I don’t read io9 unless I’m tricked into it with one of those Gawker/Deadspin trick cross-posts they do every now and then. I don’t read it because back in 2010, their former space writer, Alasdair Wilkins, for over a year, repeatedly posted bullshit space posts. Not that space is bullshit but rather that everything he wrote was either wrong or so beyond wrong that it was not even wrong. It all came to a head when Wilkins posted about a renewed search for Planet X, a hypothetical gas giant that exists in the Oort Cloud. It was all based on a single, old paper where, at the end, the authors sheepishly admitted that the statistical signal they’d discovered could essentially have just been noise in the data. The paper had been thoroughly discredited when it was published, but, occasionally, like an unrelenting zit, it would resurface to spurt condense sploogey face oil the rest of us–us who were trying to focus on real planets and moons at the time (which, for grad school Fuller was Venus, Titan, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto). That’s when I stopped reading io9.
But like I said, sometimes I get tricked into visiting io9 by these Gawker/Deadspin cross-promotional posts meant to drive traffic to all the other sites in the Gawker empire. And that’s how I happened upon this incredibly buzzfeed-like list entitled “10 Books You Pretend to Have Read (And Why You Should Really Read Them).” I’m a sucker for lists like this, and so I went. And I actually wasn’t disappointed by it.
- Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
- Foundation by Isaac Asimov
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
- 1984 by George Orwell
- First and Last Men and Starmaker by Olaf Stapledon
- The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
- Dhalgren by Samuel Delany
- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
I’ve read four of these books: Cryptonomicon, Gravity’s Rainbow, 1984, Infinite Jest. I’ve mentioned Cryptonomicon before, and you know about GR and IJ. I probably should read Foundation at some point. I’ve read Martian Chronicles, I Robot, and another one I don’t remember. I think I might be interested in The Long Tomorrow, because post-apocolyptic fiction is so hot right now. Dahlgren was compared to Gravity’s Rainbow in the io9 post, which made me ಠ_ಠ. Especially considering the things the author of the io9 post said about GR:
So why should you read Gravity’s Rainbow where some of the coolest genre writers have failed? Several people said they’ve found the parts they were able to get through immensely enriching.
That’s pretty much it. People, this is why I’m constantly laughing at io9. io9 shows itself to be the /r/FellowKids of the internet when they say stuff like this.
Anyway, it’s an interesting list even if the things io9 has to say about the books isn’t interesting. And I’m actually surprised Philip K Dick’s VALIS isn’t on this list. Especially instead of 1984 since, hello, everybody reads that in high school.