Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge.

A simple little murder mystery set 50 megayears in the future. Vinge paints a brilliantly thought-out portrait of human society as it approaches, and then misses, the Singularity.

The cast of the story represent the final remnants of humanity, people who--for whatever reason--were bobbled at the start of the 24th century. As they came out of their bobbles over the next few thousand years they discovered an Earth where everyone had just up and disappeared in a very short amount of time.

The story centers around one Wil Brierson, a famous police officer from the 22nd century. He was bobbled against his will for 50 million years and when he returns a finds that the remnants of humanity are doing none too well. The few hundred people that are left are split by the vast technological differences that characterize every year on the approach to Transcendence. The high-techs are almost godlike in the abilities that their automation provides them, but most of the people are earlier dropouts from society who have never been exposed to anything remotely like the tech that the later dropouts have.

The remaining high-techs have gathered together all that's left of humanity with the ostensible purpose of reestablishing civilization. But the high-techs are not nearly as unified as they first appear. Some of them want to finish out their lives as tourists through time, bobbling for a few million years at a time, waking briefly to see how much things have changed. Others have spent so many years of subjective experience that they are only vaguely human (think about it--how human would you be after 9,000 years of life), what they want is a complete mystery.

Shortly after starting the final civilization one of the high-techs, Marta Korelev, is murdered--left stranded outside while everyone else bobbles for a few thousand years. She manages to survive forty years alone on the earth and leaves a complete journal of what was done to her, how it was done, and who did it.

The only problem is that she can't just spell out what happened because that would tip the killer off. Fortunately, she leaves several clues in the journal that, after a series of very improbable insights on Wil's part, lead to the killer.

Regardless of the tone of that last sentence this is a very well written book. Every time I think I've realized something new about the consequences of pervasive networking on society I just re-read this book and realize that Vinge has already been there and done that.

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