Thursday, October 28, 2004

Neal Stephenson Interview

When I began reading this provocative and charming interview with the provocative and charming Neal Stephenson, I wondered why ALD hadn't linked to it. Stephenson is a witty, articulate, code-writing, evo-bio, history-smitten brainiac, who presents his case for a rational pragmatism with compassion and humor – you’d think this would be natural material for ALD. But Stephenson was one step ahead of me, helpfully explaining why this oversight is only natural: he is a Beowulf writer, while ALD is entrenched among our Dantes.


Gideon Strauss said...

Very nice final phrase! I must hop over to the interview. (Although I must admit that I lost patience with Stephenson after Cryptonomicon. Maybe I should recover my patience ...)

Whisky Prajer said...

Oh, his latest will test your patience at every turn - if you're curious, I reviewed it here. It's got heaps of interesting historical arcana, but Stephenson doesn't make much effort to strengthen the sci-fi writer's achilles heel: characters who behave with a certain emotional detachment, as if it all adds up to a merry lark in which ideas are the substance of life. So long as his ideas are provocative and well-edited, Stephenson is good reading. This trilogy doesn't meet the latter criterion, and is hit-and-miss with the former.