This is not my first time reading Idoru, but it is the first time I have read it with an eye toward the techno-orientalist characteristics. Of course, I noticed from a past reading the settings in Tokyo and San Francisco, the cultural and ethnic backgrounds of the characters, and the relatively near-future technological advances (Rei Toei being primary, of course). I had not thought, however, about some of the implications of these qualities of Gibson’s novel. Continue reading
While I agree that robots are often used to symbolize the “other,” I think we as humans require that “other” to define ourselves as human. We cannot see ourselves unless we can define what we are not (Foucault, Derrida, etc.), but in doing this we often rely on other cultures, languages, or skin colors as the other.
One thing that intrigued me was the disparate social setups portrayed in Stephenson’s novel. Very quickly, the “traditional” Chinese culture still operated a rudimentary government: developing law, maintaining a civil court system (of a sort) as well as executive functions in the form of police. In a Western trope of the East reaching back to Marco Polo, the executive head remains cloaked in secrecy and indirect. Continue reading
In thinking about the virtual- and science- based fiction narrative, and its intersection with racial and postcolonial criticism, I questioned whether authors employ intentionality in making decisions regarding setting, theme, characters, and etc. While Nakamura’s article implies intentionality at least to a degree, especially for Gibson’s settings (64), and Stephenson’s cultural institutions (70), it seems that the rest of the story characteristics flow from the creative intuition. Continue reading
I am mostly impressed with Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story. Its reflection on and send-up of our current media-obsessed, gadget-driven culture seems a clear indictment of where we are headed if we continue in this direction, but I feel the author let a few things slip through the cracks. For instance, although Shteyngart addresses the issues of government contracting in its current form, it is highly improbable that a foreign corporation (Staatling-Wapachung Corporation) would ever win the sort of contract with the military he implies. The best example I can think of is the Air Force tanker plane contract, which eventually went to Boeing over McDonald-Douglas because of the latter’s use of an Airbus airframe. Continue reading