April 19, 2003
Book Reviews and other cruft

I finished a few books recently. Last week I was in Vegas and finshed Gibson's Pattern Recognition. On the flight out I started Cadigan's Tea from an Empty Cup and finished it a few days ago. Here are a couple brief reviews.

Pattern Recognition - William Gibson

I have enjoyed William Gibson's books over the years, and this one is no exception. Those that are looking for hard sci-fi or futuristic cyberpunk will not find it here. This book takes place in the present day with today's technology. Gibson is good about showcasing ideas and items that live below the radar of most people. For example, Gibson talks about mechanical calculators called Curtas.

I won't go into the plot structure, you can read it on Amazon reviews. In the novel, Gibson explores the idea that everyone is searching for something. Be it an answer, love, or a mechanical calculator, each individual is looking for something special in life. Something that has importance to them, but not to others.

The book looks at how these individuals quests intertwine and work together. Gibson also shows how the new technologies available make the completion of such quest easier.

Technology does not change what people desire in life, it just changes how they go about reaching their goals.

If you are looking for a traditional 'hero-wins-in-the-last-chapter-after-cheating-certain-death' sci-fi novel, this ain't for you. If you are interested in thinking about how technology adds or subtracts to the work of attaining happiness, this book is for you.

Tea from an Empty Cup - Pat Cadigan

This the first book of Pat Cadigan's I've read. I can't remember who or where I heard about it, but a good book.

The novel is set in a near future cyberpunk world where artifcial reality (AR) is commonplace and people regularly fall into lives in AR that are more compelling that lives in the real world. The technology is believeable with enough details to satisfy hard sci-fi readers without delving into textbookese.

Having enjoyed the proto-ARs that are online games, I was interested in seeing what Ms. Cadigan had to say about the future.

Similiar to Gibson's Pattern Recognition, all the characters in the book are looking for something. The focus is on the role of artifical reality in these hunts. The vision is interesting, but in the end it is difficult to relate to reality.

The book is fun and enjoyable as a quick read, but for more heady cyberpunk, turn to Bruce Sterling.

Other Cruft

Yoshi pointed me to DanO's post on Shadowbane & the Express Lane. Funny stuff. I'm with DanO. The Cash Only lane is for speed folks. I also hate those damn grobolds...

Martin's been a crazy weblogger. On his 35th birthday, he blogged 35 times! Next, he wrote a scene from home, Hollywood style.

Go listen to Pat's Music. The song, The Key, is good.

Blogsprogs is an interesting page about the experience of a few Dads raising their infants. Funny stuff since I've been through it.

Lastly, if you eat seven White Castle burgers for lunch, expect to burp them for the rest of the day. More on Cincinnati food later.

Posted by michael at April 19, 2003 07:46 AM