Vernor Vinge is the only writer in science fiction history to win the Hugo Award for three consecutive novels and five Hugo Awards in total. He has also won a Hugo for the novella, Fast Times at Fairmount High , which is included in this edition in its first British publication. Vernor Vinge s career stretches back to the pulp magazines of the 1960 s and he introduces each story with an account of how it came to be written, a fascinating personal insight into the most celebrated career in contemporary science fiction. Consistently through a career of 40 years are the bold and challenging ideas, re-imagining how technology can enhance and endanger humanity, brought to life with compelling storytelling. Vinge was the first writer to imagine the concept of cyberspace and his themes of artificial intelligence and technological singularity (where technology develops to the extent that we cannot even speculate about its consequences) are even more important today than ever. Vinge s central question in Fast Times at Fairmount High asks: what happens when there is a human-computer interface that can be considered superhuman intelligence, will it mark the end of the human era? Vernor Vinge is truly the science fiction writer s science fiction writer. Few other writers have the capacity to understand how big the universe is, how complex its politics could be and still depict how the future will be.