|| Some Remarks
Other Books Read By This Author (3)
- The System of the World
|02.05.13|| A collection of Neal Stephenson's various magazine articles, short fiction, newspaper columns, and printed interviews. It sounds like a lot but really most of them are pretty short with the exception of a piece he did for Wired in the 90s called Mother Earth Mother Board where he travels across Asia following the installation of the (then) World's longest cable. It sits right in the middle of the table of contents and easily defines the book for me. All the other stuff is varying degrees of interesting and readable (the Salon interview reminded me how much good stuff there was in the Baroque Cycle, the article about Liebniz's Monadology vs. Newton's physics reminded me how impenetrable the prose was), but really my takeaway from the book is that Wired article.
It's about as long as his OS essay which they sold as a small book, and must've taken up the majority of its issue in Wired. I think I still have the issue somewhere in my parents' basement so someday I'll have to dig it up to look at the photos that originally accompanied because the book describes some exotic locales and really intricate technology that photographic reinforcement would really go a long way for. Even without the pretty pictures though, this essay kind of represents Stephenson at his best (or at least most Archetypal): heavy on technology, unafraid of deep scientific detail, intelligently funny, and ultimately remarkably rewarding. Some of the deeper bits make for a bit of a slog to get through but the sheer amount of information presented coupled with the masterful way in which he makes such a subject interesting had me walking away interested and knowledgeable in a subject I'd never given a single thought to before. Great stuff.
As mentioned, the rest of the book is pretty good too.|