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25 October 2012 @ 09:22 pm
Recent Reads: EMERGENCE  

Having unpacked the books we couldn’t do without, I picked up one of my all-time favorites, David Palmer’s EMERGENCE, to re-read it. As I’ve no doubt said before, re-reading old favorites is fraught with tension, because what if they don’t hold up?

EMERGENCE holds up. It holds up in spades. There are some moments of unintentional amusement and cognitive dissonance, particularly regarding microfiche libraries and Russians as The Bad Guys(TM), but even if you put the book in an absolutely modern context there’s an argument for the microfiche, so it was just mildly amusing.

Other than that, though, that is still a great story. While reading it I kept having little jolts of remembering What Happened Later–not so much Next as Later–but it was nearly like reading it again for the first time despite that. I had every bit as much emotional investment–possibly more, because I’m a big old softie these days–as I ever did reading it previously, which is pretty wonderful.

Also, Betsy Mitchell was one of the editors on it, which made me laugh out loud when I read the acknowledgements. I suspect that book must have been one of the very first places I encountered Betsy’s name, thus setting me up for a lifetime of wanting to work with her. :)

(x-posted from the essential kit)

UrsulaVursulav on October 25th, 2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed hell outa Emergence, despite all the various problems. I know people who HATED it with an undying passion (including one friend who made the very valid point that genius Does Not Work Like That) but it's still a hella fun read, even with all the weird.
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on October 26th, 2012 12:50 pm (UTC)
I agree. One hell of a ride.

In light of Charlie's comments above, though, I think I need to haul it out and reread with a more political hat on. I suspect I'll be a bit more sensitive to the Objectivist porn that earlier would have slid past me.