Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Commonplace, Powers

Published in 1995, the following passage strikes me as postively sage, and more than a little prescient.

[T]he longer I lurked, the sadder the holiday became. People who used the web turned strange. In public panels, they disguised their sexes, their ages, their names. They logged on to the electronic fray, adopting every violent persona but their own. They whizzed binary files at each other from across the planet, the same planet where impoverished villages looked upon a ball-point pen with wonder. The web began to seem a vast, silent stock exchange trading in ever more anonymous and hostile pen pals.

The web was a neighborhood more efficiently lonely than the one it replaced. Its solitude was bigger and faster. when relentless intelligence finally completed its program, when the terminal drop box brought the last barefoot, abused child on line and everyone could at last say anything instantly to everyone else in existence, it seemed to me we'd still have nothing to say to each other and many more ways not to say it.

Yet I could not log off. My network sessions, all that fall, grew longer and more frequent. I began to think of myself in the virtual third person, as that disembodied world-web address:

--Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2

Although I'm only 50 pages into the second book of his I've tried, the first I read, Prisoner's Dilemma, was nothing short of amazing -- ambitious, stunningly beautiful, and absolutely beautiful in every way.


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