It's a common trope for fiction writers to hate science and technology. The idea that knowledge is a recipe for destruction is deeply rooted in the past, dating back to at least Prometheus' punishment for stealing fire from Mount Olympus. But the more blunt examples are those in the mad scientist category; the Frankensteins, the Jekkyl and Hydes, the Dr. Moreaus, the Lex Luthors, etc. By taking their pursuits of science to unethical extremes, these characters not only wreak havoc, but shame the entire concept of science.
A quick internet search revealed to me that Pattern Recognition, the eighth novel by William Gibson, was the first to be on the New York Times Bestsellers list, and the first to be set in a contemporary world instead of a fantastical one. The increased overall popularity of the more recent William Gibson novels ( as opposed to Neuromancer, whose popularity was more of a word-of-mouth cult hit ) may be due to this; however, speaking personally, I found the contemporary world of Pattern Recognition less compelling.
As I mentioned in class, this should be of interest to any fans of Snow Crash, or fiction in general...
The Shown Their Work entry seems especially relevant, as now I know more about Sumerian mythology than I ever cared to know.
As I was reading Snow Crash, the most consistently jarring ( as in, taking me out of the story ) aspect was Hiro's swordplay. Though he's the greatest hacker in the world ( both real world and Metaverse ), he's equally proud of being the greatest swordsman. He carries his katanas everywhere, and uses them extensively-- not just in the Metaverse, but the real world. A modern-day samurai, with the emphasis on " modern-day ".
The most obvious thing that I noticed about Nicola Griffith's Slow River was the variance in storytelling styles. Not only are there three different storylines ( Lore's life with Spanner, her work at the purification plant, her childhood flashbacks ), but they are told in three different ways ( third person past-tense, first person past-tense, third-person present-tense ). It was incredibly jarring for me at first, as it went against everything grammar school had taught me about sticking to one style of narration and one time frame.
One thing that struck me about several of the novels we've read thus far is that their speculation is based on human biology; specifically, the attempt to alter and control it. In the past I came across a word for this; post-humanism, a nebulous and ill-defined term, but one ultimately centered around the concept of building better humans. There have been aspects of this in most of the books we've read, such as...
Not really a criticism of Butler's work, but an observation I've been mulling over for a while...
One thing that I thought was very clever in the Starship Troopers film was the use of mock-newsreels to set the stage. Not only are they an interesting throwback to older wars, but they're so over-the-top in their obvious propaganda that they really drive the point home of just how entrenched this society is in its culture of " citizenship ".