Review: True Names by Cory Doctorow and Ben Rosenbaum
I’ve not done my quota of lists on this blog, so here are my reasons why True Names is AWESOME.
- It’s short. It can be read in a sitting or listened to over the course of a couple commutes.
- It’s not TOO short. It’s a novella, if you’re frustrated with me being vague.
- It’s written like Bach’s inventions. Simple components combined and recombined into beautiful complexity—simple is relative, of course.
- Quantum Computers Rock!
- Modeling Universes is FUN
- Sock puppets are almost as cool as muppets. Actually the sock puppet might be cooler if it was a goddess
- Galactic battles SO enormous they can only be described via metaphor.
- Go is the best game ever, and the game played in this story is one of the most seamlessly integrated I’ve ever encountered in a science fiction story.
- It introduced me to Ben Rosenbaum … actually the name sounded familiar. I’ve heard 3 of his stories on Escapepod. If you like True Names you’ll dig “The House Beyond Your Sky,” (or vice versus) and the other two stories, while VERY different, are quite spectacular. I’m totally grabbing a copy of The Ant King and Other Stories when it’s released.
- It got me excited enough to write this list, and I haven’t even finished listening it. I’ll update this after I finish listening to it on my drive to work.
- update: I finished this on the way to work. So, imagine reality is the reality of The Matrix and then imagine there are other realities competing for computation. That’s the simple idea I mentioned in point 3, and Cory and Ben layer it upon itself beautifully. It’s wild having events happen at the scale of galaxies, yet still be a very personal tale. I could see that the abstract convolutions could turn a few people away, but if you can follow a Tarantino flick, then you’ll be able to follow as the secrets of the universe reveal their secrets and their secrets’ secrets.
If this sounds like something that might interest you, then you can listen to it for free here. It’s read with little (or possibly no) editing, which was vaguely refreshing after the increasingly polished podcasts I’ve been listening to (be careful, episode 7 was VERY loud). If you feel you might be put off by the lack of production values or would just rather curl up with a book, you can wait and pickup a copy of Fast Forward 2