There are parts of books I will always remember. Usually, those parts of books don't have much to do with the plot or the characters. They're just kind of sticky ideas that grab a hold of some part of my brain and won't let go. I think I've encountered one of those ideas in DaOiTMK: The anti-gravity spheres in which drunken naked people just float around, bump into each other, and jam on musical instruments. I believe that that is what I will think of first every time I think of this book.
Anyway, last night at Christopher Frizzelle's Silent Reading Party at the Sorrento I read chapters five and six of DaOiTMK, and I'm now really pleased with the direction of the story. I like that Jules is apologetic about his enormous fuckups from previous chapters, I like that he has a serious problem that makes him sympathetic (his brain crashing) and that he feels responsible for the future of the Haunted Mansion. I like that his ideas mirror a lot of concepts about the internet and personalization in the future vs. dry-but-flashy information technology that feels really impersonal. It's like a WikiDisney World, which is an interesting idea. And I loved the Neal Stephenson shoutout. Every book should have a cameo appearance by Snow Crash's Hiro Protagonist.
Yesterday in the comments, Greg had a good point about something I'd like to see more of in this book:
The thing I was left wondering about was, how do concepts like justice and revenge translate in a moneyless, deathless society? Presumably there is an ad-hoc court somewhere to hand out punishments, of a sort, and killing somebody will crater your Whuffie, but what exactly would Jules do if he caught the person who killed him?
Greg, I kind of figured that Jules would just expose his assassin and the Whuffie loss would do all the rest for him. If all you've got is reputation, it seems that loss of reputation would be punishment enough.
In any case, there are a couple of things I'm not so pleased about now: Dan and Lil have just turned into stock characters who have done something to hurt Our Narrator. Even though there was foreshadowing, I was hoping things wouldn't go in this direction. I do appreciate how Jules isn't just being a whiny baby about it, and I'd like to see more exploration of how Whuffie is affected by infidelity.
But on the whole, things are going really well. I can't wait to see what happens; I had to force myself to stop reading, er, my phone last night because I wanted to see what happened next. Tomorrow at 2 pm (for real this time; sorry I'm so late with this today) I'll go into Chapters 7 and 8.