Friday, December 7, 2012

Different Kinds of Darkness, by David Langford

Different Kinds of Darkness is a nice little gem that got a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2001.  It belongs to an interesting little subgenre of stories that speculate on what life would be like if a thought or visual pattern put the brain in the equivalent of a Windows blue screen state--frozen up.  Ted Chiang's story Understand contains such a pattern.  I have read at least two others, but they aren't coming to mind right now.  Different Kinds is a good one, worth a read, though it might be just a touch naive.  3 stars.

The World Fantasy Awards confuse me.  I think of fantasy as involving magic somehow, not being too concerned with technical details of how the fantastic element comes about.  Though technical magic may be involved.  This story seems very hard SF, yet it's nominated for Fantasy.  Stretchy.  Oh well.

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