Prompt: If you could recommend one book, which one would it be?
I’ll cheat a little bit, though, because once you remove my favorite authors, as I did by blocking out everything from my ‘favorite books’ list, there’s not a whole lot left. So I’m going to use one of the bits of ‘minutia’ of that list, and say that the one book I’d recommend to everyone is Neal Stephenson’s Diamond Age.1
Diamond Age is a rather sprawling book, but it tackles a lot of topics that I find utterly fascinating.2 There’s a lot of nanotechnology, which is used to touch on the cosmetic and medical uses that become possible, including some of the issues of ethics that show up when you’ve got the tech to rewrite someone’s brain. There’s a well-thought-out conceptualization of the sort of changes in society that the advent of atomic-level manipulation3 would bring. Hell, there’s even a good discussion of parenting, with special consideration for parenting through a digital remove, something that’s becoming more and more relevant in our increasingly connected world.
In short, Diamond Age is a fascinating read, and that’s what I’d recommend to everyone to read. Of course, Stephenson being who he is, that isn’t the only book of his that I’d recommend: Snow Crash4 is another phenomenal piece of work. I’ve read both Snow Crash and Neuromancer, which are widely considered to be the two pieces of cyberpunk literature, and I personally enjoyed Snow Crash a lot more. Sure, Neuromancer had a space station and I’m always a fan of space stations, but the idioms involved felt a little bit dated to me. Snow Crash, despite being written before Tron was released, still feels modern. And who doesn’t love a good parody of capitalism? Check it out, it’s pretty great.
Once more, I’ll make an attempt to bait reader interaction: got any books that I should really read? Hit up the comments and let me know.
- This isn’t an Amazon Affiliate link, which is the normal practice for people blogging with links to Amazon, but instead an AmazonSmile link. Instead of the referral percentage going to me, it’ll go to a charity of your choice. ↩
- Plus it’s just badass; how many books can you accurately describe with the phrase “post-scarcity neo-Victorianist” with no exaggeration? Answer: not enough. ↩
- By means of what is essentially a really fancy 3D printer ↩
- AmazonSmile link again. You might also notice that I’m directly linking to the Kindle books, because saving paper is good for the environment and stuff. ↩