Vikram Chandra
Thursday, September 4, 2014, 7:00 P.M., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco

 

discussing his new release

Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code. The Code of Beauty

from Graywolf Press

Opening statement by Ethan Nosowsky

Vikram Chandra has been a computer programmer for almost as long as he has been a novelist. In this extraordinary new book, his first work of nonfiction, he searches for the connections between the worlds of art and technology. Coders are obsessed with elegance and style, just as writers are, but do the words mean the same thing to both? Can we ascribe beauty to the craft of writing code?

Exploring such varied topics as logic gates and literary modernism, the machismo of tech geeks, the omnipresence of an "Indian Mafia" in Silicon Valley, and the writings of Abhinavagupta, the eleventh-century Kashmiri thinker, Geek Sublime is both an idiosyncratic history of coding and a fascinating meditation on the writer's art. Part literary essay, part technology story, and part memoir, it is an engrossing, original, and heady book of sweeping ideas.

Vikram Chandra is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, Sacred Games (2007), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. His first novel, Red Earth and Pouring Rain (1995), won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book and the David Higham Prize for Fiction. His collection of short stories, Love and Longing in Bombay (1997), won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book (Eurasia Region) and was a New York Times Notable Book. He lives in Oakland, California and teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.

What has been said about Geek Sublime:

"A fruitful exploration of computer-age aesthetics, when artists are making use of programming even as programmers consider themselves artists. . . . An engaging exercise in interdisciplinary thought, both elegant and eloquent. Besides, who can resist a text that works karma, Marcel Duchamp and iterative programming into a single thought?"—Kirkus Reviews