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You have been outbid...

Bother. I spotted an emergency power off panel from an IBM 1602 on eBay over the weekend, and was out-sniped within the last ten seconds (I'd set my snipe for 29 seconds, figuring that there wasn't likely to be a great deal of interest in a 3kg block of metal). On the plus side, the postage would have cost me the best part of USD50.

For those of you that might be wondering why I'd want an obsolete IBM boat anchor, might I refer you to one of autopope's stories, particularly the last four paragraphs.

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Thank you for that story link, going to have to seek out more of his work now.

In theory I ought to love Stross. But in practice I don't. Or at least, there are a lot of swings and misses compared to hits.

I found myself thinking about this after reading that short story in the context of having recently read a few reviews of Primer. Ebert seemed to get the same thing out of Primer as I did despite his very different background - it looked like Science, or at least Engineering rather than Science Fiction. Stross doesn't make that work. For me (and I'm sure you'll disagree) his worlds seem to be filled with Magic rather than Science, despite his best efforts.

I think Ebert might be onto something in picking out the lack of exposition. Primer expects (and of course this turns off a mainstream audience) that you will cope with the fact that you have no idea what's going on. That you will, in fact, embrace this and enjoy the experience of figuring out the same things the characters are figuring out, without them explaining it all to you. Stross has too much exposition. If you find yourself explaining the joke to the audience, you can't expect them to laugh at the end.

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