Miles Coverdale (manos74) wrote,
Miles Coverdale

In honor of a recent post from my flist (which incidentally contained the phrase "intercontinental ballistic uresis," which I so want to use in daily conversation), here is Reason magazine's interview with Neal Stephenson, in which can be found the following apologia for his endings(my entire final chapter of The Diamond Age iz pastede on yay!), viz:

"Mysteries and unresolved questions are a part of real life, and so it’s OK for them to exist in novels. As a matter of fact, I’m inclined to be a bit suspicious of any novel in which everything gets tidily resolved at the end. It doesn’t feel right for me to do this. So I typically leave some things unresolved. It’s not an oversight."

I can't speak to his other novels, since I haven't read any, but in the case of The Diamond Age? Um, I'm having trouble buying it, because there's a fine, fine line between "deliberately unresolved" and "I don't want to do this plot angle any more, so I'm copping out," and the last third or so of the novel, ol' Neal does the Funky Chicken all over that line. "Oh, I never give any explanation for why Miranda even ends up with the Drummers in the first place? Um... I meant to do that! That's right! That would have been too tidy a resolution for me if I'd talked about that! Now where's my Hugo, bitches?"

And in case you were wondering, here's why I don't like Lord Alexander Chung-Sik Finkle-McGraw, and it can be easily summed up by a quotation from Stephenson's description of him, found on page 20 of the paperback edition:

He had some measure of the infuriating trait that causes a young man to be a nonconformist for its own sake and found that the surest way to shock most people, in those days, was to believe that some kinds of behavior were bad and others good, and that it was reasonable to live one's life accordingly.

The "those days" Stephenson mentions, of course, are the times we're living in right now. In other words, "OMG you live your life by a strict moral code! You're so EXTREEEM! Shock! Awe!"

It's one thing to live your life by a strict moral code. It's quite another thing entirely to believe that your strict moral code makes you shockingly unique and/or subversive--particularly in rural Iowa, where F.-M. grew up. I'm sorry, but I just don't see Sioux City as a place where people get shocked that someone lives his life by a strict sense of right and wrong. In fact, I'm going to shock most people, probably, and assert that F.-M.'s way of behavior is shared by the majority of people in the United States. I know it's not trendy to say this, what with lots of social pundits listing the multitude of ways in which Americans and their culture are going to hell in a handbasket, but that's my own experience.

Anyway, this is rambling into territory I don't want to go into not while I'm sober, anyway, but I just wanted to say... yeah, this guy deserved a good cock-punch.
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