Neal, Neil and Neil but the greatest of them all is Neil (R). Neil (L) Stephenson has enormous traction because of his Cryptonomicon and lots of other novels which work to meld history, technology, science and people being beastly to each other (ho hum what's new?). I didn't read Cryptonomicon yet although I shd as I'm a Turing groupie. I did read Quicksilver, however, and I was disappointed in its sweeping depiction of the birth of science in the 1600s midwifed by Locke, Boyle and Hooke (just to mention those whose naymes have come downe to us with an antique final "e"). Wikipedia says that Stephenson did extensive research on the people and the period and it shows because he was unable to leave anything he'd discovered on the cutting room floor. If he hadn't written 7 successful books before Quicksilver (2003) his publisher would have loosed a really good copy editor on an unwieldy manuscript and carved out a far better, tighter, novel. There: I have spoken. The middle, older, guy who is curiously hugging the other two at arms' length is Neil "Moon" Armstrong. But as I say, the best of them is Neil (R) Gaiman.
I've just spent a weekend Google evening with him and Amanda Palmer, his wife, which is the best hour-and-a-bit I've had on the Interweb this month. Dau.I, the reader, is a huge fan of Neil Gaiman and his friend and quondam collaborator Terry Pratchett. One of her cherished possessions is a ragged much-read copy of Good Omens signed by both of them. The youtube of their perf&innerview has a lot going for it, not least how she looks at him when he's speaking: whatever the opposite of looking daggers is, she does it the whole time. It's intense. IF you ever leaned towards having less stuff, or being content with what you have, THEN listen Gaiman reads the October story from his Calendar of Tales (pdf).
Gaiman's writing often forces us to re-think what we know to be true. Read Snow Glass Apples in his collection Smoke and Mirrors for starters.
I remember you giving me Smoke and Mirrors and getting me to read Snow Glass Apples. Best thing I ever picked up.ReplyDelete