Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hiro and Y.T.

So I started reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, and I'm about 40 pages into it, and know it's going to be awesome.

Hiro and Y.T., by the way, are the...ahem...Protagonists...well at least Hiro is.

I was initially turned off by the whole 'cyberpunk' term because it sounded desperately needy. It screamed: I'm a cutting edge technophile who reads amazingly gadget-ridden books and don't make fun of me because I watch Star Trek, The Original Series! Of course, the dichotomy of the matter is that I like books with gadgets and own the TOS on DVD, but really who doesn't?

I digress...

What's the point in discussing the plot, when you can get it from Interweb Cybertown, suffice it to say that it anticipated virtual worlds like Second Life, and is rich with relatively accurately extrapolated computer science themes and disciplines. Above that, and this is what I find the most rewarding, is its social commentary on consumerism and what happens when privatization goes wrong, while at the same time not being extremely preachy.

It's so far been a visceral and completely engaging read. Which was a nice change from reading Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix, about which I read somewhere in some dust jacket text indicating that Gully Foyle should watch out because Sterling's Abelard Lindsay was the new man constantly on the remake. I found that to be debatable, but the last part of Schismatrix became so anti-climactic (right around the time of the Neotenic Cultural Republic) and somehow bereft of the intensity and passion with which it initially started out that I returned it to the library...twice. Both times I checked it out! I had other books (Snow Crash) waiting in the hopper and somehow I just couldn't force myself to finish it.

I never do that, but when I do, it's soooo liberating.

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