Wired profile on Neal Stephenson

On the eve of the publication of Anathem, Wired just posted the first profile I've seen in a long while on author Neal Stephenson. Highlights: the steel helmet he's constructing in his basement, his extracurricular research on brain surgery tools, and the influence of the Long Now Foundation on his new novel:

"I could never get that idea, the notion that society in general is becoming aliterate, out of my head," [Stephenson] says. "People who write books, people who work in universities, who work on big projects for a long time, are on a diverging course from the rest of society. Slowly, the two cultures just get further and further apart."


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I vote for a discontinuation of the term "mash up" to describe anything that's cultural and interesting. It means nothing other than that the author using it thinks it sounds non-generic, which it doesn't.

Jesse | Tue, 08/19/2008 - 7:07am

I agree. I enjoy Wired, but there's definitely some lazy and pseudo-hip writing over there.

crazymonk | Tue, 08/19/2008 - 9:25am

Right. It seems like they've rested on their laurels well beyond their laurels' expiration date. But it is good as a general info source, agreed there.

I'll prob. read Anathema before I get to the books after Diamond Age. But one thing I was thinking about, reading that article, and I think this goes back to that Stephenson talk you posted earlier in the summer and his distinction between SF and non-SF or whatever- it strikes me, at least based on the wired article, that one thing about SF is that it doesn't feel obligated to metaphor the way a lot of, say, more conventional fiction does. Maybe it's more allegorical than metaphorical? He might've said exactly that in the talk he gave. I haven't thought this through too clearly, so I'll leave it at that.

Jesse | Tue, 08/19/2008 - 9:33am