Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Bit Rot

I've just finished one of my Christmas presents. It was a big hardback book called "Bit Rot" by Doug Coupland.  He's a visual artist writing about (mainly) the human experience while digital technology and connectedness advance. It's a collection of essays and short stories and it's this structure that made it so compelling.  The stories' settings range from the wildly fantastical to the everyday (with a preponderance of end-of-the-world and time travel scenarios). The essays are mainly about the digital world, how it has developed, how it is developing and how these changes affect people (usually from his personal experience).

The book is not without its problems but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  He strays into economics where he is clearly clueless. He writes about digital technology and information systems (where I work) and his understanding is - shall we say - superficial. He uses mathematical terms in an unfathomable alien way (perhaps it's artistic).

The stories are good, easy to read, fun and short. The essays are thought provoking and entertaining and again short. Reading the book felt like binging on box-sets on a wet Sunday. I got to the end of every chapter (generally only a few pages) and thought either "That was fantastic – I'll just read one more" or "That was stupid/wrong/not as good as the rest – I'll just read one more to make up".

Richard "TLS" B

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