I consider Vernor Vinge to be one of the most visionary SF authors living today (it could be claimed this directly makes him one of the most visionary living authors, period, but I won't get into that.) His vision of technology is quite different from that of most SF, and on the surface seems quite fantastic, yet in fact feels the most realistic to me. His books have placed him in the extropian literary pantheon.
Technology in much of SF is simply an effector of the vision of the work. FTL, anti-gravity, artificial gravity, all working to build interstellar empires regardless of the physical obstacles. Social changes are often minimal. Vernor Vinge is at the other extreme; in looking at the potential of realistic technology, particularly computers/AI or cognitive science, he has come to the conclusion that we must run into a Singularity beyond which meaningful prediction (and fiction) is impossible. Idealized nanotechnology also has potential for creating a singularity, although not as drastic as the one causable by control over the nature of intelligence. Much of his fiction is based on skirting around the Singularity and is quite interesting thereby. It is also well written.
He spent many years as a Mathematics and Computer Science professor [http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/]
VernorVinge on TheSingularity [http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~phoenix/vinge/vinge-sing.html]
Like VV, I dislike TheSingularity. ScienceFiction authors should concentrate on the full depth of (physically possible) future history and technology we humans are capable of. And he sees the Singularity coming in only 300 to 400 years! -- PhlIpThat's an order of magnitude longer than I recall him writing about. And if you are familiar with MooresLaw and project it forward a bit, it's hardly insane. But let's stay with Vinge. What do you like about him? (Obviously not that he's often writing about the singularity.)CategoryAuthor, CategoryScienceFiction