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Cyberpunk Hemingway

October 7, 2010

I recently read Accelerando by Charles Stross, who seems to be bit of a singularity freak. It was a fairly good read, but it suffered from the same thing most novels do; repetition of phrases the author really, really likes. Just like William Gibson is in love with the word “archaic”, Stross seems positively obsessed with the term “future shocked”. One gets the feeling he had entered a bet on whether or not he could use the phrase every other page for the length of the novel.

In general, the language is of course of the dense prose variety. It seems all the hip SF authors use dense prose nowadays, especially cyberpunk authors. Now, I don’t know if this novel is true cyberpunk or if it should be but into a more narrow, more obscure genre – is “post-singularity” a genre of its own yet? It probably is.

Why dense prose then? I have really no idea. I always get the feeling when reading densely prosed fiction such as cyberpunk that the author is trying really hard to sound initiated and future-savvy. The result is much like when a grown-up is desperately trying to use current slang to score points with “the kids”.

I would much rather see cyberpunk written in the style of Hemingway.

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