Shenzen spins around me, wowing sporadically.
December 23, 2013 8:37 PM   Subscribe

In the Kingdom of Mao Bell Neal Stephenson for WIRED, Feb 1994. via
posted by the man of twists and turns (10 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
The early journalist hacker articles by Stephenson were amazing.

Mother Earth, Mother Board, was, at the time, one of the best nonfiction essays I had ever read. It is still good, though I think some of the themes are a little 1990s.

Also good, In the Beginning Was the Command Line, a history of operating systems.

You can see how his best fiction (Diamond Age, Cryptonomicon, Anathem(!)) all built off of this style.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:46 PM on December 23, 2013 [6 favorites]

Stephenson also wrote a short story for issue 2.10, Spew.

The guy predicted social media memes 20 years ago. Amazing stuff.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:23 PM on December 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

Fuck yes. The Hee Haw story. I still remember that two decades later.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:30 PM on December 23, 2013

I spent 2 years in Shenzhen 2010-12 and it's still recognizable from the article. The more things change...

I don't imagine we'll see anything as dramatic as the Taiping Rebellion or the Cultural Revolution again; I suppose it will be something like what's happening in the States right now: an abandonment of the value system that has traditionally made the society work. This probably won't improve matters in China, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a violent backlash.

This struck me as something that still holds water.
posted by arcticseal at 10:25 PM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I am officially past it to see these cutting edge articles from NS presented as nostalgia!
posted by bystander at 3:39 AM on December 24, 2013

Thanks for this! I can't believe I've never heard of it! I've had the Mother Earth, Mother Board and the Spew issues on my shelf since the day they came out.
posted by sourwookie at 6:22 AM on December 24, 2013

I kept the Wired issue with Stephenson's FLAG (Fiber Optic Link Around the Globe) article for many years. At the time I was a coder but hadn't given serious thought to the physical global network. I started paying a different kind of attention to the politics of data networks and information freedom because of Stephenson.
posted by workerant at 6:29 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Life imitates Snow Crash.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:46 AM on December 24, 2013

One of my favorite things about Neal Stephenson's career is that he can more or less reuse material from his early books at will, since they're in a different genre now. REAMDE has much the same plot as Snow Crash, but by dint of being written two decades later, it's a contemporary action thriller instead of a science fiction novel.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:23 AM on December 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

this is quite the article, thanks for posting
posted by rebent at 8:02 AM on December 26, 2013

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