August 18th, 2007

20111112, Marilee

Neuromancer by William Gibson

This was the bookgroup book for this month and I've never been able to get into his books before, but I had to read this one. It was hard starting, but eventually the story picked up over what I realized was my lack of connection with his style of writing.

Neuromancer was written in 1983 (the original edition has the first digital art book cover, by Rick Berry) and is set sometime in our future when flights to orbitals are routine. At the same time, there's pay phones. There was a fair amount of bad-guessing future in this, but the story mainly carried anyway. Our protagonist, Case, is a guy who breaks digitally into banks and companies. He defrauded his bosses and they screwed his brain so he couldn't do it anymore. We meet him in Chiba City in the nightlife. He's acquired by a new boss who gives him new organs, including a brain that will hack, and for part of the book, he doesn't even know what the job is. It becomes more complicated -- who's cheating who, who's lying, etc. -- and more violent.

It happened that james_nicoll had a post on Neuromancer last Sunday, and in the process, carloshasanax and Doug M. who posts anonymously mentioned that the book follows Dante's Inferno. Now, I knew the idea of Inferno, but not the exact form, so I looked it up in Wikipedia, and I must say, they seem to have a point. I found more and more correspondence between the books.

I don't think I'll read more Gibson, it's still hard to read for me, but I think if I'd managed to read it back in 1983, I might have felt it was the classic so many others do.
20111112, Marilee

Books and Food, What Else?

I had bookgroup today and took the books from the to-be-read that I had duplicates of or didn't want, as well as the Harry Potter series. We also had a batch of ARCs, none that I wanted. Some of both batches were taken by other members and the rest of my books went to the Friends of the Library drop.

We had a new person -- a guy roughly my age, works with cars (didn't say so, but grease around his nails), newly divorced and moved back up here to live with his dad -- and he had an excellent knowledge of SF in all its forms and he handled the digressions quite well. The new guy from last time emailed us to say he couldn't come today, and even that is a good thing because if people don't plan to come back at all, we never hear from them. It's always good to have new people.

Afterwards we went to a new restaurant in the area, California Tortilla, which was quite good for the fast food look. Four of us tried the same three hot sauces (they have a Wall of Flame with 75 varieties that you can try (and then buy a new one, if you want)) and the three guys turned colors with the #10 Endorphin Rush while I was saying "Nice burn in the throat...." I know I can handle hotter things than most people, but I didn't mean to make the guys feel bad.

I looked at my eyelids in the mirror when I got up at 1pm today and they were fine. About 4:30pm, I used the library restroom and looked in the mirror while I washed my hands, and my right upper eyelid overlapping edge is starting red and swollen. At least I have a suggestion for what to try with it.