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.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you are as effusive in your praise for Snow Crash as I've always been.
Snow Crash is the best place to start with his books; as great as it is, if you started with Anathem and worked your way backwards you'd be fairly disappointed at its juvenility.

DreamQueen said...

I actually started with The Diamond Age, which I really enjoyed - but I enjoyed Snow Crash even more. I'll take your tips on reading Stephenson in order and read Zodiac before it's too late and then check out Cryptonomicon....

House Husband said...

Look forward to the book. While not super lit related, I think the link on Doucette's blog to Stephenson's clock drawings (http://www.longnow.org/projects/clock/others/); as well as the 1000 (http://www.tiwalkme.org/index.htm) year forest to be very cool.

Dietrich Sider said...

yay! you read it, loved it, and you're feeling well enough to write about it!

Wayne Lowther said...

Witty repartee with people who aren't there is always the best, they always get your jokes!

Hope your feeling better!!!

Never read Snow Crash but it always gets an enthusiastic response. I will make the effort. So please tell us, what are the best pain killers to read Stephenson to?

;-)

DreamQueen said...

dietrich: i put it at the front of my priority list just because you told me to. feel free to tell me what to read in the future!

wayne: if i say percocet am i going to get in trouble for being a bad influence on sprogs?

fathima said...

duly added to the infinite to-read list.

also, surgery? that's insane. it's flu season, not surgery season.

DreamQueen said...

For me it's surgery and insomnia season.

Dietrich Sider said...

mmm percocet . . .

I still have a few left over from oral surgery last year - whenever I have a particularly long day, I pop one of those, climb into bed with a book, and turn into giggly-guts :)

Have you read A Confederacy of Dunces? I always assume that all my book loving friends have already read it, but keep coming across someone who hasn't.

DreamQueen said...

I have certainly read A Confederacy of Dunces - it gave me a case of the giggly guts entirely sans the help of Percocet!