I’ve read books as long as I can remember and I must have read hundreds of them. Some are better than others and the speed at which I read them determines how good they are (if I enjoy it I’ll rattle through it at top speed). I’ll read the really good ones again if they’re that good. I read a couple of books many years ago (over 10) and I’ve forgotten what they were called, who they were written by and what they were about. But for some reason I want to read them again. I’m a bit older and wiser now and might enjoy them on a different level. My mother borrowed them from my local library and now that she’s gone I’ve no way to trace them.
I’ve tried putting descriptions of sections of the books into search engines in the hope that someone had quoted from them but to no avail. As a last hope I thought I’d describe a short section from each book here and see if any of you recognise them. For all I know they might be the same book. Well, here goes…
The main thing I remember from this first book is that it was set in a time where advanced technology was outlawed. I think this book was written in two parts. In the first a class of people with technical expertise, termed “tinkers”, played around with small-scale technology fuelled by natural curiosity no doubt. Anyway, one of these guys met up with some kid who had a natural aptitude for whatever he had in mind. If I remember correctly the kid was playing an arcade game where he had to land a craft on a moon and it was pretty difficult, which impressed the guy, who took the kid under his wing. The only other thing I remember was that the bloke had miniature cameras planted around the grounds of his house so he could effectively see everywhere at once.
The second part of this book was concerned with bubbles. You could use a device to create one of these bubbles around you and set them to pop after a certain amount of time. While you were inside the bubble time would stop and nobody could damage the bubbles either. In fact, if you touched one it would reflect the heat from your hand back onto yourself. The people using them were travellers going forward in time who suddenly discovered that everybody had disappeared. Now they were doomed to go thousands of years into the future of an empty planet and watch the spiders evolve. Anyway, that’s about all I can remember of the book. Does it ring any bells?
I remember far less about this book. In fact, all I can remember is a single scene. There was a family wandering around some kind of space station. They bump into a guard who says words to the effect of “go wherever you feel like”. As the family went around they decided they didn’t want to go down one particular corridor, except the youngest daughter who was wearing some sort of alien space helmet. The father realised that instead of using locked doors to keep people out the guards used some kind of device that made people feel compelled to not go there at all. The helmet counteracted this effect. That’s all I can remember.
So if any of these descriptions mean anything to you then don’t hesitate to post a comment below and put me out of my misery. It makes me wonder why I didn’t write about this before, but I can be a bit slow at times…
… do this:
Google search – ‘tinkers, bubbles, novel’
The Peace War by Vernor Vinge
Book 2 may be a little more tricky. A bit sparse on the old details there.
I’m probably totally off the mark, but the second plot kind of reminds me of The Black Hole, written by Alan Dean Foster.
So book 1 was actually ‘Across Realtime’ by Vernor Vinge, which was 2 books in one: The Peace War and Marooned in Realtime. I even recognise the cover. Thanks.
Not sure about book 2 though, doesn’t ring a bell…
And there’s me thinking you were a “Mills And Boon” reader….
Off topic, but if you like science fiction John then I strongly recommend that you check out Richard Morgan. He’s just had his second novel published which I’m just reading. His first was Altered Carbon, see http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/057507390X/ref=sr_aps_books_1_2/202-4078846-2200602
Will give it a read, cheers.