The statute of limitations on this post has expired!
Note the date: This post was originally published in 2007 and is kept here largely for archival purposes. Anything older than three years may contain ideas and opinions for which such a gap of time has likely reshaped, altered, softened, re-jigged, or otherwise changed those ideas and opinions to a state incongruent with my current existence.
Not having a vast abundance of free time to read these days (what with all the little projects that keep me busy from dawn ’til dusk) I’m finding it thoroughly enjoyable to use the twenty minutes each way to and from work to listen to audio books on my iPod. Not only does this let me get through numerous re-reads (and yes, odd as it sounds, I only listen to books I already own and have READ at least once) but it also ensures that I don’t spend a good chunk of my day listening to the CBC, which is apparently another of those misunderstood things I do (sometimes) that gets various people up in arms and making presumptuous comments about pretension and arrogance.
Blah blah blah… Whatever.
As of yesterday I reached the nine-hour (or end of part the first) in The Diamond Age (aka, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer) Stephenson’s speculative masterpiece on the mid-range future of nanotechnology and it’s potential impact on society, specifically through the eyes of a variety of people involved in the creation, benefits, and fall-out of a highly-advanced interactive storybook (in the form of the ultimate culmination of “modern nanotechnology”) called ‘A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer’, working through the delicacies of child-rearing on various scales, in different layers of society, and the clash of cultures and philosophies that ensues.
Oddly enough, the first time I read this book I was fascinated by the technology and missed the other point completely. This time, I think, it is evoking a completely different set of responses that have little to do with the technology and more to do with the way society interacts with itself building (not only physical barriers, but) barriers of philosophy, religion, and moral-relativism that drive the confusion and conflicts that make life interesting. I may have commentary at a later date on all this, but I am more thoroughly impressed by the layers revealed by such large-scale piece of fiction that hit me from one angle a number of years ago when I first read it, and a completely different angle now. It is interesting how perspectives change based on where you are standing at the time.