I want to give this four stars because of all the Chekov references and the nice little scene with the Low King at the end but funny and heartwarmingI want to give this four stars because of all the Chekov references and the nice little scene with the Low King at the end but funny and heartwarming as The Fifth Elephant was, I somehow did not find it as witty and engaging as the other books in the Watch series. Which came as a surprise to me because Vimes + Jaunt Into Unknown Territories is usually a winning combination. I did like seeing more of Sybil though; she's such a likeable character....more
If you grew up with the Internet of the early 2000s, someone or the other was always telling you to read Snow Crash. I almost forgot about this untilIf you grew up with the Internet of the early 2000s, someone or the other was always telling you to read Snow Crash. I almost forgot about this until I finished The Epic of Gilgamesh a few days ago and remembered how I had only half-jokingly assured a friend that I would read this book once I read about Gilgamesh and the Sumerians. The reason I will not give this book the low rating I am inclined to is those feelings of nostalgia that the book conjured up for me. I think I should forget about reading books I had wanted to as a teen because they almost always tend to disappoint as an adult.
There's no reason why I should have disliked this book. It has - on the surface, at least - interesting characters. It has a unique yet not completely impossible world and it's about language and mythology and a wonderfully exaggerated take on the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. But I could not like this, despite my best efforts. Mostly because it's like the author is constantly screaming at you from every page - "THIS IS A TOTALLY COOL PERSON. AND NOW I'M GOING TO FIND A TOTALLY COOL THING FOR THIS TOTALLY COOL PERSON TO DO IN A TOTALLY COOL WAY. WHICH YOU WILL FIND TOTALLY COOL."
I would have liked Y.T a lot more if Mr. Stephenson wasn't constantly forcing me to like her. She severely got on my nerves by the end of the book. In contrast, Hiro turned out to be less annoying than the first few pages had me believe. The only characters I really liked were Ng (especially what he says about his new body, "“Your mistake,” Ng says, “is that you think that all mechanically assisted organisms — like me — are pathetic cripples. In fact, we are better than we were before.”) and the Mafia (a though for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about the penguins from the Madagascar movies during the whole bit where they're sailing around with Hiro). The ending, while it was, of course, TOTALLY COOL, felt lazy and hurried. Despite the (literally) deus ex machina ending, I wish I could have read far more about Juanita and how she becomes a "ba'al shem" rather than Y.T and Raven's squicky little encounter.
The bits with the Library were great (and I would *love* to have one like it) but while I enjoyed reading about the Sumerians, Samuel Delaney's Babel-17 does a much better job of exploring language and reality. The book is built on a great idea but the story is ultimately lost in the flash and glitter that the author keeps trying to shove down your throat. I think the next time I want a bit of Internet nostalgia, I'll go log on to IRC and try to get thrown out for using the wrong search command instead....more