The Villa Straylight is a body grown in upon itself, a Gothic folly. Each space in Straylight is in some way secret, this endless series of chambers linked by passages, by stairwells vaulted like intestines, where the eye is trapped in narrow curves, carried past ornate screens, empty alcoves. The architects of Freeside went to great pains to conceal the fact that the interior of the spindle is arranged with the banal precision of furniture in a hotel room. In Straylight, the hull’s inner surface is overgrown with a desperate proliferation of structures, forms flowing, interlocking, rising toward a solid core of microcircuitry, our clan’s corporate heart, a cylinder of silicon wormholed with narrow maintenance tunnels, some no wider than a man’s hand. The bright crabs burrow there, the drones, alert for micromechanical decay or sabotage.
By the standards of the archipelago, ours is an old family, the convolutions of our home reflecting that age. But reflecting something else as well. The semiotics of the Villa bespeak a turning in, a denial of the bright void beyond the hull. Tessier and Ashpool climbed the well of gravity to discover that they loathed space. They built Freeside to tap the wealth of the new islands, grew rich and eccentric, and began the construction of an extended body in Straylight.
We have sealed ourselves away behind our money, growing inward, generating a seamless universe of self. The Villa Straylight knows no sky, recorded or otherwise. At the Villa’s silicon core is a small room, the only rectilinear chamber in the complex. Here, on a plain pedestal of glass, rests an ornate bust, platinum and cloisonne, studded with lapis and pearl. The bright marbles of its eyes were cut from the synthetic ruby viewport of the ship that brought the first Tessier up the well, and returned for the first Ashpool… — William Gibson, Neuromancer (text snerped from Wikipedia)
Started reading The Mission Song: A Novel by John Le Carré
Started reading The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
Some of them seem to be homeless because they lack the initiative and cunning to survive in a world where security—long-term employment, unions, blue-collar jobs, affordable housing—is vanishing and we must all fend for ourselves, not just by working but by calculating, by planning, by competing, by abandoning and reinventing our sense of self. They are anachronisms, the people who might have done well in stable jobs that no longer exist, and when I give them food or money, they say, “God bless you,” a lot of them, an old-fashioned response. — Highlighted by erin kissane in Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics by Rebecca Solnit
Walter Benjamin wrote again and again of Paris as a labyrinth, a forest, a mystery, and a joy. He once reminisced, “I saw sunset and dawn, but between the two I found myself a shelter. Only those for whom poverty or vice turns the city into a landscape in which they stray from dark till sunrise know it in a way denied to me. — Highlighted by erin kissane in Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics by Rebecca Solnit
On the coast of northernmost California, there is a National Historic Landmark plaque whose text names “Indian/Gunther Island” and asserts: “This site possesses national significance in commemorating the history of the United States of America.” What the plaque fails to mention is the nature of that significance: on this island, formerly known as Tolowot, settlers axed to death all the women, children, old, and infirm of the Indian village while the men were out hunting. — Highlighted by erin kissane in Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics by Rebecca Solnit
I remember that twenty years ago, when the huge army of the homeless was first being turned out into American cities, a writer expressed shock that this wealthiest nation had become like Brazil or India, a place where the affluent stepped over the dying on their way to the opera. — Highlighted by erin kissane in Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics by Rebecca Solnit
But it is not they who have become savages in the wild city. We have. They are there because we—the we who elected Ronald Reagan, who chose to vote for the tax cuts that meant drastic social services cuts, who allowed the New Deal and the Great Society to be canceled, the we who looked the other way or did not resist hard enough—decided to create this wilderness for them. — Highlighted by erin kissane in Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics by Rebecca Solnit
The homeless live in the city as though it were a wilderness: not a wilderness of symbiosis, of beauty, of complexity, in the way hunter-gatherers might live in a landscape too well-known to be a wilderness, but a wilderness that is not safe, not reliable, not made for them. — Highlighted by erin kissane in Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics by Rebecca Solnit
American cities have become a wilderness of another sort. The homeless live in our built environment as though they are not the species for which it was built. — Highlighted by erin kissane in Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics by Rebecca Solnit