Durango Drive, Las Vegas, 2022

Even if the rewards have diminished.

It was cloudy in Las Vegas today. Unlike the blank winter grays of the Midwest and East Coast, these clouds are well-defined, painterly, and startlingly low. Here and there, sunlight escapes and soaks the mountaintops. Each time I step outside, I feel like I’m on a new planet, and I wonder if I will ever tire of the desert.

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel. This is the monumental first sentence of William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and it came to mind while I languished at the post office for an hour, waiting to pick up a key to my mailbox. Last night I crossed the halfway point of another Gibson novel, The Peripheral, and I’m not sure whether to proceed. Abandoning a book feels like a failing on my part, but doggedly finishing every book I begin, even if the rewards have diminished, might point to a deeper failing. That said, I’ve enjoyed big-game future-casting in The Peripheral, and Gibson writes like he knows something I don’t, but now the plot has eclipsed character and concept, and with 250 pages remaining, maybe I don’t need to know who did it.

A nearer vision of the future, via Ryan Oakley: “And, perhaps previewing of the shape of future wars, automated plagiarism detectors have been deployed against automated essay generators.” I’ve added his novel, Technicolor Ultra Mall, to my queue. And I might go for a long walk into the desert after reading this post from Craig Mod: “Basement solitude — isolated without serendipity, static, stagnant, stuck with your face in a screen, manipulated by the algorithms — is the death of the soul.”

But it’s the time of year to celebrate the sleazy synthesizer that appears around the 3:30 mark in Autechre’s “Cloudline”.

Autechre – cloudline

Exai | Warp, 2013 | Bandcamp
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