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The Peace War is a novel by Vernor Vinge about three revolutions: the technology revolution by which Paul Hoehler discovered how to create "bobbles", spherical stasis fields; the literal revolution during which Hoehler's bosses at the Livermore Labs brought down the major nuclear powers and made themselves the Peace Authority; and the revolution described in the book wherein Hoehler, the libertarian Tinkers, and a motley cast of misfit characters go to war to overthrow the Peacers, who are slowly but surely strangling all forms of technological innovation.

Hoehler has been on the run for fifty years, partially because the Peacers understand how to generate bobbles but not the underlying theory, and partially because he feels responsible for the arguably wretched state of the world the Peacers have made. It is his skill at programming, his discovery that the bobbles have expiration dates, and the Tinkers' continual development of microtechnology, that gives the scattered forces of resistance a chance against the Peacers, who have done little research and relied mainly on the leftovers of the pre-Bobble world to maintain their power. He finds an unexpected ally in Wili Wachendon, a sickly teenage genius who Paul adopts as his apprentice and plays a commanding role in the final assault on the Peace Authority's headquarters in Los Angeles.

While The Peace War is a novel about revolutions, it is also a novel about people. Specifically, it is Wili's coming of age story, and the long unrequited romance between Paul Hoehler and Allison Parker. There are several well-drawn characters in this book, even among the Peacers, who often come off as well-intentioned academics afflicted with severe incompetence and inertia instead of tyrannical Bad Guys - which they also are. Good characters, tight plotting, and enough action to satisfy a combat SF addict like myself. Recommended.

IN2K11

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