Aidan Harte is a writer and sculptor. He lives in Dublin.

Archive for September, 2013

Aspects Literary Festival, 28 Sept

September 3rd, 2013  |  Published in David Gemmell Morningstar shortlist, Interview, Irenicon, Review, The Warring States, The Wave Trilogy
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Like Miley Cyrus, Cyberpunk peaked early. In 1984 Neuromancer exploded like a global EMP and SF was never the same again. Thirty years later it seems remarkable that William Gibson’s masterpiece has never been filmed, but on second thoughts it’s not at all remarkable.  Neuromancer has been filmed a thousand times; besides the overtly derivative (Ghost in the Shell, The Matrix et al) – Neuromancer’s themes suffice the culture. Every year it seems more prescient, more urgent. Neuromancer established all the Cyberpunk tropes: data as drugs, hackers as junkies, cyber-existentialism, digital-ennui, and of course the punk political exploration of the dynamic of Corporations and State, and the belief that the eclipse of the later by the former is inevitable. These tics were endlessly copied till the code was threadbare. Most of Gibson’s disciples were too busy drooling at the sexy robots to pay serious attention to his prose and intellectual verve. They could pastiche his jagged hopped-up pulped-out hipster-speak, but few could match and the philosophical depth of his visions of future humanity. I know of only two writers that have picked up both of Gibsons’s gauntlets – the cool tech and the ideas – to do something new: Neal Stephenson, and  Ian McDonald.

I find myself sharing a stage with McDonald at the end of the month during  the Aspects Literary Festival in Bangor, Co Down.  I’ve just finished his Cyberabad Days. It’s a sequel to River of Gods but that description doesn’t quite do justice to this collection of short stories. The collection ends with Vishnu at the Cat Circus, a yarn that marries the modern terror of the Singularity with the ancient terrors of Hindu eschatology, an apocalyptic story that manages to amuse and enlighten. Yes, I said “short story”. McD has an ability to shift voice like one of the digital djinn that haunt his globetrotting novels (Chaga, Brasyl, The Dervish House) of a world on the brink. Hope you can make it up. Eoin Colfer will be there too.

I spoke to Jasper de Joode of The Book Plank recently about The Warring States, and about getting shortlisted for the Gemmell Award. If you have even a nano-moment to spare, please cast your vote for Irenicon here.



Slán, Seamus

September 2nd, 2013  |  Published in Uncategorized
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Seamus Heaney_Aidan Harte