It’s been a while; I’ve been travelling, to the Chaos Communication Camp, to Croatia, to Venice (where I saw the marvellous Anomalisa), and now, finally, to London. I’ll stay here for the next two years, working on a Master’s degree in physics. Going to be fun, that.
I did have some time for reading over that break, so here’s some quick notes on that:
- The Information, by James Gleick: Bought this book in 2013 (!), finally finished it. It’s a good overview of the history of information theory, maybe not the most academically deep, but fun and quite comprehensive.
- Light and Nova Swing by M. John Harrison: Deeply peculiar science fiction books. Darkly beautiful prose, set in a wonderfully disturbing universe.
- Luna by Ian McDonald: Perfect world-building; People living on the moon, where corporations rule and everything is a contract. He really is a master of creating a sense of place. The plot is fine, the characters are relatable enough, the cliffhanger is brutal.
Otherwise, due to spotty internet connectivity and just generally not having a routine, I haven’t really kept up. Some news still managed to sneak in. The TSA master keys got leaked and promptly 3d printed. I got sucked into this hilariously long article series on humanity, evolution and the future. Burning Man took place, and people have been writing increasingly damning things about it. Whiz Kalifa got arrested for riding a hoverboard. (Another delightful sentence.) Fez, a game I quite enjoyed, still hasn’t given up all its secrets. Ashley Madison got hacked, and The Awl has a great piece on the implications. The inventor of soylent wrote a description of his current lifestyle (grimly cyberpunk), and Warren Ellis brilliantly wrote about that:
It is that time in the cycle where the Libertarian App Future Brothers start living off the grid, buying guns and getting good and weird out there alone in the dark. I wonder how we’ll look back at this whole period of the last five or ten years. At how the digital gold rush and the strange pressures of a new, yet accelerated, period of cultural invention cooked a whole new set of mental wounds out of the people swept up in it. Yes, sure, it gave us sociopaths who prefer humans to be drones and believe that everything is rotting. But I think, reviewing the era, that we will be sad. I think we may look back and consider that, one more time, we saw the best minds of our generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves after an Uber that isn’t actually there because Uber fake most of those little cars you see on the Uber app map.