Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Algebraist

Just some quotes from the excellent The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks:
I have a story to tell you. It has many beginnings, and perhaps one ending. Perhaps not. Beginnings and ending are contingent things anyway; inventions devices. Where does any story really begin? There is always context, always an encompassing greater epic, always something before the described events, unless we are to start every story with, ‘BANG! Expand! Sssss…’, then itemise the whole subsequent history of the universe before settling down, at last, to the particular tale in question. Similarly, no ending is final, unless it is the end of all things… ( first § )
P. 29: Nevertheless, in all that flux of chaos, propaganda, distortions, drivel and weirdness, there were nuggets of actuality, seams of facts, frozen rivers of long- forgotten history, whole volumes of exobiography and skeins and tissues of truth.
P. 54: ‘Can any of us think of a good reason why this place is prohibited, apart from standard authoritarian, bureaucratic, overreacting, territory-marking militaristic bullshit?’
P. 116: No great breakdown in society took place and there were no significant riots or rebellions, though there were protests and crack-downs, and, as the authorities admitted much later – much later- Mistakes Were Made. But the system held together rather than fell apart, and many people would look back on that strange, unsettled epoch with a sort of nostalgia. There had been something feverish but vivid about the time, a reconnection with life after the disconnection with everybody else, which led to what even looked from some angles suspiciously like a cultural renaissance for what people were now starting to call the Ulubine Disconnect.
P. 223-24: a grandiose rant against the fucking system….
P. 310: Wormhole access portals were the pinch-points of the wormhole system – the city’s underground stations – were people of various species-types were forced to meet and to some extent mingle, though given the tiny amount of time one spend near a portal or within a wormhole, even this seemingly profound tying-together made very little difference to the ultimate unconnectedness of the many different life-strands, and both before they gathered and after they dispersed, the users of the system still tended to congregate at places specific to their own comfort criteria, usually quite different from those of all the others.
P. 437: he far preferred conference calls, holo meetings. They tended to be shorter ( though not always – if you had one where everybody was somewhere they felt really comfortable, they could go on forever too) and they were easier to control – easier to dismiss, basically. But there seemed to be this distribution curve of meeting reality: people at the bottom of the organisational pile had lots of real all-sat-down-together meetings – often Saluus had long suspected, because they had nothing useful to do and so had the time to spare and the need to seem important that meeting could provide. Those in the middle and towards the top had more and more holo meetings because it was just more time-efficient and the people they needed to meet with were of similarly high stature with their own time problems and often far away. But the – this was the slightly weird bit – as you got to the very highest levels, the proportion of face-to-face meetings started to rise again.
Also the rest about vital informational and body language….


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. frozen rivers of long forgotten history

    schitterend beeld

    hehe, bij ahid schijnt het wel te lukken...