Tuesday, March 20, 2012

So Much Information: fictional visions

In yesterday's post, I wrote about a number of non-fiction books which have recently tackled the topic of information and the information age. Certainly, valuable reading for our times. The idea of information as something tangible and something valuable is very much a part of our 21st century culture. As with anything that plays a big part in our society, it doesn't take long for it to seep into pop culture. As such, it's not just nonfiction authors who have jumped writing about information and how it factors in our lives: it has also seeped into our fiction.

Can't get enough information? Try one of these novels with information as a central theme.

The Difference Engine (M)
by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling:

Two science fiction heavyweights teamed up to write this novel. The
amazon.com review sums it up "Part detective story, part historical thriller, The Difference Engine takes us not forward but back, to an imagined 1885: the Industrial Revolution is in full and inexorable swing, powered by steam-driven, cybernetic engines. Charles Babbage perfects his Analytical Engine, and the computer age arrives a century ahead of its time. With the resurgence in popularity of steampunk, expect to hear more about this compelling novel.

The Footprints of God
by Greg Iles.

A fast paced thriller that revolves around the creation of a supercomputer whose power threatens to overtake the world. Artificial intelligence and assassinations in page turning adventure.

The Informationist : a thriller
by Taylor Stevens.

More thrills! We've mentioned this book on the blog previously, part of a new thriller series, in which the main character makes her living by dealing in information. In this first instalment, protagonist Vanessa Munroe returns to Africa for the first time since her youth, in order to find another young woman—the daughter of a Texas billionaire who disappeared there a few years earlier.

Overclocked: stories of the future present (M)
by Cory Doctorow.

Not surprising to see Doctorow's name among authors here, the journalist and science fiction author frequently tackles issues of information in both his fiction and non-fiction writing. From the book's back cover: "Mind-bending science-fiction tales that explore the possibilities of information technology--and its various uses--run amok."

While we're sharing information, what's your favourite book that has some element of information at its core? Tell us in the comments below.

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