Book Fight!

Tough love for literature

2 thoughts on “Episode 91: Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash

  1. I’m caught up on episodes over a trip and now I’m catching up on comments:

    This one was kind of weird to listen to, both because this book is kind of in the background noise of the particular cultural circles I run in but I have never actually read and because I’m listening to two guys completely out of touch with said circles discuss it. Neuromancer by William Gibson and it’s, uh, child, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson have just such a powerful formative influence over early internet culture. While a lot of that has come to an end now that internet and computers aren’t just for weird loser geeks, for better and worse, a lot of people that bought into the mystique these books and their cyberpunk brethren presented still work in tech today, shaping how we interact with and utilize the internet, even the bizarre japanophilia.
    So, at least within the confines of a very particular subculture these are historically important books, seeing as, you know, they helped to create said subculture.
    As to the actually quality of the books themselves…? Eeeeeeeh….
    What I’m saying is I can totally see why so many people, particularly computer people, and internet people, would so strongly recommend this book for you guys. Sometimes the power a book has on people doesn’t reflect on the actual quality of the writing.

    I’ve read Neuromancer, and that wasn’t so bad, but again, like most Sci-fi, for many in the genre the most important things are the ideas and the concepts being explored, moreso then the characters or plot that are simply the vehicles with which to explore them.

    If there’s a crime to be leveled here, and I think you guys touch on it, is that too oft is said exploration is shallow, surface-level stuff, and often muddled and caught up in meaningless and extraneous details. I think this is further exasperated by how it attracts a certain kind of fan all too eager to get caught up in said details, seeking and demanding more such information without care to whether it’s in service of the greater goal of the work. Said people often become the genre’s next generation of writers being it’s ‘truest fans’, and well, you know how it goes from there.

  2. Pingback: 2015: The Book Fight! Year in Review | Book Fight!

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