Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Gone Readin'

Wherein I'm skipping the Ken Jennings quiz this week because I'm busy and because I have no answers

Neal Stephenson's Anathem is out today. As previously mentioned, I have a plan. Part of this plan involves staying away from Teh Internet toobs until finished. Good-bye.

Go look at this.

One more before I head out (and before I head out I'm doing a load or two of laundry and making a loaf of banana bread. I'm like Mary fucking Homemaker around here): last days.


Blogger bill said...

short break to mention that the "Klevan Iconography...awesomely wise elder stateman who can solve all the problems of the saecular world" might be the funniest thing Stephenson has ever written. Definately up there with the Monty Python joke from "Systems of the World."

9/09/2008 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

"We have a protractor." 320

Bulshytt: Speech (typically but not necessarily commercial or political) that employs euphemism, convenient vagueness, numbing repetition, and other such rhetorical subterfuges to create the impression that something has been said.

9/13/2008 05:23:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

One characteristic I'd ascribe to past Neal Stephenson works is an optimism that technology and smart people will ultimately win out and that sacrifice could be heroic. Even the societal breakdown of "Snow Crash" is really part of a reorganization of economic and political systems leading to a better future.

But in "Anathem" I'm sensing less optimism and more frustration and cynicism. page 314:

An old market had stood there until I'd been about six years old, when the authorities had renamed it the Olde Market, destroyed it, and built a new market devoted to selling T-shirts and other objects with pictures of the old market. Meanwhile, the people who had operated the little stalls in the old market had gone elsewhere and set up a thing on the edge of town that was now called the New Market even though it was actually the old market.

Still have a ways to go and there's a lot of interesting ideas floating around, so we'll see. Still, the overall tone of this book is looking to be darker.

9/13/2008 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

The Sconics philosophy and the pie-eating contest is fascinating.

9/13/2008 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

As a counterargument to the possible cynicism is the thread of finding beauty in unexpected places running through the story.

Orolo: Nothing is more important than that you see and love the beauty that is right in front of you, or else you will have no defense against the ugliness that will hem you in and come at you in so many ways.

This is directly referenced a couple hundred pages later:

"Look at this wide spot in the road where we are stopped," I said.

"What of it?"

"Why do you suppose it's here?"

"I haven't the faintest idea," Arsibald said.

"So that vehicles can pass each other more easily?" Lio guessed.

"I held out my arm, drawing their attention to the view. "It's here because of that."

"What? Because it's beautiful?"

"Yeah." And then I turned away...Arsibalt stayed behind to examine the view, as if he could discover some flaw in my logic by staring at it long enough.

9/13/2008 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

In spite of all my prejudices against extramuros culture, I kept being surprised by moments of beauty in these songs. Most of them were forgettable but one in ten sheltered some turn or inflection that proved that the person who had made it had achieved some kind of upsight -- had, for a moment, got it.

9/13/2008 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

How do you know when someone is really glib? It doesn't cross your mind that he's glib until someone older and wiser points it out. And then, your face turns hot with shame.

9/13/2008 07:03:00 AM  

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