David Stevens

Posts Tagged ‘Neal Stephenson’

Happy Christmas

In Uncategorized on December 25, 2018 at 12:58 am

I won a little bet with my family. After a misspent youth reading John Keel and Jacques Vallee and others, I predicted a headline saying there may have never been any drones at Gatwick. People saw something, but it was more mysterious than they realised. The fairies are now drones, and my childhood dreams were full of parachutes from nowhere.

Happy Christmas!

 

And here are my traditional new year meditations:

“Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.”

-Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

“Ideas are far more powerful than guns. We don’t allow our enemies to have guns, why should we allow them to have ideas?”

– Joseph Stalin

“An answer for the rich. Start crying, weep for the miseries that are coming to you. Your wealth is all rotting, your clothes are all eaten up by moths. All your gold and your silver are corroding away, and the same corrosion will be your own sentence, and eat into your body, it was a burning fire that you stored up as your treasure for the last days. Labourers mowed your fields , and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out, realise that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. On earth you have had a life of comfort and luxury, in the time of slaughter you went on eating to your heart’s content. It was you who condemned the innocent and killed them, they offered you no resistance.”

-The letter of St James

“And of course I’d lie to myself, telling myself there was still time, it wasn’t too late, there were novelists who didn’t get started until they were fifty, hell, even sixty. probably plenty of them.”

– On Writing, Stephen King

 

 

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Wha’s a man t’ doo?

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm

I am far from home. My many, many books are in cartons, denied to me, being placed in storage. I have been surviving upon Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, and I am in love with Duchess Eliza, not to mention Daniel Waterhouse, the Shaftoe Brothers, Enoch Root, the crew of the Minerva, and not to forget Isaac Newton’s niece. Unfortunately Stephenson, with his erudition and world building and brilliance and interest in so many things, has spoiled me. I am at the epilogue of ‘The System of the World’, refusing to read on because I don’t want it to end. I pick up other books and drop them with a “Bleh”. About 15 years ago I gave up reading sf and fantasy altogether, because I was sick of the sameness, bored with the arbitrary decisions of writers, and turned to reading history and science and religion (not that I had never read those things in the past). I drifted back into fiction eventually, and even back into speculative fiction, but I have found myself again hovering more in the history and current affairs sections of book shops. Perhaps Stephenson has spoiled me for other writers and other books. Perhaps I just need a major palate cleanser to leave his baroque world sadly behind me. If only I had not already read all of the Aubrey-Maturin books, or if only James Ellroy would wind back the clock and write a decent noir door stopper. Now, this may not seem like much of an issue, but I face a 24 hour flight in the next few weeks, and I am terrified at the thought of facing it without a good, and good sized, book to consume. I need a new ‘Ghost Story’ or ‘Salem’s Lot’ or even ‘Lord of the Rings’. Perhaps I am asking a little too much? I can’t read ‘Game of Thrones’ because I am enjoying the TV series too much. I used to worry about sick children or career decisions, now I realise that I have a real problem on my hands. What to do, what to do…? Don’t laugh, this is serious!

Meditations for the new year

In Uncategorized on December 29, 2013 at 3:56 am

“Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.”

-Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

“Ideas are far more powerful than guns. We don’t allow our enemies to have guns, why should we allow them to have ideas?”

– Joseph Stalin

“An answer for the rich. Start crying, weep for the miseries that are coming to you. Your wealth is all rotting, your clothes are all eaten up by moths. All your gold and your silver are corroding away, and the same corrosion will be your own sentence, and eat into your body, it was a burning fire that you stored up as your treasure for the last days. Labourers mowed your fields , and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out, realise that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. On earth you have had a life of comfort and luxury, in the time of slaughter you went on eating to your heart’s content. It was you who condemned the innocent and killed them, they offered you no resistance.”

-St James

“And of course I’d lie to myself, telling myself there was still time, it wasn’t too late, there were novelists who didn’t get started until they were fifty, hell, even sixty. probably plenty of them.”

– On Writing, Stephen King

These are some of the things I think about when I wake up very early in the morning.

Happy new year, happy campers!