Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge.
A simple little murder mystery set 50 megayears in
the future. Vinge paints a brilliantly thought-out
portrait of human society as it approaches, and then
misses, the Singularity.
The cast of the story represent the final remnants of
humanity, people who--for whatever reason--were bobbled
at the start of the 24th century. As they came out of their
bobbles over the next few thousand years they discovered
an Earth where everyone had just up and disappeared in a
very short amount of time.
The story centers around one Wil Brierson, a famous police
officer from the 22nd century. He was bobbled against his will
for 50 million years and when he returns a finds that the
remnants of humanity are doing none too well. The few hundred
people that are left are split by the vast technological
differences that characterize every year on the approach to
Transcendence. The high-techs are almost godlike in the
abilities that their automation provides them, but most of the
people are earlier dropouts from society who have never been
exposed to anything remotely like the tech that the later
The remaining high-techs have gathered together all that's left
of humanity with the ostensible purpose of reestablishing civilization.
But the high-techs are not nearly as unified as they first appear. Some
of them want to finish out their lives as tourists through time, bobbling
for a few million years at a time, waking briefly to see how much things
have changed. Others have spent so many years of subjective experience
that they are only vaguely human (think about it--how human would you
be after 9,000 years of life), what they want is a complete mystery.
Shortly after starting the final civilization one of the high-techs,
Marta Korelev, is murdered--left stranded outside while everyone else
bobbles for a few thousand years. She manages to survive forty years
alone on the earth and leaves a complete journal of what was done to
her, how it was done, and who did it.
The only problem is that she can't just spell out what happened because
that would tip the killer off. Fortunately, she leaves several clues
in the journal that, after a series of very improbable insights on Wil's
part, lead to the killer.
Regardless of the tone of that last sentence this is a very well written
book. Every time I think I've realized something
new about the consequences of pervasive networking on
society I just re-read this book and realize that Vinge has already been there
and done that.