|07:13 pm - as if the math books weren't enough|
I've been reading Dhalgren.
I'm always struck by what I can best describe as a vague sense of naivete when I read "New Wave" SF. The tenor of future culture those writers imagined is so unlike what actually manifest in the 80s-90s-00s that I find it strangely touching. It's almost the flip-side of the equally non-realized (though similarly fetishized) plastic wholesomeness of the idealized 1950s.
The New Wave contextual element that always strikes me as the most jarring is the ubiquity/mainstreaming of recreational drugs. It's the exact opposite of what happened: increased restrictions on the legally available drugs like tobacco and alcohol coupled with the absolute restriction of LSD, ecstasy, opiates, etc. Mind you, indulgence of that type is something I've always had a blind-spot towards. I'm also a cynic - I think Prohibition made too many bootleggers too much money for any further recreational drugs to ever be made legal, NORML's valiant efforts aside. But I haven't seen commercial marijuana cigarettes for sale yet, let alone anything more hard-core.
Beyond that, I'm about 3/4 through the novel, the nature of which is such that I'll have to report in with my impressions when I'm finished.
[It has sure turned my writing style to heavy sludge, though. Gah.]