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Anybody read Neal Stephenson?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by SuperDuck, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Didn't make it through the Crypotnomicron - had to take it back to the library before I could finish it, and that never happens.

    Went out and bought "Quicksilver", which is the first book in the "Baroque Cycle". I'm about 200 pages into it, and I understand what's going on, but I have yet to figure out what the _plot_ is.

    I think he's a fanstastic writer, but this is getting frustrating.

    (Also, he tends to write chapters (or books) in present tense. I _hate_ reading is present tense.)
  2. Only


    Sep 8, 2002
    Warrensburg, MO
    I couldn't finish Cryptonomicon, and I OWN it. I thought it was very not interesting.

    Check out Zodiac if you haven't. That's my favorite of his books. It's about an environmentalist jerk fighting the corporate polluters, and it's pretty cool.

    The Big U is also kind of neat. It's a satire of American college life.

    I also hate reading stories in the present tense.

    Oh, and if you want to see him make a lot of inaccurate arguments and generally be a jerk, check out In the Beginning...There Was the Command Line. That's about Windows vs. Macintosh vs. Linux.
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Stick with Cryptonomicon, it's worth it. The Quicksilver series I couldn't hang with, it was a little too much like Robert Anton Wilson's HISTORICAL ILLUMINATUS trilogy (The Earth Will Shake, The Widow's Son and Nature's God) without all the mystery school stuff.

    My favorite two are DIAMOND AGE Or A YOUNG LADY'S ILLUSTRATED PRIMER and SNOW CRASH (how can you not like a book where the hero protagonist is named Hiro Protagonist?).
  4. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    American Gods was a C+, Crytonomicon I also had to return.
    Quicksilver I never bonded with.

    Stephen Hunter is better on the attention span. His new one,
    Havana, is good. Point of Impact was a wonderful book.
  5. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I enjoyed Zodiac and am getting around to Diamond Age. Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon were pretty good. I'm meaning to get around to the Quicksilver books.

    Cryptonomicon was my favorite, and I'm still waiting for the second installment. Some people gave him grief for going on for 6 pages about eating Captain Crunch, but it's that sort of meandering that I actually enjoyed, or the bit where ...crap, can't remember the character name is trying to tell the girl she's beautiful.

    "You called her a whore."
    "You used the back gutteral, it's the front gutteral."
    "...is there a difference?"
    "Not really."

    Or thereabouts.
  6. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I figured I would just bring this old thread back to mention that Mr. Stephenson's new book, Anathem, comes out today. It's been 3 years I think, since his last novel, The System of the World.

    This will be the first time in my life that I will be buying a hardcover the day it comes out and actually paying full price.

    In support of the release of the book he will be making several appearances, which I would highly encourage any fan of his to attend as he has vocalized in the past that he doesn't like to do them very often. This is the first time in the past five years that I know of that he'll be anywhere near me - I'll be driving down to Chicago on the 22nd to see him.
  7. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    I'm a pretty big fan. I finshed Cryptonomicon and I have to say I loved Snow Crash.
  8. I read Cryptonomicon (signed copy!), Snow Crash, and Diamond Age. I liked them all.
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    he had me locked with snow crash, although diamond age i thought wasn't as good (to be honest not much can compare to snow crash, imo. one of the most important novels of the past 20 years, i think).

    i loved crytonomicon - read it straight through in like 3 days.

    haven't started the barroque cycle yet. gotta gear up for his stuff - not fully prepared yet.
  10. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    I agree with you about Snow Crash. Way ahead of its time. I would put this and Neuromancer by William Gibson as two important novels that kind of shine the light toward the future we're heading into. IMO.
  11. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    I think this is especially true for the Baroque Cycle, which in all honesty is kind of an ordeal to read through. Even more so than his other books. The BC is quite different in style and narrative from his earlier works.
  12. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    What I like about Neal Stephenson as a writer is that his style is still kind of evolving from what it was when I first read his stuff with Snow Crash
  13. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    Diamond Age - is great. It explores dimensions of human relationships rarely touched upon and rarely understood.
  14. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    the dude's a real genius, and not just with plot elements but with storytelling ability.
  15. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Yep. I really like how he blended the family line, the like character types of the hacker vs. the WWII code breaker, and tied them all together in a story for Cryptonomicon.

    Snow Crash was just pure imaginative fun. I like how he touched upon the security guards of the home owners association being their own mini enclaves with their own police forces. Pretty much not far off from what we have today out here in LA. Besides Hiro Protagonist is the best name ever for a main character. :D
  16. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    Ditto on Maki's comments. Neal can be a bit of a pain to read at times.
    Not as dense as Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow" but nearly.
  17. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Just got home with my big fatty book. Can't wait to get started! :)
  18. This makes me want to read it. I loved Neuromancer, although I confess to not having read it in several years.

    This makes me not want to read it. Having read a bit of Pynchon's works, I was only able to get through The Crying of Lot 49. Everything else has left me exasperated trying to get through it.
  19. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    All things considered, I would say that Snow Crash is one of his easier books to get through. It's dense, but not nearly as bad as Cryptonomicon, which is not nearly as bad as the Baroque Cycle.
  20. I might put Snow Crash on my list of things to read, but I've got so much dense literature to get through this semester that I don't have time for it. :p

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