(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Monday, June 02, 2003
Recognising Gibson's Patterns

Started reading William Gibson's new book Pattern Recognition last night. I'm only 25 pages in and already love it. I suspect every third book (barring disappointing co-writing efforts with Bruce Sterling) is a self-conscious 'dialogue' with Neuromancer. In Virtual Light, Gibson went to great pains to satirise his earlier novel, not least of all with characters who wear mirrorshades and are allergic to almost everything in the industrial world, nor with a protagonist (Rydell) who is on the receiving end of hackers' work, rather being the hacker (Case). Pattern Recognition starts with Cayce Pollard (yes, sounds exactly the same as Case, doesn't it) who has just arrived in Camden Town, London, from New York. Gibson's dense style of writing is at its finest; Google is a verb (as it is for so many these days); logos are the steering influence of the story; email has become hotmail ("the penis enlarger is still after her", [p. 5]) and contemporary difficulties with online life are succinctly captured with minimum wordage (chat: "the hectic speed, and the brevity of the lines in the thread, plus the feeling that everyone is talking at once, at counter-purposes, deter her" [p. 4.]). Chapter three is simply called 'The Attachment' and revolves around some mysterious footage circulating the Net. I'm hooked.

Checking out Gibson's Blog (which has gone from daily, to semi-daily, to a warning that summer is commencing and it may well be weeks between posts since sunshine is still a wonderful thing to see) always produces little gems. Yesterday, it led me to a summary story of Salam Pax's 'Where is Raed?' blog-related tale. If you've not been following, Salam Pax's Blog was, during America's recent attacks on Iraq, and presumably still is, one of the most frequently read and discussed Blogs owing to the fact it was written by a Baghdad national still living in Iraq who has relatively good English and has lived overseas long enough to speak the language of popular culture (he, apparently, drops David Bowie references here and there). There was speculation that he was fake, or too good to be true, but this article suggests that he is completely authentic (and I'm convinced).



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