pi (the movie)

Robert S. Thau (rst@ai.mit.edu)
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 16:23:02 -0400 (EDT)

Joseph S. Barrera, III writes:
> BTW has anyone here read Updike's _Roger's Version_?

I don't remember it in detail, but I do recall two things. First, the
book in general was a real disappointment, considering the reviews I'd
seen. Second, the sections where he tries to discuss anything serious
about technology had the same sort of awkwardness that you see in bad
translations from foreign languages --- not so much that the text
doesn't make sense, as that Updike consistently chooses the wrong
word, and comes up with missed emphases, unnnecessarily off-beat word
choices, and generally poor and muddled expression of technical
concepts. Aside from that, it really didn't leave much of an
impression at all. Besides which, there's always the feeling that I
get with Updike that whatever he's doing is just an excuse to talk
about his characters' screwed-up sex lives (which isn't a bad thing if
that's what you want, I suppose, but why toss cosmology into the mix?)

Yes, he is a non-technical guy trying to write technical text in these
sections. No, that doesn't get him off. Richard Powers did a *much*
better job in Galatea 2.2 and The Gold-bug Variations (in two
different disciplines, AI and biology), both of which are much better
reads. Updike may be a much better writer sentence by sentence, but
for my money, Powers writes better books.

And then, of course, there's Pynchon...