Friday, June 18, 2004

Voice of the Whirlwind

I'm really pumped, I may get to meet Walter Jon Williams while I am in Tulsa. I'm going to a science fiction convention called Conestoga in Tulsa.

Williams is one of my favorite authors. His Voice of the Whirlwind is one of my all-time favorite books. The Bellman and I both read it back in high school, and as I recall the Bellman didn't like it b/c the main character seemed sociopathic to him. It was a long time ago, I'm not sure if he recalls the book clearly.

I've read it several times and I like it more every time. I like the koan of the main character about "mind like water". I find that very calming. When I'm really stressed I try to make my mind like water and allow reality to wash over me.

I think of the main character simply as Beta, because he is the clone of his Alpha. The book really spoke to me as a teenager who was struggling with issues of patriotism and militarism having been raised in a military family. I love this country and I want America to prosper. But I also think of myself as a citizen of the world. The fate of the United States is caught up with the fate of all humankind. We are bound together and I think we should try to consider the best public policy for the human race. The Beta is a character whose memories owed allegiance to a corporation that no longer existed and a wife who'd divorced him.

I found this review on Amazon.com [link]:

A veteran's story told through authentic cyberpunk., June 29, 2000
Reviewer: A reader from Charlotte, NC USA
An intense story with three dimensional characters and realistic portrayals of action, this is a fast-paced, gritty ride into the future. This novel is based on plot and characters (not technology or glitz) and is a real literary contribution to the cyberpunk movement. An enduring classic the day it was published, it addresses issues that are common to veterans of any war--what is life like in peacetime (after the struggle) and what is the value of a so called "broken" veteran of a horrible conflict.


Angel Station and his anthology, Surfacing, are other titles of his that I've really enjoyed. Anyone else out there a Walter Jon Williams fan? I think his work has gotten better over time while William Gibson's work has become less interesting over time.

It's too bad about Gibson, because Neuromancer and Count Zero were so totally cool. Maybe the muse will touch him again....I hope so.

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