A reading group on Good Reads is discussing Hokkaido Green.
Their previous choice of author was Neil Gaiman. I’m in good company. 🙂
A Metafilter user posted a link to the story and lots of people have commented how much they liked the story.
One of the comments compared the story to Terry Bisson’s Bears Discover Fire – one of my all-time favorite stories. I love the mood of that story and I tried to capture a similar feel in Hokkaido Green.
Another comment mentions Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational. It’s a fascinating book that examines why people do the things they do. This article talks about one of the experiments mentioned in the book – the fact that even though it will keep them more to keep their options open, people in general are reluctant to close off choices. The closing doors experiment did stick in my mind.
Other people have commented on the theme of experiencing events versus recording events. I’ve travelled a lot and I enjoy taking photos – it helps me remember my experiences. Places where I’ve been and haven’t been able to take photos, often my memories of the event have faded compared to places where I took photos. But I’m also aware of people that are too busy taking photos (videos are even worse) to actually experience the event firsthand.
Perhaps the worst example I saw of this was a tourist at Versailles who didn’t even walk into many of the rooms in the palace. He just stuck his camera into the room and took a photo without seeing what he was photographing.
This tension of experiencing versus recording is also a conflict that can arise for writers, particularly journalists. Writers are often observers. If you get involved yourself, that can change the story.