Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bookworming: The Peripheral

The Peripheral, William Gibson, *****
A note on bias: Gibson is probably my favorite author.
The Peripheral manages to both continue the style of his more recent near-future novels and make a return to more obvious sci-fi. And what a return it is. In many ways, this is the most straightforward of his novels that I have read, though that isn't to say it is a light read.

At its core lies something of a murder mystery, though as so often is Gibson's way, it comes off as much a milieu piece as anything else. And though an older lady character gets involved in the investigation, the story has much more in common with "Ghost in the Shell" than "Murder, She Wrote".

On first brush, I am struck by the reflection of some of the same themes that go all the way back to Neuromancer. The power and other-ness of wielding vast sums of money. Technology not solving the human condition, but extending it, and life on the fringes contrasted with high society. But The Peripheral is a very, very different book than Neuromancer. There are movements of economic and state forces, much more mundane tech alongside the military-capable and esoteric elements, and as interesting and varied a collection of characters as Gibson has ever given us.

For my tastes, this one is right up there with Pattern Recognition in excellence and I will certainly be revisiting it in the future.

Headline Hunting

"Man injured by Amsterdam pop-up toilet" For those who doubt that we live in the future, there are places where toilets rise from the ground to provide relief to drunken pedestrians. And when angered (or, you know, malfunctioning) they can spring forth with enough might to throw a moped. And though it's a bummer for the guy that got injured, he has a great story to tell forever.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Snarky Side Notes

On this fine Monday evening, I am tired and cranky. Allow me to share that cranky with you fine folks, briefly.

President Obama came out in support of Net Neutrality today. I suppose that's pretty much the end of that, the megacorps have won again, because if there's one group that cares less about what's right for consumers than the corps, it's Congress, and because Not-What-Our-Opponent-Says seems to be the only political platform left in America.

That they call it "work-life" balance instead of "life-work" balance tells you pretty much all you need to know.

As a programmer with opinions about the tools he uses, I'm appalled that the business application world (the silent majority of programming) seems to be moving from the endless purgatory of C++ into the fiery pool of Javascript and CSS.