Fri May 21 1999 07:27: I don't like cyberpunk. Really, at all. Cyberpunk and anime are where my cultural tastes deviate widely from the majority of computer geekdom. I'm not really sure what it is. I don't mind the dystopian futures; but when it's dystopian futures that just ain't going to happen, presented with the intense urgency that all works of cyberpunk must posess, it puts me off my lunch. To my way of thinking, the best dystopian futures remain those of 1984 and Brave New World. Both are far more real to me than anything cyberpunk has dredged up.
(Tangentially speaking of dystopian futures, the Crest in Westwood was showing Dr. Strangelove as part of a film festival, and I intended to go see it on the big screen, but its run was limited to about two days, it being a film festival and all, and I missed it.
BUT, I like to think of myself as someone who is open to new experiences, and everyone and their brother nowadays is praising Neal Stephenson to the skies, because of the supposed mightiness of his new book, Cryptonomicon, and I happen to have a copy of his older book, Snow Crash, accessible, so last night I started reading it.
I'm on page 300 now, and I'm getting to the point where I want to just stop. The plot is okay, and there are characters I care about, but it's getting more and more difficult to keep trudging through all the inane pseudoprescience. I'm sure it's not Neal Stephenson's fault. He's a good writer, but when you write cyberpunk, you have to put in this stuff. It's a union regulation or something.
But look how open-minded I am: I still plan to read Cryptonomicon, because Neal Stephenson is a good writer, and Cryptonomicon takes place in the past and in the present, which will obviate much of what I find annoying about cyberpunk. I also am planning to eventually read The Difference Engine, which takes place in an alternate past. But don't bring your CyberspaceTM here. Nuh-uh. That's not Dirk. Nuh-uh.
There are about 150 pages of Snow Crash left, so I'll finish it. I always feel compelled to finish every book I start. Except for The Good Soldier Sjvek, much better than Snow Crash and just as jarringly dystopian, which for some reason has remained half-read on my bookshelf for three years.