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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Spirits in the Wires - Charles de Lint

Read for the Once Upon a Time IX Reading Challenge.

If you’ve read any of de Lint’s Newford books, you know he’s created an urban fantasy setting that incorporates parts of many world mythos (mythi?    What is the plural for that word?).       If a human mind has conceived it, it exists, and someone is able to see into those extra layers of reality.

So what about the internet?     It’s probably our frontier of created thought in this modern day.     In this story, a group of friends created a site called wordwood.com, where you could share stories and poetry with other people.      Somewhere along the way, they realized that no one was updating the site anymore – it had taken on a life of its own, and was administering itself.     Until the day that a man who had been jilted by a woman that frequently used wordwood, decided to target it with a virus, to spite her.      And suddenly hundreds of users of the site disappeared.

What follows from here is a variation of a Newford otherworld story – several characters that you would recognize if you follow these books are among the disappeared, and other friends use all the resources at their disposal to find and rescue them.      Which is fun.     But for me, there was another unexpected aspect of reading this book  - it was published in 2003 – so written right around 2000.     I had forgotten (or maybe taken for granted) how much the internet has changed.    I suppose that even ties back to the themes of this story – as rich as what de Lint had imagined at that point (when most of the characters were still using dial up modems) - it’s an even more vast ecosystem out there today.     I think I enjoyed this book almost as much for how much it made me appreciate how technology is evolving these days – I’m almost in awe of the thought of it.

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