Reply to post: Re: "meta"

Are meta, self-referential or recursive science-fiction films doomed?


Re: "meta"

you could simply have looked up a word you don't understand before suggesting that others are talking shit. They weren't.

I understand what the word means. It's the context I was questioning. Particularly when talking about fiction "meta" is typically used to describe specific plot elements that reference other works, over (or under) shadow the overall themes or otherwise play around with the "reality" of the fiction. Not simply referring to an adaptation, for which we already have a perfectly useful word. As an example of what I'm talking about, Ready Player One has some fairly "meta" elements, in that it's about a computer game that's about a computer game. And lots of stuff about Rush, obviously. By contrast, Lynch's adaptation of Dune is just an adaptation with lots of the plot cut out for time/convenience, etc.

As to Stephenson, it's not the size of his books I don't like, it's how shit some of them are. I'm sat in my living room with 4 bookshelves holding about 500 books total, another 10 or so plastic crates of books currently stored in the loft. This includes a LOT of sci-fi including pretty much everything the likes of Peter F Hamilton and Alistair Reynolds have put out. So it's not as though I'm scared of reading massive tomes, or dealing with hard-SF (Peter Watts' Blindsight is so hard he provides a bibliography and footnotes at the end explaining the science and is one of the most interesting books I've ever read).

I loved Snow Crash and, to a lesser extent, Diamond Age. Zodiac and Interface were both great and Cryptonomicon was brilliant in a good many places. The Baroque Cycle annoyed me about halfway through the first book and I didn't bother reading anything else of his until I picked up SevenEves on a whim and sincerely fucking wished I hadn't. Terribly written, massively expositional in an incredibly boring manner. I didn't get more than 2 or 3 chapters in before I was burned out on watching him describe the entire history of a plant pot and then history of everyone who had ever interacted with it or so much as fucking glanced at it. Which is a pity because from the cover blurb I really, really wanted to see what happened when they got back to Earth and found how it had been changed.

Part of my problem with Stephenson is that I read an article he wrote in which he railed against the "Cult of Brevity" which basically consisted of him slagging off people who writer shorter novels. It just came off as him being a giant cock-womble because he writes huge novels. Characterising other writers as members of a cult just because their books come in at least than 1200 pages is monumental arrogance and ignorance on his part. Borges could, in 6 pages, extrapolate a more interesting idea than Stephenson's ever managed. There's nothing wrong with long or short works, there's nothing inherently right with them either. They all depend on the story itself and the teller of said story. To accuse someone of failing simply because they write novels under or over a certain length is a ridiculous position for a writer to take.

Also, he was behind the Kickstarter for Klang which is is one of the most monumentally stupid ideas I've ever seen. For him to claim to understand swordplay and then suggest that waving a plastic controller in the air (with nothing stopping you moving your "blade" even though in the game it's been blocked by your opponent) is more realistic than just mashing buttons shows a massive failure of logic and/or imagination. Oh, and you were supposed to fight at 2/3rd speed in order for the game to remain synched to your movement.

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