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If Hemingway (and Shakespeare, and co) were coders

Fat XXX's "If Hemingway wrote JavaScript" is a great piece of imaginative writing, speculating about the coding styles that various literary titans (Shakespeare, Hemingway, Dickens, Breton and more) would have employed:

function theSeriesOfFIBONACCI(theSize) {

  //a CALCKULATION in two acts.
  //employ'ng the humourous logick of JAVA-SCRIPTE

  //Dramatis Personae   var theResult; //an ARRAY to contain THE NUMBERS
  var theCounter; //a NUMBER, serv'nt to the FOR LOOP

  //ACT I: in which a ZERO is added for INITIATION

  //[ENTER: theResult]

  //Upon the noble list bestow a zero   var theResult = [0];

  //ACT II: a LOOP in which the final TWO NUMBERS are QUEREED and SUMM'D

  //[ENTER: theCounter]

  //Commence at one and venture o'er the numbers
  for (theCounter = 1; theCounter < theSize; theCounter++) {
    //By divination set adjoining members
    theResult[theCounter] = (theResult[theCounter-1]||1) + theResult[Math.max(0, theCounter-2)];   }

  //'Tis done, and here's the answer.
  return theResult;

  //[Exuent] }

If Hemingway wrote JavaScript (via Wired)

Classic SF of the 1950s: beautiful books introduced by Gibson, Gaiman, Reed, Willis, Straub and others

The Library of America is publishing a two volume treasure of science fiction next September 27, in which great contemporary science fiction writers introduce classics of the field from the 1950s. The handsome, slipcased edition includes:

Volume 1: 1953–1956
* Frederik Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth, The Space Merchants
* Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human
* Leigh Brackett, The Long Tomorrow
* Richard Matheson, The Shrinking Man

Volume 2: 1956–1958
* Robert Heinlein, Double Star
* Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination
* James Blish, A Case of Conscience
* Algis Budrys, Who?
* Fritz Leiber, The Big Time

The LOA site for the books has the essays and other supplementary material, including work by William Gibson (writing about "The Stars My Destination"), Neil Gaiman (on "The Big Time"), Kit Reed (on "More Than Human") and Connie Willis (on "Double Star") as well as pieces by Tim Powers, James Morrow, and Peter Straub.

American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950's

Bacigalupi: cyberpunk saved sf

Paolo Bacigalupi (whose books have been reviewed here in the past) writes in Wired about the way that cyberpunk saved science fiction:

For me as a kid, reading cyberpunk was like seeing the world for the first time. Gibson’s Neuromancer wasn’t just stylistically stunning; it felt like the template for a future that we were actively building. I remember reading Sterling’s Islands in the Net and suddenly understanding the disruptive potential of technology once it got out into the street.

Cyberpunk felt urgent. It wasn’t the future 15 minutes out—it was the future sideswiping you and leaving you in a full-body cast as it passed by.

And what's coming next:

I work in a literary genre that thrives at uncertainty points, when questions about our future are unanswered. Even though post-9/11 America is as corporate-dominated as any cyberpunk could have anticipated, it’s also national-security-obsessed. We seem to be building toward a sort of public-private partnership of free-market totalitarianism that never felt like it was on the road map.

How Cyberpunk Saved Sci-Fi

Tempo: transformative, difficult look at advanced decision-making theory


As I’ve noted here before, Venkatesh Rao is a thought-provoking, profound thinker, and I always welcome his long, fascinating blog posts.

Read the rest