Less keyed to the downsides and social/psychic shocks of accelerated technologies than the mainline cyberpunks, Vernor Vinge offers his own hopeful and humorous takes on the evolution of species across the threshold of cyberspace.
"True Names" is a record of Vinge's attempts over more than twenty-five years ("Bookworm, Run!", the earliest of these stories, dates from the early 60's, when Vinge was still a teen) to dramatize what he calls mankind's "hurtling towards Singularity". Singularity is the crucial term in Vinge's world vision. It refers to the swiftly approaching point at which amplified and expanded human bio-electronic intelligence gives way to higher, deeper, faster trans-human intelligences. Technologies of brain-computer interfacing move Vinge's characters terrifyingly and exhilaratingly over the edge, from the chimpanzee involved in brain acceleration experiments in "Bookworm, Run!" to the virtual reality underground described in the title story, written in 1979, years before William Gibson's discovery of the Matrix.
True Names...And Other Dangers
Here is the TEXT POPUP for True Names...And Other Dangers:
I had tried a straightforward extrapolation of technology, and found myself precipitated over an abyss. It's a problem we face every time we consider the creation of intelligences greater than our own.
The best we writers can do is creep up on the Singularity and hang ten on its edge.
The human that had been Mr. Slippery was an insect wandering in the cathedral his mind had become.