Thursday 18 November 2010

Quoth the Scotsman: Charles Yu on Memes

A couple of caveats to bear in mind before we start. Unless otherwise indicated, none of the quotes quoted in the following article are representative of the beliefs of the person in question quoted nor those the person quoting the person in question. Additionally, any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental... or so I'm saying.

In short, Quoth the Scotsman is just a space here on TSS for me to post neat quotes as and when I come across them. Simple. As. That.

How to Live Safely in a Science Fiction Universe came out to much ado a few months ago, and not for nothing. I've finally gotten to it - take that, timeliness! - and however much of Yu's novel I fear has gone cleanly over my head, it's been a delight. Funny, sad and smart; smart as a new school uniform (and just as totty, at that).

The following quote resonated with me because it's both telling of Yu's frenetic prose style and because I think it speaks to a couple of things that have come up of late as regards the blogosphere; come to that, I'm of the mind that you can read this brief excerpt as an indictment of the internet entire.

Over to you, Yu:

From How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
Published in October by Corvus

"My thoughts, normally bunched together, wrapped in guaze, insistent, urgent, patient, one moment to the next, living in what I now realize is, in essence, a constate state of emergency (as if my evolutionary instincts of fight or flight have gone haywire, leading me to spend each morning, noon, and evening in a low-grade but absolutely never-ceasing muted form of panic), those rushed and ragged thoughts are now falling away, one by one, revealing themselves for what they are: the same thought over and over again. And once revealed for what they are, these hollow thoughts, these impostors, non-thoughts masquerading as thoughts, memes, viruses, signals fired off, white noise generated by my brain, they are gone.

"And it is quiet. Quiet in a way I have never experienced before. As if quiet were a substance, and it were thick, as if that substance were now in my head, filling it like a viscous fluid..." (p.122)

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