Friday 31 October 2008
Another attempt at getting back on the horse
Last Saturday, I seemed to be on the mend and then the shit hit the fan and I actually ended up having emergency surgery on Monday. Since then, I've been floating in a world of mild hallucinations courtesy of the painkillers or mind-numbing pain; either way, my state of mind and body haven't made for good thesis-finishing, blog-writing, or witty repartee (except with people who aren't there, perhaps).
Today, I'm feeling somewhat less messed up and so am trying again to establish some normalcy in my life. Let's hope writing this blog post doesn't half kill me like the last one did!
I would just like to say that in terms of books that are so good they can help you ignore the annoying distraction of imploding internal organs, Neal Stephenson just can't be beat. I started Snow Crash right before I got sick and it carried me through until yesterday (when I was awake, that is, which actually hasn't been much).
Indeed, I found this book so compelling that it successfully got me through waiting to go into surgery, which I found terrifying. Anyway, I woke up, so my fears weren't all that grounded it seems.
Snow Crash is Stephenson's look at the dangerous directions in which a society based entirely on information exchange might go. It was an awesome blend of science fiction (how cool/wild west-ish virtual reality, what Stephenson more elegantly calls the Metaverse, can be) and historical speculation (how the Sumerians created Babel as an informational/biological metavirus to protect people from social mind control).
Yeah, I can't discuss these things as compellingly or intelligently as Stephenson does but hopefully what I've said will be enough to tempt you if you haven't already read Snow Crash. Plus, the main character's name is Hiro Protagonist; that alone makes the book worth a read.
Last night, I had tickets to see Neal Stephenson discussing his new novel, Anathem. I wasn't well enough to go, which I'm still bitter about, but some friends apparently picked us up a copy of the new book. Yay! As well, one of said friends, Jason, has posted some notes about the talk here.