Fast Times at Fairmont High

by Vernor Vinge
Reviewed date: 2013 Aug 26
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For his final exam, Juan Orozco's best friend Bertie manipulates him into teaming up with classmate Miriam Gu. She's smart and has an idea for their project: she takes him out to Torrey Pines Park, an unimproved reserve--that is, a park without any local network nodes. The consensus imagery--the virtual reality skin that covers everything and everyone in normal life--doesn't exist here: there is nothing but unaugmented nature.

Miriam Gu is convinced that Torrey Pines Park is the location of Foxwarner's upcoming Summer Movie. (A Summer Movie seems to be some sort of participatory theater event in which the entire world gets to engage--kind of like staging a fake alien invasion and plastering it all over the news as entertainment.) If Miriam and Juan can get involved in the Summer Movie right at the outbreak, they may even get written into the plot and score some royalties for their school.

What they find, though, confuses them: a community of intelligent mice (Generic 513 lab mice.) Is this truly the setup for a Summer Movie about a lab experiment gone out of control--or is it the real thing?

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