Differences on the Difference Engine (was Re: Movie night: Ada Lovelace documentary Jan 21st)

R. A. Hettinga rah@shipwright.com
Sun, 19 Jan 2003 10:03:28 -0500

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At 11:13 PM -0500 1/18/03, Lucas Gonze wrote about 'The Difference
>> Is it based on Gibson and Sterling's novel of the same name?
>> -- whump
> Which, IMHO and FWIW, su-hu-hu-hu-hucked.
> Embarassingly stiff writing.
> What a letdown after all the hype.

I liked it. But, then again, I'm a Patrick O'Brian fan.

Whatever, um, floats your boat, I suppose.

Of course, any book that assumed that Lord Byron would have actually
ended up *worth* a pinch of shit as a human being is, of course,
pushing the limits of credulity.

Okay, as his own self-authored literary character -- speaking of
O'Brian himself, who, it turns out, falsified his entire
autobiography down to his own nationality -- Byron's results weren't
too bad, inspiring two or three generations of behavioral wannabes
who *were* worth something, in a "Too Much Fun Club", Hunter
Thompson-esque fashion. I mean, otherwise obnoxious people like
Wagner and Frank Lloyd Wright might have been worth their art for all
their Byronistic pretensions. Heck, even Byron might be worth his
art, though I don't read poetry, or frankly, care to, much, possibly
because of Byron himself...

Of course, any *recent* fiction by Sterling pushes the limits of
credulity by design these days, so that's not saying much. I have to
say I've gotten really tired of all that PoMo-comes-to-SF
"look-ma-I-can-write-a-recursive-mobius-fourth-wall" hoo-hah, myself.
Like music and tonality, I'd rather have a narrative -- and actual
science -- with my science fiction...

Who spent too much time reading the wrong Bertrand Russell books as a
child, and is familiar with embarrassingly stiff language. The
Victorians, remember, were once the Romantics, so they were stiff on
purpose. Which means that, had he survived his adventure in Greece
(ahem...) Byron might have become positively Gladstonian, instead of
a Super-Disraeli, as S&G portrayed him. But, still, either way,
embarrassingly stiff... Hmmmmm...

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R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah@philodox.com>
Philodox Financial Technology Evangelism <http://www.philodox.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"Stephen looked sharply round, saw the decanter, smelt to the sloth, and
cried, 'Jack, you have debauched my sloth.'"
                                 -- Patrick O'Brian, 'H.M.S. Surprise'