In many ways this is a very Gibson book, but his visit to what is more or less the contemporary real world is nonetheless thoroughly science fictionalIn many ways this is a very Gibson book, but his visit to what is more or less the contemporary real world is nonetheless thoroughly science fictional. Modern life through Gibson's lens shows humanity becoming unmoored from its past in the face of ever accelerating technological change and an increasingly global culture. So much of the contemporary setting is relatively invisible to us, even though we live in this world, that the technology and resources available to characters of means seem utterly futuristic. As Gibson famously observed, "the future is already here - it's just not very evenly distributed."
We move through the world scarcely realizing that corporations and marketers have acquired so much insight into human nature, and have developed such refined techniques for pushing our buttons to make us buy things, that they are the invisible pilots of our lives. Our hero Cayce - jet lagged much of the novel and moving station to station without a plan through all of it - is a perfect metaphor for the haze of living in these times.
Brilliantly descriptive and evocative prose that is still lean and sharp:
"[W]e have no idea, now, of who or what the inhabitants of our future might be. In that sense, we have no future. Not in the sense that our grandparents had a future, or thought they did. Fully imagined cultural futures were the luxury of another day, one in which 'now' was of some greater duration. For us, of course, things can change so abruptly, so violently, so profoundly, that futures like our grandparents' have insufficient 'now' to stand on. We have no future because our present is too volatile. ."...more
I am a big Reynolds fan and shortly after reading BRE it already feels like one of my favorites. Though sharply different in tone than some of his mosI am a big Reynolds fan and shortly after reading BRE it already feels like one of my favorites. Though sharply different in tone than some of his most famous works, he returns to some of his favorite themes and in doing so sheds new light on them. I especially enjoyed seeing classic Reynolds themes and tropes presented with perhaps his best execution - this felt like a mature work in many ways. The "chase" at the end was exciting but considerably more restrained than his many previous uses of that device, and the ending felt earned and satisfying. I enjoy hard SF for the plot mechanics and Big Dumb Objects but I really enjoyed seeing Reynolds level up on characterization while reining in genre elements to a more effective level. ...more
First time I had read Stephenson (the doorstop-like nature of later works had put me off) but I really enjoyed this book. From the first sentence, youFirst time I had read Stephenson (the doorstop-like nature of later works had put me off) but I really enjoyed this book. From the first sentence, you know that this book is different. The writing style is very "big" but I thought it worked well for the concept of the book, which for me boils down to a show of bravado. Both the style and the plot were close to the line of "he's writing checks this book can't possibly cash" but when it all gets brought home in a pretty satisfying ending Snow Crash is all the more impressive for delivering on the bravado. Stephenson goes for something here and pulls it off nicely....more