I’m reading Neal Stephenson’s latest book, Anathem. I like Stephenson: Snowcrash and Diamon Age are classics and Cryptonomicon is one of my favourite novels ever. Things started to get a bit complicated with the Baroque Cicle, and Anathem is even more… uh… intense.
Stephenson’s novels have a strange effect on the way I think. It’s not strictly related to the stories (actually in the first 140 pages of Anathem are more about setting the stage then telling a story), but they way arguments are treated is triggering all sorts of lateral thinking, in particular related to software architecture design. Don’t ask me why… it just happens. If you are developing software, you should give it a try.
Also the name of our company is related to a Stephenson’s book: I read a few times the term “vectors” (I think it was in Cryptonomicon) and back then every company had a “e-” in their name, hence: evectors.
Anathem is set in a different world, with a different history, different traditions and its own dictionary. Everything is different, yet everything sounds very familiar.
One of my favourite terms from “the dictionary, 4th edition, A.R. 3000“, is:
Bulshytt: (1) In Fluccish of the late Praxic Age and early
Reconstitution, a derogatory term for false speech in general, esp.
knowing and deliberate falsehood or obfuscation. (2) In Orth, a more
technical and clinical term denoting speech (typically but not
necessarily commercial or political) that employs euphemism, convenient
vagueness, numbing repetition, and other such rhetorical subterfuges
to create the impression that something has been said. (3) According to
the Knights of Saunt Halikaarn, a radical order of the 2nd Millennium
A.R., all speech and writings of the ancient Sphenics; the Mystagogues
of the Old Mathic Age; Praxic Age commercial and political
institutions; and, since the Reconstitution, anyone they deemed to have
been infected by Procian thinking. Their frequent and loud use of this
word to interrupt lectures, dialogs, private conversations, etc.,
exacerbated the divide between Procian and Halikaarnian orders that
characterized the mathic world in the years leading up to the Third
Sack. Shortly before the Third Sack, all of the Knights of Saunt
Halikaarn were Thrown Back, so little more is known about them (their
frequent appearance in Sæcular entertainments results from confusion
between them and the Incanters).