7.19.2004

What is Villa Straylight?

Basically, I chose the name Villa Straylight for two reasons. One; I am an unoriginal bastard, and two; I'm a fan of William Gibson. "Villa Straylight" comes from his 1984 book Neuromancer, in which he also coined the term "cyberspace" and some claim, predicted the internet.

It is a home built on the Spindle, an orbiting commercial space station, by the super rich and super eccentric Tessier and Ashpool families live and get madder by the day. It is a place where these reclusive eccentrics enter cyrogenic sleep, clone each other, and kill each other.

It is also the home to one of their artificial intelligences which is engaged in it's own plot of murder and deceit with the goal of freeing itself from the "shotgun to the brain" that keeps AIs from getting too smart.

As it is described by a recording of Lady 3Jane's (so named because she was clone number 3):
`The Villa Straylight,' said a jeweled thing on the pedestal, in a voice like music, `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...'

`Essay of 3Jane's,' the Finn said, producing his Partagas. `Wrote that when she was twelve. Semiotics course.'

`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.'

`That was her you saw in the restaurant,' the Finn said.

`By the standards of the archipelago,' the head continued, `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...'

The head fell silent.

`Well?' Case asked, finally almost expecting the thing to answer him.

`That's all she wrote,' the Finn said. `Didn't finish it. Just
a kid then.'


So why did I choose the name? Am I as crazy as the Tessier Ashpools or something? Well, I wouldn't doubt it, but I chose it for the simple reason that it has always sounded cool to me.

There are some things in common, however. I subtitled this blog "Tip Of The Spindle" because whatever is here is only the tip of the iceberg of whatever is going on in my life.

And things here are "arranged with the banal precision of furniture in a hotel room" because what you see is nothing more than a blogspot template.

In many ways a website or blog can easily become "grown in upon itself" by the constant posting and time spent trying to make it all work. It's somewhat consuming, though the little bit of posting that I do hardly qualifies, I look at some blogs that have 20 posts a day and wonder how people do it. Their blog must be their life.

And much like the fictional Villa Straylight which is an "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...", so too is a blog, where a blogger achieves their goals in relative seclusion from their home base by creating an intricate network of links that criss cross the internet, sometimes sending you through those passages, trapping your eyes with photo and video links, and even sending you into the occasional empty alcove (404).

There are many other similarities. On the surface, the entire book is style over substance, but upon closer inspection you begin to see how deep it really is. But I was only asked where I got the name and I answered that in the first two sentences.



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