January 24th, 2007
(nb: charlie not in drag)
Absolutely fabulous event. Best of San Francisco material. Great audience, fabulous writing, and I got to observe it all while sitting in a (stationary) rickshaw. Other, the nights beneficiary is sort of a literary magazine for San Francisco, which means I passed on their most recent issue (Tron-sex and teledildonics, topics you’re already innudated with in SF) and went straight to the simian issue, which is highly recommended.
I came away with some sort of insight into the fundamental nature of SF, or so I thought, but as I’ve been utterly unable to communicate this insight, I think it might have just been contact buzz from the eloquence, alas.
Lastly, if you ever have a chance to see Kim Stanley Robinson read his poetry, go! My party was divided on whether it is better then his fiction, but its very very good. I might heckle him from the crowd at Etech to read some verse.
I’ll be at next month’s. (which I suppose is another way of saying I won’t be at SxSW after all)
Photo by kirkbrooks
June 15th, 2004
..is wonderful. It’s not really a big idea book like the Mars book were, or at least not yet though you get the feeling that there might be a substructure of big ideas lurking beneath the surface like ice bergs. Instead this is a master story teller, walking us through a restrained, but involving human drama in the near future, and full of Kim Stanley Robinson’s trademark brilliant insights. Not so much science fiction as fiction about scientists, in some way it reminds of Gibson’s near future Pattern Recognition except that Gibson’s timeline leads to Neuromancer and so Cayce and co. were ur-shadowrunners, while Robinson’s leads to Red Mars and so the characters are all proto-First Hundred.
Frank is back and one of our view point characters. Not literally Frank Chalmers in the style of The Martians, but more the re-incarnated archetype of Frank, spun out for another existence ala Years of Rice and Salt.(has any other character in the history of fiction used the word “panmixia”?) Odd choice, I wouldn’t have pegged Frank as a character with much left unsaid and he was never one of my favorites still it is engaging to see his sociobiologist mind breaking down coastal differences in driving patterns in terms of the prisoners dilemma.
Also the scene on page 12 of dropping one’s kid off at day care for the first day is heart rending, and a great argument for staying childless.
I’m only a hundred pages in or so (I’m savoring it), but so far I think its the best thing I’ve read this year.