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I remember his quadricular notebooks, his black crossed-out passages, his peculiar typographical symbols and his insect-like handwriting. In the afternoons he liked to go out for a walk around the outskirts of Nîmes; he would take a notebook with him and make a merry bonfire. I have reflected that it is permissible to see in this “final” Quixote a kind of palimpsest, through which the traces—tenuous but not indecipherable—of our friend’s “previous” writing should be translucently visible. Unfortunately, only a second Pierre Menard, inverting the other’s work, would be able to exhume and revive those lost Troys . . .
[drop_cap]Pierre Menard, Author of the Don Quixote was a story about the idea that our interpretation of information changes with the times we live in; our culture, our lives, our experiences. Although Menard’s Don Quixote was a perfect duplicate of Cervante’s, it was radically different in its meaning and implications because it was the product of a radically different noosphere.[/drop_cap]

I think this is true on a smaller scale, that our thoughts and ideas and experiences colour the lens through which we interpret information, so that the texts I read vary from those you read by virtue of the fact that I put emphasis on different passages, different phrases, different words.

I suppose, what I’m trying to say is this : Your actual mileage may vary.

Gary Paulsen once said “I read like the wolf eats. I read myself to sleep at night.” and that’s what I do. I read everything I can get my hands on, and I tend to read in search of inspiration.

This means my standard of quality is measured by the ideas I find in what I read.

[accordion first_accordion=”yes” title=”Daemon & Freedom™ – Daniel Suarez”]A recommendation from my friend at gegenglueck, this incredible two-part techno-thriller by Daniel Suarez has something of the goddess Kali about it :

In Daemon, a Game Developer’s titular bot-net engenders the breakdown of modern corporate civilisation; its sequel Freedom™, on the other hand, narrates the birth of something akin to an open-source utopia from its ashes with the very same bot-net as its midwife.

I loved both books, but Freedom™ was replete with the sweet-sweet honey of new ideas.

The Darknet civilisation that the Daemon establishes is a fascinating mixture of traits from online forums and MMORPGs, in which production and governance is crowd-sourced, and a transparent points-based reputation system governs access to resources.[/accordion]

[accordion title=”Bone Song & Dark Blood – John Meaney”]Oddly enough, this two-part necro-thriller by John Meaney often puts me in mind of Daniel Suarez’ work although you could argue that the only similarity between them is the thriller genre.

Despite the fact that Suarez’ work is explicitly plausible, and the world of Tristapolis – in which all technology is essentially a form of necromancy – is explicitly implausible, I think what appeals to me so much in both duologies is the portrayal of technology and its effects in shaping a society.

The world of Tristapolis is a world in which technology is made possible by necromancy, either in the thousands of corpses which power our cities in great towering necropiles or in the wraiths are bound to possess myriad devices in order to operate them.
[column width=”6″]The possessing spirit of the departed provide our machines with Sufficient Intelligence, enabling an elevator to navigate to the correct floor, a lamp to dim and brighten on demand and a vehicle to understand your commands.[/column]
[column width=”6″][aside]Sufficient Intelligence was an idea I think I encountered in Dream Pod 9‘s game Heavy Gear referring to a form of “dumb” regulatory A.I. which handles the titular mechas’ autonomous and homeostatic functions.[/aside][/column]

[accordion title=”Accelerando”]In a similar vein, I would recommend that anyone who enjoyed Freedom™ go on to read Charles Stross‘ Accelerando. It’s an entirely different novel, in an entirely different style, but it continues a vein of transhumanism and singularity.[/accordion]

[accordion last_accordion=”yes” title=”Permutation City”]Once you’ve read Accelerando, may I humbly recommend Permutation City by Greg Egan.[/accordion]