I have taken a couple of stabs recently at re-reading iconic cyberpunk. I read Neuromancer years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it; revisiting it this year, I was so profoundly underwhelmed it ended up going back on my shelf within a day or so. I have previously enjoyed Gibson’s sparse delivery (compare and contrast to Iain M. Bank’s assault on adjective saturation), but on this occasion it felt flat. I couldn’t engage, couldn’t care – as Case bounced into paranoia, through his first meeting with Molly and into surgery, I failed to find the drama. Geekgrrl fail.
I took a step back, visited some rather different reading material (no, not that sort) and wended my way back to cyberpunk via Neal Stephenson. I haven’t re-read The Diamond Age since my first encounter with it, which I found dense and confusing. I was a little surprised to discover I still find this the case. In contrast to Snow Crash or Zodiac, The Diamond Age is far more focused on its technology – or perhaps it’s just focused on technology that I have less understanding of. Either way, I found myself skimming paragraphs and pages in search of character or plot development rather than nano-detail; after a few chapters, I found myself placing the book back on the shelf. Double fail.
Rather than obsess about whether I’ve lost my geekgrrl setting, I have shrugged it off and settled in to some excellent non-fiction instead. Thankfully my fangirl setting appears to be working just fine: having seen grrm‘s post of casting details for the upcoming HBO production of A Song of Ice and Fire, I may spontaneously combust with excitement.
After the Earthsea fiasco, I was quite prepared for them to really hash this up (besides, I rather think the series is unfilmable), but I don’t think I’ll be able to resist a predominantly British cast (with Sean Bean as Ned Stark, for crying out loud). There’s still time for it all to go wrong, of course: they’re yet to cast the Lannisters. But so far? So far, I’m happily surprised.
Edit: I take it back – Tyrion has already been cast. I’m not familiar enough with Peter Dinklage’s work to know if this is a good thing or not.