True Names

True Names

Infobox short story
name = True Names
title_orig =
translator =
author = Vernor Vinge
country =
language = English
series =
genre = Science Fiction
published_in = Dell Binary Star #5 [cite web
title = Vernor Vinge Bibliography
url =
accessdate = 2008-09-02
publication_type =
publisher =
media_type = Short story
pub_date = 1981
english_pub_date =
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"True Names" was the science fiction novella which brought Vernor Vinge to prominence in 1981. It was one of the earliest stories to present a fully fleshed-out concept of cyberspace, which would later be central to stories in the cyberpunk genre. Because of this, it is often referenced as a work of the genre. The story also contains elements of transhumanism, anarchism, and even hints about The Singularity. It was awarded the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award in 2007.


Plot summary

The story follows the progress of a group of disaffected computer wizards who are early adopters of a new full-immersive virtual reality technology, called the "Other Plane". Forming a cabal, they must keep their true identities -- their True Names -- secret to avoid prosecution by their "Great Adversary" -- the government of the United States.

The protagonist is one of these wizards. Known as "Mr. Slippery" in the Other Plane, his True Name is Roger Pollack. When a new "wizard" arrives in the Other Plane and begins to obtain recruits for a scheme in which domination of cyberspace is used to obtain power in the real world, Mr. Slippery is forced to ally himself with the Great Adversary.

The newcomer turns out to be an artificial intelligence program, developed in a government laboratory but neglected after the research was terminated.

See Also

*Simulated Reality
*"Snow Crash"


External links

*cite web
url =
title = True Names - the novel by Vernor Vinge
accessdaymonth = 02
accessmonthday = 25
accessyear = 2007
last = Vinge
first = Vernor
authorlink = Vernor_Vinge
year = 1998
month = 02
format = HTML transcription with illustrations
archiveurl =
archivedate = 2005-11-27

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