Eric S. Raymond has terrible taste in books.

I, like many of the programming persuasion, know Eric S. Raymond as a historical figure and quasi-legend. I was delighted to find he has a blog. I was intrigued by many of his entries, and so when he recommended the Steampunk Trilogy by Paul diFilipp (no Amazon link here, for a reason), I bought it sight-unseen.

I regret this. Eric described the book as “hilarious”. It’s not. If I had to pick a single word to describe it, it would be puerile. Hoho, Victorian racism and sexim! Hoho, whores! Hoho, people being stupid! Hoho, painfully obvious Lovecraft references. Hoho, Moby Dick jokes!

Now, the subplot where he ships Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson is amusing, I’ll give him that, but it’s too little, too late. I don’t demand that my literature be Serious Business all the time, obviously, but you need a whole hell of a lot more than “Hoho, look at how we present this topic! We are shocking and edgy and not 14 at all!” to do so.


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