I used to suggest books to Gabriel purely in order to Civilize him. I would select a book as though I were selecting a whip and then I would beat the shit out of him with my whip-book. We’re far more aligned now, and so suggestions can more easily flow in either direction. His taste level has improved considerably, no doubt a function of my tutelage and proximity, while my own taste level has been seared irreparably by his gutter filth. The happy medium, from where I am sitting, is a literary slaughterhouse.
Which is why I was entirely shocked to see him pick up Neuromancer. This is a book that, even under the loose compact we have devised, I would never have suggested. This is a book that travelled back in time of its own accord, a book written for people in the future in their own Goddamn language. It resorts to poetry frequently in its attempt to circumvent the reader’s linguistic bulwarks. It is not a “Gabriel Book.”
When I read it, it was the pop media tie-in mill operating in reverse: I came to it through the computer game. This seemed to happen a lot: games were putting books in front of me that commented out or rewrote whole sections of my thought process. Fahrenheit 451, Nine Princes In Amber, and Rendezvous With Rama all fell into my head via text adventures. They got into me early, placing brick over brick, making me an irredeemable twat.
People sometimes give us things at PAX, which I tell them to heap upon our Black Altar. We don’t actually have one, but I’m seriously considering it.
At one point, as I was running from one end of the show to the other, a person stopped me and pressed a tiny box into my hands like a mysterious courier. He told me that it was great, whatever it was, and his conviction was such that it left a mark on my consciousness even as thousands of people swirled around me. Even now, more than a week on, that little box and its human vector remain. And now, look; I am he, pressing the self-same box into your hands.
The box contains a world called Rynaga, which is a place and also a game, the product of some ink-mad latter-day monk. Maybe; I don’t actually know. It doesn’t feel made at all, it feels discovered, like he’s trying to get it all down while he can still see it.
I can feel it rising up around me all the time, this place, its archetypes, wrapped up in a game called Iconica. Imagine that the standard deck of playing cards began to stir and split in your hands, revealing a host of mysterious personages and a multiplicity of mystic suits. Now, imagine that you and your companions can war with these new card-friends in a system which is as clean as a constellation. Can you hear me, PAX friend? You have made me sick with your disease.