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Go out with you? Why not... Do I like to dance? Of course! Take a walk along the beach tonight? I'd love to. But don't try to touch me. Don't try to touch me. Because that will never happen again. "Past, Present and Future"-The Shangri-Las

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Ol' Homestead

Since my car's on the mend and I find the busses just won't take me from here to there, I'm taking some time off from work. Boo. But I'm sure not gonna waste this time; I've got plenty of cleaning to do, which is always the case thanks to my general laziness, but compiled with the lack of time and energy thanks to Twelfth Night it's gotten so bad that even I'm appalled. My recyclables have piled up almost thigh-deep, and while I may not be able to drive the whole mess to the recycling center I can jolly well organise it.

In slightly more exciting news I'm currently reading Things Fall Apart, which I borrowed from the star of our recently finished play. She wrote a paper comparing the portrayal of community in this novel with that in Neuromancer, and I'm eager to find out what comparisions and (more likely) contrasts she made. In Things Fall Apart the whole civilization is so integrated and community-oriented, and everyone is so totally plugged into it, while in Neuromancer society is so fragmented that people are either alone or are in little cliques; wealthy families, gangster organizations, Rastafarian communities. The plot is set in motion because (spoiler warning) an AI computer seeks connection and integration with its counterpart AI, and once they finally link up they reach out to alien intelligences which they, but not humanity, have contacted. But heroine Molly leaves her part-time lover, the protaganist Case, so the humans wind up seperate again. It's almost as if our only hope is to create AIs that are better able to find fulfillment than we are. It's a glum-yet-hopeful variation on old SF themes, not only of AIs and alien contact, but of human improvement (Clarkes' Childhood's End, Van Vogt's Slan, Octavia Butler's Dawn.) I should read some more of Gibson's works to see how he builds on these ideas about community and the fragmentation theirof, and discover wherein his hope for the future lies. .

I've recieved intimations that white folks show up and wreck everything in Things Fall Apart. I am not enthusiastic; whatever the faults of the society the novel portrays (women get a pretty raw deal, although some of them, like the priestess, are able to find their own routes to power) it certainly isn't likely to be improved by europeans, and I'll hate to see how things fall apart. I haven't been this personally absorbed by a novel in a while, although A Celebate Season by Carol Shields and Blanche Howard came close. I may have more to say about that book later, but outside it's right at that sweet spot where it's sunny but not oppressively hot, so I'll go try to waddle this flab off, then get back to recyclables.

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