Friday, February 22, 2013

Mini Reviews: Pattern Recognition

William Gibson: Pattern Recognition - A brand/logo consultant gets drawn into solving the mystery of who is producing perfectly aged retro film "footage" released in bits, anonymously on the web. If you can escape this book without yearning for the debilitating cool of Cayce Pollard and her Buzz Ricksons' Japanese reproduction black MA-1 aviator jacket, you are a better (wo)man than I.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mini Reviews: Anathem

Neal Stephenson: Anathem - Stephenson's most epic book of epic awesomeness (900 pages?). It's about everything. Specifically, what if scientists devoted their lives to learning with the discipline of a religious order? In the world of the walled maths students preserve learning and information despite the rise and falls of civilization outside. But when an extraterrestrial ship is spotted in orbit everything starts to fall apart and only the super-geniuses within the mathic order can save humanity. You can learn the entirety of western intellectual history (important ideas from Plato to the post-moderns) from this book; unfortunately all the names are slightly off because it takes place in a parallel world that's very much like earth but somewhat different. This is in my top 3 books I've ever read. Simply amazing. Easily Stephenson's best.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mini Review: Diamond Age

Neal Stephenson: Diamond Age - Amazing story of a future of nanotech, post-geographical identity through self-selecting cultural/linguistic enclaves preserving "superior" cultures while the masses devolve into consumption, illiteracy and violence. This book about the power of narrative itself to shape imagination and building a giant underwater supercomputer composed of human minds spreading information via nano-machine viruses. Big ideas nestled in human scale drama.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mini Reviews: Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash - Neal's take on cyberpunk with fascinating reflection on linguistics, speaking in tongues/glossalalia, samouri swords and skateboarding. This one takes you by surprise by starting out with a character so over the top he feels as thin as a comic before hitting you with the big ideas and the characteristic Stephenson roller-coaster ride.