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when will bald + goatee go out of favor?

women: do you LIKE this look?

Posted by max solomon | September 15, 2008 11:17 AM

Why is this being held at the University Temple?

Posted by Greg | September 15, 2008 11:24 AM

@1 I love him for his mind...

Posted by PopTart | September 15, 2008 11:33 AM

I know I'm going to get hated for this, but...

or maybe you tried picking up a few different books of his, got bored beyond belief 50 pages into a 2,500-page novel, and moved on.

Posted by Cow | September 15, 2008 11:47 AM

@4 - your loss.

Shit, I should really go to this. I saw he was appearing at Third Place in not-Seattle, but didn't realize he was coming here!

Posted by Levislade | September 15, 2008 11:54 AM

I agree with #3. Stephenson's work is too long and have weak endings. He does have interesting ideas.

Posted by Mike | September 15, 2008 12:06 PM

@1: YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Am on page 633 of the new one.)

Who cares about endings? They're overrated. Besides, I liked the ending of The Diamond Age, and speaking as a history major I'd like to see you find an ending for a story that began with Cromwell and Samuel Pepys. What, you want to stop before the American Revolutionary War, just because it exceeds the human lifespan? In history you just stop writing.

Posted by Amelia | September 15, 2008 12:21 PM

@1: Sorry, must get my mind back into the gutter. With my post-30 dyslexia, I read "Women, do you like this book?"

Neal's not fashionable. He probably relies on cookery more than clothing. Apart from which, I blame Seattle. When I first moved here from Germany and was volunteered to sell beer tickets at an Oktoberfest, I was shocked by the way people's clothing had frozen in fashion time. Looking around the room, I could tell exactly when couples had left Germany and moved to Seattle: 1981, 1992 and, looking down at my own black minimalism, I realized: 1999. Now I too am frozen.

Posted by Amelia | September 15, 2008 12:24 PM

I haven't started reading Anathem yet (I'm saving it for a long flight I'm taking next month) and I've never been to a reading before. Do they usually start at the begining of the book or somewhere in the middle? I'd like to go, but I don't want to spoil the book for myself. Ideas?

Posted by Jerod | September 15, 2008 12:34 PM

Hey, look, I'm a big Stephenson fan, but "made science fiction suddenly matter again?" What kind of smug little pissant bullshit is that?

Sci-fi has always mattered. Those who do not heed the lessons of science fiction are doomed to repeat them.

Posted by ivan | September 15, 2008 12:58 PM

Agree with @3 and @6: Stephenson is okay for a science fiction writer, but that's not a high bar anymore.

Compare him to the greats, like Asimov, and he's clearly a total hack. Excessively wordy prose, with an inability to complete a narrative arc.

Posted by A Non Imus | September 15, 2008 12:58 PM

@9: Authors don't spoil themselves at readings. They usually read interesting bits, but they don't want to ruin anything. They want you to buy the book, because they live on royalties, after all. You should go.

@10: Mainstream literature's recent interest in sci-fi springs directly from Stephenson. If you read sci-fi, obviously sci-fi never stopped mattering. But you couldn't have someone megapopular like China Mieville without Neal Stephenson.

Posted by Paul Constant | September 15, 2008 2:12 PM

@ 11:

Stephenson is twice the writer Asimov ever was. Asimov's characters were wooden and lacked depth. Clarke had the same problem..

Posted by ivan | September 15, 2008 3:09 PM

@ 11:

Stephenson is twice the writer Asimov ever was. Asimov's characters were wooden and lacked depth. Clarke had the same problem..

Posted by ivan | September 15, 2008 3:09 PM

stephenson = awesome!
not really a SF writer anymore, if you want that check out Neal Asher or Richard Morgan. Asimov = pretty boring compared to new SF

Posted by ballz! | September 15, 2008 4:13 PM

I'm with 11.

"Excessively wordy prose, with an inability to complete a narrative arc."

I think he's completely incapable of ending a book and simply stops writing when he thinks he has enough pages.

Good luck with your reading, Paul.

Posted by TacomaRoma | September 15, 2008 5:05 PM

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