Saturday, February 02, 2013

Three Fantastic Sentences

My friend bought me Reamde for Christmas, a massive 1,044 page techno-thriller written by Neal Stephenson. It is brilliant. I am only 169 pages in and loving it. I had to stop and write this post, because on pages 168 and 169—an open book without turning pages—were three brilliant sentences. The first two are brilliant without explanation. The third is brilliant because I have lived in the the Pacific Northwest and smiled knowingly as this fabulous description of a precise problem one has with slow, constant drizzle and adjustable wiper speeds.
Oddities due to the choices made by players were attributed to “strange lights in the sky,” “eldritch influences beyond the ken of even the most erudite local observers,” “unlooked-for syzygy,” “what was most likely the intervention of a capricious local demigod,” “bolt from the blue” or, in one case, “an unexpected reversal of fortune that even the most wizened local gaffers agreed was without precedent and that, indeed, if seen in a work of literature, would have been derided as a heavy-handed example of deus ex machina.”
The “Meat” were there because of REAMDE, which had been present at background levels for several weeks now but that recently had pinballed through the elbow in its exponential growth curve and for about twelve hours had looked as though it might completely take over all computing power in the Universe, until its own size and rapid growth had caused it to run afoul of the sorts of real-world friction that always befell seemingly exponential phenomena and bent those hockey-stick graphs over into lazy S plots.
“Just wanted to bend your ear a little,” C-plus explained, fussing with the intermittent wiper knob, trying to dial in that elusive setting, always so difficult to find in Seattle, that would keep the windshield visually transparent but not drag shuddering blades across dry glass.
Thank you, Matt. I am truly enjoying this book on every level.

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