A meditation from Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card|
In the college she had briefly attended, [...] she had quickly realized that intellectuals seemed to think that their life --the life of the mind, the endless self-examination, the continuous autobiography afflicted upon all comers-- was somehow higher than the repetitive, meaningless lives of the common people.
Virlomi knew the opposite to be true. The intellectuals in the university were all the same. They had precisely the same deep thoughts about exactly the same shallow emotions and trivial dilemmas. They knew this, unconsciously, themselves. When a real event happened, something that shook them to the heart, they withdrew from the game of university life, for reality had to be played out on a different stage.
In the villages, life was about life, not about one-upmanship and display. Smart people were valued because they could solve problems, not because they could speak pleasingly about them.
(p 298-299, hardback edition.)
GOOD BOOK! Have you finished it yet?
Yes I have. In many ways I found it to be the weakest of the Shadow books, particularly in how it keeps refering to aspects of the characters' natures and history in the narative in a repetitive and simplistically explicative fashion. I also found myself wincing at some of the technical computer details, like suggesting that the only thing a sysop would have done to monitor the online activities of a known powerful psychopath is attempt to capture keyboard input (without noticing for weeks that the info he was getting was garbage). Ignoring the potential for having applications keep logs and capturing information out of the mail queue or simply watching outgoing packet routing/traffic loads from individual machines at tracked times was a pretty large lack in my opinion.
I also felt a little bit longer denoument would have been nice. The book ends pretty suddenly. I don't find myself interested in a whole 'nother sequel, but I want to know what happens immediately next in a few people's lives. (so I will probably read another sequel if he puts one out, hoping it resolves that issue... but I''m not sure he would write it)
|Date:||January 2nd, 2003 07:33 am (UTC)|| |
He seems to have some problems in his views on academia, as well.
I hadn't really noticed the technical details. Partially, I'm an avid Card fan, and I was chomping at the bit for that one to come out; I'm likely to forgive a world of faults. However, I've also begun to lose faith in the technical support field. I work(ed) in the field and have noticed a dumbind down of Sysadmins as MCSE's become a dime a dozen and a $2000, two-week course is all that seems to be required to take someone from Computer Illiterate to Professional SysAdmin (I had to teach my last boss how to write Batch Scripts... she had been MCSE and in the field for 3 years). *shrug*
I agree with the pacing, too, though. There were other sections of the book where it just didn't seem to gel. And I did want more info about the immediate anticlimax as well. However, I have to admit, both here and at the climax of "Lost Boys," Card had me practically jumping out of my seat screaming. He's the only writer yet to do that to me.
However, I've also begun to lose faith in the technical support field. I work(ed) in the field and have noticed a dumbind down of Sysadmins as MCSE's become a dime a dozen and a $2000, two-week course is all that seems to be required to take someone from Computer Illiterate to Professional SysAdmin
But you're talking about the sysadmin hired by Peter Wiggin, the Hegemon. Supposedly one of the smartest, most well-connected people in the world in the context of the book. He shouldn't be hiring stupid only superficially qualified people.
However, I mean system administration as a field, not as individuals. You have networks out there DESIGNED to be run by less talented people. Any UNIX admin with a years experience from, say, 10 years ago would look at one of today's better NT administrators and laugh at how little they know their own machines. Take that 20 or 50 years into the future (I forget how "futuristic" Ender's Game is supposed to be), especially with today's advancing pace of technology (the rapidly approaching limitation ceiling not-withstanding). Not that I think CARD thought of this, but it occurred to me.
Besides, Peter thought he could handle Achilles as well. While VERY brilliant, Peter DOES make mistakes. AND we're talking about a beauracracy here. Peter can't handle EVERY aspect. His security man could have been picked by his current IT head who owed a favor to the VP of Internation Affairs, whose cousin was a decent hand with Network Security. *shrugs* Who knows?
However, I mean system administration as a field, not as individuals.
but the individuals who know what they're doing are still out there, and will still be out there. Five of my best friends, including my husband, would be better at computer security than this guy. The circle of my best friends is not a very large sample size in which to observe that computer security people vastly better than the person described are easy to find.
I think Card attempts to depict the computer security person as someone who made a wacky mistake, rather than as someone who was incompetent. It just doesn't ring true to me at all. In Ender's game, they didn't catch onto how Ender was hacking the computer system at first, but then they weren't really watching him. Here, Card repeatedly talks about how they put in systems to monitor everything Achilles does on the computers, but then when he actually describes what was in place, and the failure of it, the system doesn't stand up to his description -to the expectations of a medium computer geek.
"The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question, 'How can we eat?' The second by the question, 'Why do we eat?' And the third by the question, 'Where shall we do lunch?'" --Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
Speaking up for people who can speak pleasingly about problems....
Fuck you too, Mr. C; we like you, but are sad you feel this way about us...
oh, but the comment is made from the point of view of an intellectual.. really very sympathetic, in a way...
Sorry... that was uncalled for.