Programming languages and science fiction!

Cat Valente, Tiptree-winning author of The Orphan’s Tales, wrote up a brilliant comparison of programming languages to literary genres. She covers a lot of ground here as a cultural and critic, and she’s witty as hell. If the bits I’m quoting make you laugh, go read the whole thing!

Smalltalk is mythpunk, Python is speculative fiction, Java is…

Divorce in the suburbs, cancer of the miscarriage, and how God will punish you for having sex. That’s right, it’s the big, predictable Literary Fiction Gorilla, coming to destroy a gated community near you. Java is the mainstream of the mainstream, it gets all the critical hand jobs, they teach it at universities, and the support base is vast…

PHP is journalism, Perl is poetry, Ruby is steampunk, ASP is given a snarky kick to the head that keeps making me laugh!

It mixes all the worst parts of the other genres/languages. Hey! Serial killers are awesome! What about a vampire serial killer? What about a vampire werewolf serial killer with a heart of gold? What about a vampire werewolf serial killer with a heart of gold who mixes row result processing, business logic, and layout code ALL ON ONE PAGE??!

Sold, to your corporate overlords. After all, if you put the strength of an entire company behind it, it’ll be a success, even if it leaks memory and ends with and then I woke up.

The feel and culture (and reputation) of each programming language are well described and it takes some complicated snark to link them all to equally well described literary genres and subgenres. Geek culture is AWESOME.

I can’t imagine a more perfect post for this blog to link to! Thanks, Catherynne!

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