Thursday, October 16, 2008

Notes after reading Stephenson's "The Diamond Age"

Journal Entry No. 5

After reading the entirety of The Diamond Age, as it follows Hackworth's descent from moral, skilled man to becoming The Alchemist, and Nell's rise from an unlucky child to a Queen, I'm still more than a little confused about everything. Maybe another read through of the second part might help.

Anyway, I have some main comments and questions about all of it, and perhaps I missed hints describing this. But, where did the Drummers come from? Did Dr. X design those nanomachines to infect the Drummers only to steal and share Hackworth's skills? Also, was Miranda just incredibly unlucky to become Nell's mother? (Or, how much impact did Miranda have on the Primer - did the Primer raise Nell or was it really Miranda? Miranda seems like an unlucky spectator to me.)

Also, for the boat scene, why a clown? And, is the Seed better than the Feed? Would things be better without this Feed? It sounds like communism versus anarchy to me.

I like how the Raven is a common theme throughout the book. The raven first appears in a poem by Coleridge (which is significant because Finkle-McGraw, who seems to be the puppetmaster of much of this, offers the poem to Hackworth.) Then, the raven appears as the first word Nell learns to spell, and shows up in later tales as well as a character. I also like the Dinosaur story a lot - it was of course a prelude to Nell learning how to fight, but what else did that story serve as? An explanation of how nanomachines fight against eachother? Or how the subset cultures fight against eachother?

Either way, I think I'd enjoy reading an illustrated primer, and think that "Kidnapper" was a great name for Hackworth's "pet."

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