Monday at the RSA Conference – Miranda?
The exhibit hall of the RSA Conference was open for a couple of hours last night, so I got a chance to walk around and see what vendors were talking about this year. I have to say that I was not impressed in lots of cases – some vendors seemed to actually be moving backwards instead of forwards. It almost reminded me of the horror novella Miranda by John R. Little that won the 2008 Bram Stoker Award for Best Long Fiction. (No – this book has nothing to do with the planet Miranda from the movie Serenity.)
The protagonist of Miranda is a man who moves backwards through time instead of forwards. The book opens with him returning to life in a hospital at age 65 and ends, well, I'd hate to ruin a truly excellent book, so I'll just let you use your imagination.
The entire book reinforces this backward-through-time theme. It starts with chapter 15 and counts down to chapter 1, for example, and the pages are also numbered in the reverse order. For me, this produced a particularly chilling effect because you could tell exactly how many pages were left of the protagonist's life. You can easily look at the last page of a book to see how many pages are left before the story is going to end, but that doesn't seem to provide the same effect that the reverse page numbering in Miranda does.
In any event, the parallel between a man moving backwards through time and the vendors who seemed to be moving backwards instead of forwards definitely struck me when I made my first circuit through the expo hall of the RSA Conference this year. I doubt that the vendors that I saw yesterday will suffer the same horrific end that the protagonist of Miranda did, but I doubt that things are going to work out well for them in the long run.