The Book of the Week is the hardback first edition of Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge, cover art by Stephan Martiniere.
Last weekend, in a ceremony at the World Science Fiction Convention in Yokohama, Japan, Rainbows End received the Hugo Award for best science fiction or fantasy novel of 2006. This was Vernor Vinge's fifth Hugo Award and his third for Best Novel. He is only the third person to win three or more Best Novel Hugos. The others are the late Robert A. Heinlein and Lois McMaster Bujold, who will be Guest of Honor next year when Denver hosts the World Science Fiction Convention.
While Vinge's first two Best Novel winners (A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky) were space operas set very far in the future, Rainbows End takes place only 20 years in the future. The novel addresses in part a favorite concern of Vinge's: the possibility of a near-future "Singularity," in which computer science and/or biotechnology give rise to a super-human intelligence capable of advancing technology beyond the ability of ordinary humans to comprehend.
Next week we will pay tribute to the author of one of the all-time classic works of science fiction for young adults.