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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I don’t know why either. But with regard to Gibson I can relate. I did read Neuromancer and liked it, but it was a difficult read. At various stretches, I had to force myself to keep reading (particularly at first), while at other times when all the parts came together, it was a first-grade page turner. And then suddenly there’d be another slow patch in the middle of it. On the whole I liked it, though. So I tried to read the rest of the trilogy, but I couldn’t manage – there were page turner stretches in there, but they were just too few and too incoherently bound together. Same with a bunch of his short stories, which I couldn’t stay interested in for the most part.

    I found another author who has the fractal, interwoven-threads kind of story telling down to an art, though: John Brunner. There too you occasionally need to slog through some parts, particularly when new characters come into play, because he suddenly drops you into the middle of an entirely new side plot without any introduction, and it’s disorienting. But the wider the web he weaves, the more easily you can fit the new parts into it and the sooner and sooner you regain your orientation. Eventually the threads all coalesce into a coherent plot. It’s fascinating – almost like some kind of progressive experimental literarture, except it’s actually readable.

    • I've never read John Brunner, I try him.

      Jack Chalker's Wonderland Gambit series had a similar feel to Neuromancer, but I enjoyed it. It's part of why I picked up Neuromancer.

      • Try the Shockwave Rider [] first then. Quoting Wikipedia on Brunner []:

        Brunner’s best-known work is perhaps 1975’s proto-Cyberpunk The Shockwave Rider, in which he coined the term “worm”, used to describe software which reproduces itself across a computer network.

        He also managed a fairly impressive extrapolation of the way a virtually omnipresent computer network would affect people’s lives, in that book.

        You may want to plan on reading this book at least twice (eventually

      • I liked John Brunner, but I read a couple of his novels back-to-back, and now I can't tell them apart.

        Some of his novels, like Shockwave Rider and The Tides of Time are sui generis. Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up are two of his better works, somewhat similar (yet totally unrelated stories), and remain forever entwined in my mind. ;-)