Monday, January 20, 2014

The Strossian Conceit

Over the past few months you've read a number of novels by British SF writer Charles Stross. You've enjoyed them all - Singularity Sky, Iron Sunrise and Glasshouse in particular.

You also enjoyed Halting State and Rule 34, two novels of bizarre crime in a near-future, quasi-independent Scotland. But you would have enjoyed them far more had Stross not chosen to write in the second person - and in books with a dozen viewpoint characters each, no less. You applaud Stross for experimenting, but frankly you found the conceit a little distracting; instead of drawing you into the story, you felt as if you had to swim against a very strong current to immerse myself in the story's churning waters.

You wonder what the world would be like if every bit of prose were written this way, telling you not only what you're doing, but what you're thinking and feeling at every moment your eyes slide across the presumptuous text. And then, with a sneer of contempt, you click the next hyperlink with a muttered "Good riddance."

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