In Memoriam – Vernor Vinge

In Memoriam: Vernor Vinge

Vernor Vinge (02 October 1944 – 20 March 2024) was a five-time Hugo Award winning author, credited for introducing the technological singularity. He won Hugo Awards for his breakout novel, A Fire Upon the Deep, as well as A Deepness in the Sky, Rainbows End, Fast Times at Fairmont High, and The Cookie Monster.

Vinge popularized the idea of a technological “singularity” in 1983, by suggesting a point of no return in which humans could not turn back from the decisions of their created intelligences. For decades through today, humanity has continued to debate this point, and whether the human creation of computational abilities beyond their own would ensure the end of humankind itself. Vinge continued throughout his life to participate in technological and software causes, and, after his retirement from teaching, was the Writer Guest of Honor at the 2002 World Science Fiction Convention.

Former SFWA President John Scalzi notes, “I personally thank him for being kind to me in the early days of my career, and continuing to be kind as we all went along. I will miss him as a fan, and a fellow writer.”

Former SFWA President Cat Rambo says, “Vernor’s work was prescient, an extrapolation of the future that has informed science fiction overall. He and his vision will be sorely missed.”

Writer Cory Doctorow remembers, “Vernor wasn’t just a giant in the field, he was a kind and empathic mentor and an enthusiastic fan. My first introduction to him was at my first-ever signing, when I sat at a table with a magazine that had just published my first story, next to Vernor. No one wanted to get their magazine signed, but Vernor had a queue that stretched out of the hall. When it was done, Vernor turned to me and said, ‘You know, I *still* do events that no one shows up to. Any time even one person comes to your event, that’s a success.’ This is something I never, ever forgot. Vernor will always live on in my mind as both a towering figure and a kind, enthusiastic, down-to-earth fan and writer who loved the field and encouraged his nascent colleagues. I miss him already.”

Vernor Vinge lived 79 years.