Computer Death, Dreams, and Futuristic Lexicography

1. Sorry I’ve been so silent here lately. Part of that has been due to technology: my beloved but ailing eMac finally became unusable, so I took part of my advance for Blood of Ambrose and bought a new iMac; several evenings in the past week have been devoted to data recovery, transfer and playing with the new toy acquainting myself with the specifics of this very serious work-related hardware. Then there was the post mortem on the old computer. I feel that it may have been defeated by illogic, as I understand from Star Trek that this is the way most computers bite the dust. My son thinks there was something wrong with the cooling system, pointing to several components that seem to have been scorched. I observed that really persistent illogic has a scorching effect, often causing logic-based entities to emit smoke and sparks. I was gratified to see my son displaying exactly these symptoms, but his cooling system, fortunately, is in perfect order and the damage in his case doesn’t seem to be permanent.

2. I’ve been having a weird series of dreams involving cars. A few nights ago I had a very intricate black-and-white dream like a 1940s noir movie featuring two private detectives who didn’t get along very well and were both engaged in some complicated mix of shadow-job and con-game with the same target. I badly wanted to see how that one worked out, but my alarm woke me up. Last night I dreamed that I was hitchhiking in a brightly colored, rather futuristic Minneapolis. John Scalzi (no, I’ve never met him) drove by and offered me a ride. I told him I needed to go to the Foshay Tower, but we ended up at Como Park, which was much seedier than I remember it and full of homeless people. I’m not sure what this means, but I suspect that it has something to do with general anxiety about my writing career and the chaotic financial markets. (Foshay went broke and lost his property in the Great Depression.)

3. I’ve been slowly becoming a Neal Stephenson fan. I think this guy is up to something interesting, and he might really be going places in this little sf genre. I was on the fence about whether I was going to get Anathem, but the following useful dictionary entry tipped me over into the “buy early and often” category.

[Seen at SFSignal.]

About JE

James Enge is the author of the World-Fantasy-Award-nominated novel Blood of Ambrose (Pyr, April 2009). His latest book is The Wide World's End. His short fiction has appeared in Swords and Dark Magic (Harper Collins, 2010), Black Gate, the Stabby-Award-winning anthology Blackguards and elsewhere.
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8 Responses to Computer Death, Dreams, and Futuristic Lexicography

  1. peadarog says:

    I’m about half-way through Anathem at the moment and the man’s brilliance leaps off the page, grabs you by the throat, eats you out of house and home, before leaving you stunned and breathless and five years older than when you started reading. Well worth it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stephenson taunts me with these 900 page books. THE DIAMOND AGE is one of my all time favorite novels, but there is no way I can take time out from Pyr manuscript reading to read tomes of this size. I buy them and keep them on the shelf for “one day”. Or maybe for my kid when he’s old enough. Or just to look at from time to time…

  2. Anonymous says:

    But I suspect that it has something to do with general anxiety about my writing career.

    Good, you got it. After reading your description of the dream, I was going to say, don’t quit your day job.

    I think I’d have to set aside a month or two to get through Anathem, but I must say, I’m intrigued. The front author column in the latest issue of Locus is by Stephenson and focuses on Anathem. There’s also a review of the novel in this issue. (Plus I just watched a bunch of youtube videos on wooden clocks, so I’m primed.)

    –Jeff Stehman

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