“Avalanche” is a cyberpunk classic

Neil Stephenson avalanche Is one of the most popular science fiction books of all time, with William Gibson’s Neuromancer It is the basic text of the cyberpunk sport.Science fiction writer Anthony Ha Blown away avalanche When he first read it in the late 90s.

“This is a period of clumsy performance of virtual reality in movies and TV,” Ha said in episode 487 Geek Galaxy Guide podcast. “So it’s not like this avalanche This is the first time I have encountered this kind of image, but it looks cool, this is the first time. “

avalanche It tells the story of Hiro Protagonist, a hacker wielding a samurai sword who hops back and forth between the dystopian Los Angeles and a virtual world called Metaverse. Geek Galaxy Guide host David Barr Courtley Point out that this novel has inspired countless entrepreneurs and inventors, including John Carmack, Reid Hoffman, and Palmer Lackey. Kirtley said: “I started to list all the people in Silicon Valley who thought this work was inspiring for them. I just stopped at a certain point because it was basically everyone.”

avalanche It’s still as interesting and fashionable as ever, but some aspects of this book are outdated.Science Fiction Professor Lisa Yazek From the perspective of 2021, this book has some weaknesses in terms of race and gender. “If you want to learn more about the history and development of cyberpunk, I still think reading is important because it is an important intervention,” she said. “This is the moment when cyberpunk has truly become a global narrative model, and all kinds of people-authors of color, LGBTQ+ authors-will really start using it.”

Science fiction writer Sam J Miller Please note that the characters avalanche It also feels a little thin that a robotic guard dog named Rat Thing stands out and becomes one of the most sympathetic characters in the book. “In many ways, I think Rat Thing may be the character closest to the inner and emotional arc. He makes me really feel things,” Miller said. “Everyone else thinks they wear three pairs of sunglasses, it’s so cool.”

Listen to the full interview with Anthony Ha, Lisa Yaszek, and Sam J. Miller in episode 487 Geek Galaxy Guide (above). And check out some of the highlights in the discussion below.

David Barr Kirtley on character development:

“Hiro looks very interesting. He and his parents have this interesting background, and YT and her mother also have this kind of relationship. But I feel that with the development of this book, the character development is a bit withdrawn. We never really I have seen Juanita or Da5id-I mean, he is in a coma, but he could have woken up. With so many characters and so many organizations, it becomes very, very complicated. Everything is cool, in this book Everything is very cool, but I do look a bit like characterization [was lacking]. There are really no moments of emotional fragility or heart-to-heart, or people regret or something like that. This is just a superficial feeling. “

Anthony Ha’s background story:

“The problem is, if you read this book for the plot, [backstory] Become a distraction, at a critical climax, Hiro will suddenly jump back to the library and discuss [ancient Sumeria] When playing another swordsmanship game with the librarian.So especially when reading for the first time, especially if you are still young, I think your feet are just tapping impatiently, “Why should I read this?” … which is pretty cool McGoffin For this story, it’s interesting to understand Sumerian mythology, but sometimes it makes Stephenson essentially say,’Man, isn’t language like a virus? Isn’t it cool? I thought at the time,’This is cool, but it may not be worth that much. ‘”

Sam J. Miller’s Floating City:

“One thing I did before writing Black fish city Have I visited-in Cambodia-a community of mainly Vietnamese refugees, which is basically a mobile community. They have churches, schools, everything on floats, convenience stores that sell lottery tickets and gasoline, and crocodile farms. This is remarkable and tragic. It is not a super high standard of living. They are there in large part because their ability to live on land-due to immigration issues-is limited. [Floating cities] It’s a cool idea, but I think in practice, this scenario will only evolve when necessary, and it may not be very good. “

Lisa Yaszek on economics:

“Interestingly, people use the virus for this purpose, that is, occupying corpses in order to produce goods that do not belong to the corpses themselves. So [Snow Crash] Thinking about labor as much as thinking about language, this is the part that I still find interesting. …In many ways I think this is right William GibsonI like it because I am a fool of utopian thinking, but I think Gibson is often naively utopian about the ability of marginalized communities to resist mergers and destruction by engaging with the promise of capitalism. I think part of the content of this book and what I like is that it explores how great this possibility is-can you really stay away from the net of capitalism? “

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