So unpleasant inside and out

Today’s GameSpite feature is something a bit different from the norm: The first installment of Brandon’s CryptoSafari Snap! series, an ongoing look at the cryptozoology of games. This particular chapter looks into the secrets of the enigmatic Tsuchinoko. Apparently it tastes fantastic.

I’ve been reading more these days. I used to be a book junkie, long ago, and then I started writing more and ceased to have quite so much time to read. But that’s no good — the Law of Conversation of Mass and Words dictates that you need to take in at least as much as you output, and I don’t want to go arguing with universal constants. So, I’ve started in with essential sci-fi that I’ve somehow managed to miss reading all these years: William Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy.

Discovery one: Neuromancer is both very good and shockingly far ahead of its time. Its ideas about technology and networking were either highly prophetic or totally influential, and everyone involved in Shadowrun, Dark City and the Matrix should be paying him royalties. It was so good, in fact, that it inspired me to hit up Alibris for a used book shopping spree to find some of his other work.

Discovery two: It turns out there’s more than one William Gibson in the world! Some other dude named William Gibson used to write pulpy medical dramas in the ’50s. Imagine my surprise when I opened up that package.

21 thoughts on “So unpleasant inside and out

  1. “This interviewer then went to shake Mr. Rizer’s hand, killing the super soldier upon contact. ”

    I love this.

  2. A William Gibson also wrote The Miracle Worker, the story of Helen Keller. Luckily when I was going through my early Gibson phase I managed to not order that one.

    I also quite liked his Bridge Trilogy: Virtual Light, Idoru, and All Tomorrow’s Parties. His next book, Pattern Recognition, was inspiring enough that I now wear a black, MA-1, intermediate weight, flight jacket. But other than that I can’t seem to remember anything else about the story. I’m struggling through his newest, Spook Country, reading only a handful of pages at a time; waiting for something to grab me. So far it isn’t happening.

  3. I recently reread Neuromancer (I first read it when I was like eight), and I was actually kind of let down by the writing. The book itself isn’t all that great, but I was totally blown away by the vision of it. Like, we all understand that it started Cyberpunk and whatnot, but it’s easy to forget the detail with which it got the ball rolling. Subtle elements of Neuromancer have inspired much heftier progeny, and many things that were supposed to set the tone of the future now seem mundane. The book almost falls flat because it tries to sensationalize things that we now accept in everyday life.

  4. Brandon’s article was hilarious and I cant wait for another.

    Love Big Boss’s autobiography title, Crap I Ate, Places I Crapped.

  5. Funny, I’ve been on a Gibson spree lately myself! I first read Neuromancer when I was like 12, and quite frankly I didn’t understand a word of it. In the last 3 months I’ve read Neuromancer (again) and Count Zero. I’m taking a quick break to go through his new one, Spook Country, before I finish the trilogy with Burning Chrome. I would recommend that anyone read any of his books. It helps to read them in order, but is not necessary.

    Also, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson is another great cyberpunk worth reading. Apparently they had a green light to make a Snow Crash feature film, and Craig Mullins was doing matte work, then the project was canceled. And I was sad forever after.

  6. I think you mean “Law of Conservation”, unless you are trying to spice up your conservations, then never mind.

    A few years ago I went through every Gibson book I could get my hands on. I liked them all, but Neuromancer was my favorite. It is kind of terrible but it takes you to another place, which is one of the best things you can accomplish with a book. My second favorite was Idoru because the AI is basically Sharon Apple and the ending is weeaboo nirvana. I’m also very fond of Pattern Recognition, but I forget why.

  7. conversation not conservation gffjfsdjafdj

    I’ve got some nerve pointing out other people’s typos.

  8. It was a typo, but it’s so unintentionally clever I’m gonna pretend it’s not.

    I would argue that even the writing in Neuromancer was revolutionary — maybe not good from a strictly literary sense, but it successfully blended the terse language of classic noir pulp with a convincing multicultural patois steeped in technology. That too is more or less taken for granted these days in sci-fi. The lingo of the Sprawl isn’t too far removed from today’s Internet, really.

  9. Neuromancer was completely awesome. I love the wink in Shadowrun SNES where the chmain character is named Armitage. Also Ninjas on weird french space stations? Incredible

  10. These goddamn Marillion references float right by me until I load GameSpite for the 5th time in a day. If you’d like I’ll tell you about it…

  11. Neuromancer is fantastic. Still need to get around to reading the rest of the sprawl books myself. Been going through Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels lately, and those are just amazing as well.

  12. Gibson’s short fiction reminded me a lot of Robert Sheckley, who’s mostly known for his hunter/victim novels, and Mindswap.

  13. I’ve played all those games and I had no idea this tsuchinoko thing (supposedly) existed. Fascinating!

    I also love the “Maybe I could catch a rainbow” bit along with everything else.

  14. D’oh, thanks for all the compliments! Ah, I definitely can’t promise the next ones I write will end up being funny or interesting, but hopefully they won’t be super boring.

  15. I’m so, so glad the “Snap!” portion of the title didn’t get taken out. I would have had a fit otherwise.

    p.s. I love how much exposure my namesake is getting on the front page recently. Keep it up.

  16. That’s funny — I’m reading Neuromancer for my Sci-Fi class right now. Yeah, it’s a pretty sweet class.

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