I'm sure there's a good dystopian novel to be written (or already out there?) about the slippery slope of online over-sharing that many of us are jumpI'm sure there's a good dystopian novel to be written (or already out there?) about the slippery slope of online over-sharing that many of us are jumping onto with abandon, but this is not it.
The theme is interesting, timely and potentially provocative. But it's so difficult, impossible really, to take any of it seriously that the warning the book is trying to sound is fatally undermined. The main character, Mae, sleepwalks into her dystopia with such staggering naivety, absence of self-awareness and preposterous rationalisation of her situation that she's completely unbelievable. The rest of the world seems happy to drift along with her, equally implausibly.
Throughout the story, and still, I couldn't work out whether the characters and dialogue are so dreadfully expressed deliberately, as a kind of caricature, or if it just all went wrong. That I'm not sure means I think it's the latter, but maybe the joke is on me. But nobody in the world has ever had a conversation as stilted and flat as almost all the dialogue found in these pages; it never feels real.
There are interesting questions to be asked about how much of ourselves we should share online and with whom, and how much we should expect individuals and organisations in positions of influence to reveal of themselves. Unfortunately The Circle fails to deliver on its promise of illuminating these issues by being thoroughly unbelievable, and thus undermines its message by actually making the vision it describes seem less plausible....more
Utterly baffling! Casual readers, read on before committing yourselves...
Having never read Pynchon before, I picked this up based on the cover descripUtterly baffling! Casual readers, read on before committing yourselves...
Having never read Pynchon before, I picked this up based on the cover description and positive review quotes. I feel like I should've done more research before buying, but having read more about it now I seem to be in a very small minority of folk who apparently just didn't get it, so I probably wouldn't have been warned off.
About a third of the way in it became clear that I stood no chance of keeping up with all the characters. Even with frequent reference to Wikipedia's summary of recurring characters, the plot is frequently incomprehensible. A lot of loosely connected things happen, through some remarkable (aka ridiculous) coincidences, but all are anti-climactic and a good number completely implausible. Towards the end, things turn quite surreal and it all gets even more confusing.
I work in the web and thought I would enjoy the post-dot-com bubble setting, but was disappointed on this front too. There are enough minor technical details right to suggest the setting is well researched. But then one of the key recurring features in the story is the 'Deep Web', a Pynchon-invented Second Life-esque virtual reality, which is almost laughably ridiculous. It may be deliberate; I assume it must be, since it's so ludicrous, but it is played very straight and just came across as gratingly ill-conceived.
I'm glad lots of other folk seem to have enjoyed it, but Bleeding Edge really wasn't for me. If you know Pynchon and know what you're getting into, go for it. But if you're a more casual reader just looking for an enjoyable story, I'd think twice. ...more
Great fun but still very informative stream-of-consciousness style guide to ultra running. Laugh out loud funny at several points, and I bet the only rGreat fun but still very informative stream-of-consciousness style guide to ultra running. Laugh out loud funny at several points, and I bet the only running book out there to feature a 10-point guide to pooping in the woods....more
Would have been five stars, but O'Reilly seem to have forgotten to get an editor or proofreader to look oveAn extremely helpful primer on the subject.
Would have been five stars, but O'Reilly seem to have forgotten to get an editor or proofreader to look over the manuscript - it reads well enough most of the time, but is full of minor typos and such like....more