Kevin's Reviews > Interface

Interface by Neal Stephenson
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's review
Jun 23, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: roman-de-gare, death-of-the-author
Read in January, 2002

Collaborative novels rarely in my experience enhance the gifts of a talented author. At the risk of being tedious, I refer to Sven Birkerts essay " 'The Fate of the Book' ", which ponders the future of discourse as we move from a literary culture to a mass-media culture. Mass-media (film, radio, etc) are never the products of a singular voice, but the products of collaboration, cooperation, and compromise. As we see more and more collaborative works of fiction, we can be sure that the act of reading them is not a communion with another singular soul, but the consumption of a product meant merely to entertain. Writers collaborating as equals form their own focus group; what is deep, complex and difficult to convey is neglected in favor of what can be expressed in simple, functional language. Style is on the chopping block here, and when it is gone so too will literature be gone.
So. This collaboration between Stephenson and (I believe) an uncle of his is mere entertainment, and though there are flashes of Stephenson's insight and comedic wit, they don't make the whole into something more.

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