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Legendary Science Fiction Author Dead At 79

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Vernor Vinge, a legendary science fiction novelist who predicted that machines would become smarter than human being in the future, has reportedly died at the age of 79. He taught mathematics and computer science at San Diego State University, writing on the side for most of his career.

He began writing science fiction full time until later in life, not starting until the year 2000. Though Vinge started late in life, his success in the field was not restrained in the slightest bit. His cause of death has been revealed to be complications due to Parkinson’s disease.

A fellow science fiction writer David Brin said the following about Vinge’s passing on Facebook,

Vernor enthralled millions with tales of plausible tomorrows, made all the more vivid by his polymath masteries of language, drama, characters and the implications of science.

David Brin

The New York Times reports on his passing,

Mr. Vinge (pronounced VIN-jee) was renowned for his novella “True Names” (1981), in which he created an early version of cyberspace — a virtual reality technology he called the “Other Plane” — a year before William Gibson gave the nascent digital ecosystem its name in a story, “Burning Chrome,” and three years later popularized the word in his novel “Neuromancer.”

In “True Names,” Mr. Slippery, one of the anonymous computer hackers known as warlocks who work within the Other Plane, is identified and caught by the government (the “Great Enemy”) and forced to help stop a threat posed by another warlock.

The New York Times

Even being a dedicated professor at an accredited University, Vinge spent his life making an impact in the world of science fiction writing, a field that is extremely competitive and is only dominated by a small few.

Covering this story, I was delighted to read that Vinge had retired from teaching in 2000, and got to spend the last years of his life truly doing what he loved. Being able to pursue your dreams in your latter years is a goal that I believe most people strive for.

Rest in peace, Vernor Vinge.

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