Notes from Hyperion by Dan Simmons.
This is the first Dan Simmons book I’ve read and I am officially obsessed. I loved this book. From the Martin Silenus chapter:
And so it goes. Francis Bacon once said, ‘there arises from a bad unapt formation of words a wonderful obstruction to the mind.’ We have all contributed our wonderful obstructions of the mind, have we not? I more than most. One of the twentieth century’s better, forgotten writers—that is better-comma-forgotten, once bon moted: ‘I love being a writer. It’s the paperwork. I can’t stand.’ Get it?”
The Sol Weintraub chapter, obviously, was the most upsetting to me. That was a real tear-jerker, but I loved how the entire book was really a love letter to writing–from it’s structure to the basis for the World Web, to the interlocking stories. And the ending just felt so, so appropriate and hilarious. No wonder it’s considered a classic of science fiction.
Words bend our thinking to infinite paths of self delusion, and the fact that we spend most of our mental lives in brain mansions built of words means that we lack the objectivity necessary to see the terrible distortion of reality which language brings. Example: the Chinese pictogram for ‘honest’ is a two-art symbol of a man literally standing next to his word…A philosopher/mathematician named Bertrand Russell who lived and died in the same century as Gass once wrote: ‘Language serves not only to express thought but to make possible thoughts which could not exist without it.’ Here is the essence of mankind’s creative genius: not the edifices of civilization nor the bang-flash weapons which can end it, but the words which fertilize new concepts like spermatozoa attacking an ovum.”
The Brawne Lamia chapter was my favorite, and I can tell this year is going to be filled with Dan Simmons books.