I’ve got excuses.
I haven’t written much in the last two weeks, but I have been on vacation, pulling Scotch Broom, digging a km of Mountain Bike trail, sawing down trees without a chainsaw, drinking beer to stave off the heat, and, most time-eating of all, I picked up the latest Neal Stephenson novel, REAMDE.
This was an impulse purchase the way off to vacation, but I knew what I was getting into. I still remember where I was (on a school bus in the Nevada Desert) the first time I read chapter 1 of Snow Crash and met The Deliverator. I love the stuff Stephenson writes, and I had held off until the new one came out in Paperback, partly to reduce the size of the damn thing to less than a curling rock, and partly because I don’t have time for fiction right now.
Alas, it is pretty engrossing. It reads like an action movie (much like his break-out novel Snow Crash), and large swathsof it take part in my old neighbourhood – the Kootenays. So far, it is less intellectually satisfying than some of his other books. I think this is because it is Stephenson’s first book where he has fetishizes guns. Much like he fetishized nanotechnology in Diamond Age or Science-as-Religion in Anathem, this is a book not about guns, but where guns are the locus of most plot advancement from the opening scene of a family reunion shoot-off. And unlike other topics he has fetishized in the past (radical environmentalism in Zodiac, code-making and code-breaking in Cryptonomicon), I am just not all that interested in guns as a topic.
Still, the guy can write some compelling characters and his level of detail makes me want to have a copy of Google Earth open while I read, just so I can scan the streets he is describing in Xiamen, China or Georgetown, Washington. (he also has an early humourous tip-of-the-hat to the legend that the original idea for Google Earth itself was cribbed from his novel Snow Crash)
I’m only 700 pages in, so bug off, I’m reading. Its Summertime.