Reamde and Bill Cosby

No I’m not entirely sure how those two things go together: one is the latest novel from Neal Stephenson which had me riveted all the way through the 1000-odd pages, the other is the comedian best known for his influential TV series from the 1980s. I suppose it’s a pop cultural thing, but I’ve been trying to figure out what theme might be running through both topics in order to produce something profound out of a blog post.

Instead, well, here we are. The “theme” if any is that both were things I experienced in July, and it now being the end of July I figured I’d get it written down.

Reamde is a terrific novel that I nearly couldn’t put down; it weaves high-end World of Warcraft-style MMORPG cyberpunk er, nowpunk(?) with straight thriller style shoot-em-up almost seamlessly and so adeptly that you have to keep turning the page. I loved it and it occupied the better part of my mind while I was reading it, and except for one nagging minor plotline that never got addressed by the end, it’s nearly a perfect read.

Seeing Bill Cosby live in Central Oregon was, despite its significance for Central Oregon, an event I was less excited about. Mostly because it took place on a Sunday afternoon (during a kid’s birthday weekend) out at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds—not exactly the ideal venue for which to see a comedian (seriously, the Tower Theatre would have been much better) but my wife won free tickets so what are you gonna do? The performance itself was fine, not entirely the caliber of his earlier years, and despite several issues with the handling of the venue and event itself (not Bill Cosby’s fault), it was an entertaining hour and a half.

So what does one have to do with another? Well nothing really, but there’s an interesting contrast between stories of a childhood framed by an era very few of us can understand (Cosby was born in 1937), and the modern future-is-now headspace of works like Reamde from authors like Neal Stephenson. And it seems like there should be something profound in that.