[FoRK] Re: What are you reading?

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Tue Jan 4 11:06:29 PST 2005


Maybe he's been chatting a little too much with Orson Scott Card.  I 
like Orson sometimes, but he really gets far afield in fantasy 
sometimes.  Also, I'm not so enamoured of his real-life religiousity and 
kow-tow eplaining away of his good novels.  Smells like peer-pressure 
theism; I'd really like to know the truth.

sdw

rst at ai.mit.edu wrote:

>James Walker writes:
> > Like many on here, the third volume of Stephenson's trilogy - enjoyed
> > the first two immensely.  Incidentally there is a great Wikipedia
> > accompaniment to the Baroque books.
>
>Just got through them; now rereading Cryptonomicon.  I'm somewhat
>curious about what others thought of certain rather unexpected events
>at the end, particularly the properties of the Solomonic gold and the 
>unusual uses to which it gets put.
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>[SPOILER WARNING]
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>I'm referring in particular to the sudden twist on the expectations of
>any modern reader when it turns out that the philosphic mercury is
>real, and that alchemy works -- well enough to transmute at least one
>coin's worth of base medal into gold, and oh by the way, revive
>multiple corpses.  It's almost as if you're reading science fiction
>for a couple of thousand pages (in the sense that let one major Tor
>editor call the Aubrey-Maturin books the best science fiction he'd
>seen in years), and then suddenly get pitched without warning into
>fantasy.  (And yes, certain earlier plot points make more sense in the
>light of this information, but they could have been made sense of some
>other way).
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>And then there are the masonic themes that show up unnamed in the
>third book (perhaps personally, in the form of Solomon Kohan).
>
>The interesting question, to me, is why Stephenson did this.   Maybe
>he's using alchemy as a metaphor for something else; maybe it's just a
>good yarn...
>
>rst
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-- 
swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com  Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 20147-4622 AIM: sdw



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