What I like about this book is that author Vernor Vinge created a rich and compelling fantasy by describing the world exactly as we know it, but added just a single invention: the Bobble, and then speculated how it would change everything in civilization. The Bobble is essentially a device which can temporarily stop time within a small limited volume of space, while the rest of the world marches on around it. How would life as we know it change if we had the technology to do this? What could we do? Who would control it? Who would want to control it, and why? Vinge tackles these questions and much, much more, while also delivering engaging and sympathetic characters in a tight, imaginative tale. You will see from my other reviews that I'm not a big fan of the Science Fiction genere (lots of mediocrity in there), but this book is the cream at the top.