncivilized. But the civilized anarchic society he came from and which presumably will be revived is not described in any detail.

Year Read: 2001

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