May 17, 2005

The Diamond Age

New Technique Could Make 300-Carat Diamonds - Yahoo! News

"The diamond age is upon us," Hemley said.

Wow, Neal Stephenson got it right, apparently. One of my favorite of his books, despite the dodgy ending (which, like his previous couple of books didn't end well at all, really), the book is full of fun little Stephenson touches (the hero is director of the office of "Bespoke Technology"--a word I had only heard before in the context of tailors), and a nice central social core. Still a bit too much in the thrall of Sterling and Gibson, it was the last basic sci-fi-like book he would write, in that it is built around a single central idea, that technology is neither good nor bad in isolation, but rather its effects on human development are dependent on social and cultural tensions.

Maybe I have Stephenson on the brain as I try to find some time to finish his Baroque Cycle. As a sucker for the history and politics of science (having taken several courses with Donna Haraway on the subject in school), I'm digging the idea of the books a bit more than the books themselves. But every time I decide to stop reading, something else grabs me. And it fits one of my key guidelines for selecting reading material these days--it's not something I would or could ever write myself.

And now I need to find some time to read Case Histories.

Posted by krudman at May 17, 2005 05:25 AM | TrackBack
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