Sf great Vernor Vinge conducted an interview with the French sf site ActuSF about his life-changingly weird and imaginative novel Rainbows End.
ActuSF : In Rainbows End, there's a switch between generations as they're usually seen in fiction. Hackers and "juvenile delinquents" are all about 70 years old, and youngsters are mainly dedicated consumers, surfing the internet by the book. What is the message ?
Vernor Vinge : Some of the old people in Rainbows End are very effective. (And whether effective or not, many of them are relatively healthy and rich.) While many still worry about poverty issues, the majority are well enough and rich enough to be a new type of upper class. In the 2025 of Rainbows End, the situation with old people is a surprising reversal of our current anxiety about pension plan insolvency.
Just as in our time, most teenagers are better adapted to the latest technology than are their parents – though they are more worried than most of their parents ever were about the prospect of unemployment. And some of the youngest children (6 to 10 years old) are extraordinarily adept in exploiting the newest cognitive tools, and are regarded somewhat fearfully by their older siblings.