rating: 2 of 5 stars Coover takes a minimally interesting premise–a cocktail party right out of a Hieronymus Bosch painting as the setting for a send up of the classic Agatha Christie “closed room” mystery–and beats it to death. I guess the meta-joke is that just as the hellish party is inescapable and goes on forever, the book is inescapable and goes on forever. Fortunately, however, the book is escapable– you have only to stop reading.
Certainly Coover deserves some style points for verbal skill and unrestrained imagination. The book is finely crafted, in the sense of the interlocking stories & themes, the literary allusions & wordplay, etc, etc.
But it’s pointless and ugly. Why would I want to read a thirty page “joke” about a stopped toilet and skating over a vomit-covered floor? How much necrophilia is “enough” for one avante-guard novel?
It might have been an interesting and perhaps disturbing story at 50 pages. But at more than 300 pages, it’s just a bore. View all my reviews.
A lot of us like to run Forums all day, like an IM client. In the new version, you can log in to your organization without actually entering any of its forums(1). We think of it as hanging out in the lobby of that organization. You can watch people going in and out, text chat with them, and join them in whatever forum they are working in(2).
The idea is that if virtual world technology is a meta-medium that subsumes, for example, instant messaging, then it ought to do IM as well as dedicated IM clients while retaining the benefits of the virtual world technology. In the case of Forums, that means secure communication.
In Forums, each user is a member of one or more organizations.
This terrific video of the Alternate Reality Kit was made at Xerox PARC in 1987. So, of course, it’s not actually Brie, but it does give a lot of the feel of what we’re going for. There are a few UI differences and the ARK is only 2D, but the main thing is that Brie is synchronously collaborative, and therefore eminently shareable.
Another related thing (without a cool video) was PARC’s Thing Lab.