I think Crake is an extremely interesting character in the novel, even more so after the discussion we had in class about him being a mad scientist/super genius. Personally, I think he is a mad scientist, because he took the route that, in his view, promotes 'the greater good', with the end justifying the means. But past this, I think what he did is something that anyone is capable of doing, given the circumstances. He is extremely intelligent, and gets the best education; he has the drive to see his projects through, and develops the ego necessary to completely believe in his vision.
One element of Pattern Recognition that struck me was the use of movie titles or directors in descriptions of both people and places in the novel. While I did not enjoy the novel much as a whole, I liked how Gibson included these contemporary tidbits of information. It really helped clear up some of the environments that Cayce was in, and gave the novel a more realistic narrative feel. I noticed references to The Matrix and to female characters in general in most role-playing games on page 187. And to director Ridley Scott's sets on page 248.
I really enjoyed the book, but I need to sleep for a test tomorrow. This is my second pass, hope I wont need it later...
I had serious trouble organizing my thoughts while writing this, partly from confusion induced after watching eXistenZ, but here are a few of my thoughts the movie and book together.
One of the greatest questions of morality I saw (and the class talked about) was how Lore never acknowledges the other side of the monopoly argument. As far as she is concerned, since the van de Oest products are superior to the others, they have the right to dominate the market. As the son of two educators from a middleclass family, this was about as opposite my thought patterns as possible. The grand revelation she has about her family's rise to monopoly was all focused on the corruption behind it, not on the nature of the monopoly itself.
Overall, I did enjoy Cyteen for the story and the characters, particularly in the development of the second Ariane. However, much of the politics and the verbal sparring went over my head, and I fear this was a significant portion of the novel. All of the different alliances and enmities between the major political influences in the novel seemed to change so fast, and often to cues that I as a reader did not pick up for several pages after.
One of the strangest aspects I found in Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand was the difference between modern hunting and the 'dragon hunting' between pgs 239 and 257. At first, hunting in the deserts of Velm appears very similar to our human hunting; leaving for a wilderness area, using large 'weapons', receiving advice over territory or placement from an experienced hunter, and eventually finding and firing at the prey, taking something from the prey in the process. The first major difference here is the wanted result.
In class Monday and Wednesday I was surprised that no one brought up the biblical aspects of Lilith's Brood. I know this a touchy subject, but there are so many references and similar story lines that I thought someone would have brought them up. The easiest to point out is Lilith, who distinguishes herself in a religious sense both in name and action. In Hebrew stories she is supposed to have been Adam's first wife, who would not submit to his supposedly male dominance (including during sex), and was thrown out of Eden for it.
One of the things that was touched on in class recently was the way in which Genly Ai often characterized the ways the Gethenieas acted around him. Particularly interesting to me were the ways that appeared derogatory towards woman, and what this conveys about him and the 'Ekumenical' society he comes from.
During class this week, there was a lot of discussion about Case, with his "Cowboy" job description and lack of personal choice, and about Molly and her street-samurai status and prostitute beginnings. After finishing Neuromancer, I find one of the most interesting characters to be Armitage, or Col. Corto, especially so soon after reading Starship Troopers. In a way, this man's military background combined with his uncontrolled "life" and death creates an inverse perspective, perhaps even an ironic parody, of the military lifestyle.