Muli Ben-Yehuda's journal

October 6, 2003

I’m in book heaven

Filed under: Uncategorized — Muli Ben-Yehuda @ 1:17 PM

On Thursday, after the first Mathematical Logic class in Tel Aviv, I stopped by the Azrieli center (aka purgatory, home of the clueless), to grab a quick dinner before heading home on the train. Since I never eat dinner alone without something to read, I stopped by the local Steimazky (book shop) and picked up a copy of Dan Simmons’ Hyperion. By the time I finished dinner, I was hooked. Late yesterday night, I finished it, only to discover that there are three(!) more books in the series, and if I want resolution, I’ll have to read them too. Damnit, it’s a good story.

Yesterday, Orna brought home my long awaited birthday package from the post office – Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver). I’ve only just started reading it, and it’s every bit as good as I expected. Hooray for good books!


  1. Just FYI, you *is* contagious…
    …seeing the reference to Quicksilver on your LJ, I informed my sweetie that it (And Cryptonomicon, which is the only piece of writing by Stephenson I do not own) are officially on my Christmas list.
    Last week he played with Amazon (it’s usually my job, in the family hierarchy) and I’ve already seen mysterious packages with cryptic (I can’t help myself) messages on-top.
    The only thing I regret is that I found out AFTER THE FACT that Stephenson spoke at a Seattle university bookstore on a night I was actually in town, and I missed it. Glark!
    What with one thing and another, this has been a moss Stephensonian week: my kid (the 12-year old, the one who installed “Linux from scratch”) read In the Beginning Was the Command Line and recommended it to me, and then I read it and then his (step-)dad did. This marks the first time the kid sweeps the family in a wortwhile reading craze 🙂
    And, gosh darn, that man surely can WRITE.
    And now a BeOS is merrily running on another partition of the family computer. I think it’s on another partition, that is. I gave permission, not technical advice…

    Comment by shunra — October 6, 2003 @ 7:43 AM | Reply

    • Re: Just FYI, you *is* contagious…
      I’m not really sure what to say… my pleasure 🙂
      I thought Neal Stephenson was good when I read Snow Crash, Zodiac and the Diamond Age. I even liked The Big U. But cryptonomicon just blew me away, being one of the best books I’ve ever read. I go back and reread it every so often, never tiring of it.
      What did you think of “In The Beginning…”?
      I think I’ll go read another chapter of Quicksilver before getting down to doing real work 🙂

      Comment by mulix — October 6, 2003 @ 8:56 AM | Reply

      • I’ll play a little grammar game, here
        I’ll take the you to be plural, and give you three answers.
        Shachaf-the-kid found it fascinating. He took it as a pointer to lots of interesting OSes. He’s been asking questions about historical ones (my late, lamented Vic 20, the Apple II, which he pronounced apple-eye-eye, early DOS, which he’s been reading all about in giant tomes which stay around our home because, well, I translated them…) and modern ones (checking out many different flavors of Linux) and positing future ones (what would it take to run *any* hardware? How about an OS for a watch? for a coffeemaker? Oh, did I know there *is* one for a coffeemaker? There’s a Linux machine somewhere which supports a coffeemaker…). Shachaf took the article to be a textbook on operating systems, with pointers and references.
        Daniel () found it fascinating. He took it as a social/cultural commentary about baby boomers and their lifestyle. He found the OS material a bit beyond him, but not essential for participating in the commentary aspects of the article. It inspired contemplation about our culture – and about Europe vs. the US, and elegance vs. practicality, function vs. form. He took it to be a textbook on cultures, past, present, and future, with references and clues to decipher.
        And I, I found it fascinating, too. I took it as a historical commentary. I read it as stories, stories of people bringing forth a new world out of their very foreheads. My peers – or close to peers. I found the brave and the bountiful, the crazed and the crazy, method in madness and reminders of how things were, when hardware minimalism directed software choices. I read it as a history text, the history of My PeopleTM, the wizards and gurus, whose subsequent crash and misery I follow with my mind’s eye.
        Which basically means that Stephenson’s genius is borne out once again: three readers, three totally different stories and reactions, but all three loved it.
        What did you read into it?

        Comment by shunra — October 6, 2003 @ 9:16 AM

      • Re: I’ll play a little grammar game, here
        I no longer recall what read into it when I read it, just that it was fascinating and aligned with my concepts of what a user interface should be like precisely. I’ll have to read it again and thengive you a more intelligent answer 🙂

        Comment by mulix — October 7, 2003 @ 3:59 AM

  2. Be ready for disapointments
    I’m sorry to tell you but the rest of the hyperion books don’t come even close to the first one. I thought that the first one was the most amazing thing since sliced bread, only to buy the rest and be disapointed.
    Sorry to be a party pooper.

    Comment by Anonymous — October 10, 2003 @ 9:04 AM | Reply

    • Re: Be ready for disapointments
      That’s OK, after the DUNE series “monotonic descent”, nothing can really surprise me. Still, I’ll go ahead and read them. Thanks for the warning, mystery person!

      Comment by mulix — October 10, 2003 @ 1:50 PM | Reply

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