PositiveBookforumGellman wants us to know that he’s not in the pocket of Big Snowden, and he flaunts his independence throughout Dark Mirror ... Rather than make Gellman seem more objective, the tough-guy talk—especially so late in the game—only makes Snowden seem more guileless, saintly ... Where Dark Mirror shows the advantage of Gellman’s...methodical approach is in its second half ... You can read parts of it as a defense of journalism’s utility at a moment of intense anxiety. It’s a weird time to make that argument. There are a lot of things to expose, but then, nothing happens ... In an early conversation with Verax, Gellman shares an anecdote that reads as a parable. In 1977 he was writing on his high school paper when the principal killed a story about birth control. Aggrieved, Gellman filed a First Amendment lawsuit against her in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The school district \'ran out the clock\'—bogged him down in delays—and the principal threatened to write a scarlet-letter note in Gellman’s college file. \'The lasting lesson . . . was how easily we were crushed,\' he tells Snowden. The lasting lesson of Dark Mirror is that sometimes you aren’t crushed.
Heike Geissler, Trans. by Katy Derbyshire
PositiveBookforumTo my knowledge, Geissler’s book is the first to present Amazon’s products as they appear in real time to the worker. Reading her lists made me nauseous, the way staring at a spinning compass needle might. These items do not relate to one another in any discernible way. There is no organizing consciousness. There is only an algorithm ... Like Seasonal Associate, Down and Out in Paris and London describes a specific warren of capitalism—Orwell’s \'Hotel X\' is Geissler’s Amazon warehouse—and also attends closely to the humiliations of being poor. Geissler’s envy at seeing her friend’s book on her pallet correlates to Orwell’s shame at seeing a prosperous friend approaching on the street in Paris. (He hides in a café.) But Geissler’s challenge is different than Orwell’s, because her material is flatter ... To treat the Leipzig warehouse with the warmth and looseness of Orwell would be absurd; Amazon shears those shopworn tropes off the surface of reality, leaving only a fluorescent-lit Hades. The shades get a few minutes to tell their stories, then the forklift returns.
PositiveBookforumThis is a disjointed and melancholy book, with a beautiful idea at the core. Lanier proposes that VR, the technology of the unreal, refreshes our love for the world as it is … The best way to think about VR, Lanier writes, is as the removal of a single human-shaped mass from the fabric of the universe. To build a VR universe, then, you mentally excise a single person from her surroundings; the surroundings stay the same … The notion that VR could incite a ferocious love for the ‘infinite detail’ of the physical world that it imitates felt, by the time I finished these books, almost painfully elegiac. What physical world, which version?