March 18, 2003

Pattern Recognition

Finished William Gibson's latest novelPattern Recognition yesterday (kindly loaned to me by Matt). Overall, I enjoyed it - I find contemporary "sci-fi" fascinating. I've read several novels in the past year more interested in contemporary and historical technology than in projecting futures. Gibson's PR is set in the aftermath of September 11th, although he had started writing the novel prior to that date. Already, aspects of the novel strike me as dated, obsolete in a quickly changing world. On the other hand, I read novels like this, or something like Power's Plowing the Dark (set around the fall of the Wall), or Stephenson's Crytonomicon and they feel an odd blend of being paradoxically historical and futuristic. Even something like Delillo's White Noise strikes as so fundamentally apocalyptic in some senses so as to see like it's a projection rather than (now) a throwback. A shift in the gernsback continuum.

In any case, PR is a good read, although I'd suggest waiting for paperback (or a friend's copy).

Posted by Jason at March 18, 2003 10:54 PM | TrackBack

I did wait for a friend's paperback copy. It was a good read.

The whole notion of branding/anti-branding was interesting if not a bit inconsistent. Cayce reacting adversely to Tommy Hilfiger but perfectly at ease with the Macintosh G3 cube.

Aren't all SF historical and futuristic? While there is a vision of technology spurring us into different worlds, the same human tendencies emerge. The future is a repeat of fascism, or a revisioning of various utopias, or capitalism taken to uber levels.

Posted by: weez at July 16, 2004 11:11 AM | Permalink to Comment

I totally agree Weez - those elements are certainly always present (at least in good sci-fi), but I was focusing more on the actual setting. Instead of "50 years into the future," we have more "present day." Science Fiction becomes Science Present. Know what I mean?

Doesn't Hilfinger give *everyone* hives?

Posted by: Jason at July 16, 2004 12:28 PM | Permalink to Comment

I'm really late to the party here, but I came across your Pattern Recognition comments on G's blog. I just finished teaching PR, and my students were amused by the fact that Cayce has no averse reaction to Starbucks, even finds it comforting.

But I think you're right, Jason, that Hilfiger gives *everyone* hives (except my students who were wearing it that day, I suppose).

Posted by: chuck at April 14, 2005 2:10 PM | Permalink to Comment
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