Ziggurat imagery in different tech levels

I've just started reading both Norman Spinrad's 1980 Songs from the Stars (first chapters set in a post-apocalypse quasi-ecotopia in what used to be California) and William Gibson's 1993 Virtual Light (first chapter set in a cyberpunkish near-future Mexico City).

I was already amused by the contrasting attitudes toward high tech, and then I noticed that they both use a particular word, for fairly different scenes.

From Songs from the Stars, p. 21:

“The mountains began abruptly at the northern end of the dry lake bed; from this angle, the Sierras were a vast ziggurat staircase reaching upward and eastward.”

From Virtual Light, p. 2:

“But here the mirrored ziggurats down Lázaro Cárdenas flow with the luminous flesh of giants, shunting out the night's barrage of dreams to the waiting avenidas—business as usual, world without end.”

Join the Conversation