In 1984 Vinge wrote a novel which started in 1997, when Paul Hoehler, a brilliant physicist, develops a force field that is impenetrable by any force known to mankind. His superiors at the Livermore labs in northern California see this invention, the ""bobble,"" as a powerful weapon and before Hoehler can stop them, they use it to encase all major governmental centers and military installations in these ""bobbles."" The result is a bloodless coup in which the Livermore scientists, calling themselves the Peace Authority, effectively rule the world. They release biological weapons that reduce the population throughout the world, weakening potential opposition. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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December 02, 2003
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Excerpt from The Peace War by Vernor Vinge
One hundred kilometers below and nearly two hundred away, the shore of the Beaufort Sea didn't look much like the common image of the arctic: Summer was far advanced in the Northern Hemisphere, and a pale green spread across the land, shading here and there to the darker tones of grass. Life had a tenacious hold, leaving only an occasional peninsula or mountain range gray and bone.
Captain Allison Parker, USAF, shifted as far as the restraint harness would permit, trying to get the best view she could over the pilot's shoulder. During the greater part of a mission, she had a much better view than any of the "truck-drivers," but she never tired of looking out, and when the view was the hardest to obtain, it became the most desirable. Angus Quiller, the pilot, leaned forward, all his attention on the retrofire readout. Angus was a nice guy, but he didn't waste time looking out. Like many pilots -- and some mission specialists -- he had accepted his environment without much continuing wonder.
But Allison had always been the type to look out windows. When she was very young, her father had taken her flying. She could never decide what would be the most fun: to look out the windows at the ground -- or to learn to fly. Until she was old enough to get her own license, she had settled for looking at the ground. Later, she discovered that without combat aircraft experience she would never pilot the machines that went as high as she wanted to go. So again she had settled for a job that would let her look out the windows. Sometimes she thought the electronics, the geography, the espionage angles of her job were all unimportant compared to the pleasure that came from simply looking down at the world as it really is.
"My compliments to your autopilot, Fred. That burn puts us right down the slot." Angus never gave Fred Torres, the command pilot, any credit. It was always the autopilot or ground control that was responsible for anything good that happened when Fred was in charge. Torres grunted something similarly insulting, then said to Allison, "Hope you're enjoying this. It's not often we fly this thing around the block just for a pretty girl."
Allison grinned but didn't reply. What Fred said was true. Ordinarily a mission was planned several weeks in advance and carried multiple tasks that kept it up for three or four days. But this one had dragged the two-man crew off a weekend leave and stuck them on the end of a flight that was an unscheduled quick look, just fifteen orbits and back to Vandenberg. This was clearly a deep-range, global reconnaissance -- though Fred and Angus probably knew little more. Except that the newspapers had been pretty grim the last few weeks.
The Beaufort Sea slid out of sight to the north. The sortie craft was in an inverted, nose-down attitude that gave some specialists a sick stomach but that just made Allison feel she was looking at the world pass by overhead. She hoped that when the Air Force got its permanent recon platform, she would be stationed there.