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True Names



1:Identify (name and describe) three technologies or features oftechnology that were not common when the story was published (1984)but are available now.a)Robots.These are gadgets that mimic other things such as human beings, andare sometimes used for performing certain tasks.

b)Cyberspace.This domain uses electronics and electromagnetic spectrum for storageof information and exchange of data between networked computers andother related gadgets

c)Socialmedia. These are computer technologies that allow sharing of informationand ideas through computer networks. 2:Identify three social aspects of the story that relate to life today.

  1. Privacy – Some wizards keep their true names as a secret to prevent the government from knowing their identity, which can be used to prosecute them.

  2. Anarchism– These are societies that want to govern themselves through voluntary institutions since they hold the belief that laws are not important.

3:What types of social computing applications are described in thestory, and what are their specific analogues today (e.g. LinkedIn isa professional networking application)?

  1. Mailman. This is a freeware that helps in the management of electronic mails. The application is equivalent to the modern email software.

  2. Recon satellites. these military devices are deployed across the earth with the intention of gathering intelligence for the armed forces. It is similar to the contemporary drones used by the army for information gathering and spying exercises.

4.Compare the role of government in regulating and policing theInternet today to the role of government in The Other Realm.

Currentlythe government plays a pivotal in regulating how the internet is usedand accessed. The various components the government controls onlineinclude child pornography and information regarded as sensitive tothe national security. Similarly, in the book, ‘’,Vernor Vinge illustrates that the government also played a big rolein maintaining important data bases to prevent them from disclosureas this would threaten a country security. Moreover, in 1980s thegovernment had created regulatory bodies that restricted securitygateways for information meant for public domain.

5:Which parts or aspects of the story do you find mostrealistic/believable and which do you find fantastic? Refer to threeof each type.


  1. Kings

  2. Castles

  3. Wizards


  1. Privacy by hiding true names and encryption

  2. Artificial intelligence

  3. singularity

6:Is the world of a dystopia? Justify your answer.

Yes,the True Name’s world is a dystopia. During that decade, the worldrepresented in the story clearly imagined what would happen in thenear future. This is exactly what is happening, cyber espionage andcyberpunk. Just like Steve Jobs shaped how we think and use thecomputers today through the Graphical User Interface arguably TrueNames is a prophetic illustration of how the freedom and privacy ofthe internet would be jeopardized as it is now today. Ideas such ascyberspace, cyber security, and virtual reality evolved in 1980s and90s, hence, the world presented by Vernor Vinge has contributed a lotin inspiring these outcomes (Vinge,1984).

7:Comment on the metaphor of ‘The Other Realm’: do you like it, doyou think it is apt, do you prefer William Gibson’s notion of aspace, viz. the cyberspace of Neuromancer etc., rather than a place?

WhenWilliam Gibson stated the term the other realm in 1984, it wasmetaphorically perceived in the global information network. Recentlyit is noted that what was described as a metaphor has greatly shapedthe world technology and culture. To millions of people this realmhas become a reality since cyberspace has helped to shape digitalcommunication as well as giving space to many new ideas that areemerging in the computer world. The word cyberspace first appeared inthe book Neuromancer by Gibson and has since then provided a platformwhere ideas, social experience, information, discussions, games andother aspects can be exchanged (Vinge, 1984).


VingeV. (1984). Truenames.New York, N.Y: Bluejay Books.