Nancy McClure, February 25, 2012 (view all comments by Nancy McClure)
This book is a very conventional thriller, and really disappointing for those of us who liked some of Stephenson's recent and highly original books. Those books had a new idea on every page, where this one has an old cliche on every page.
Like an 80s cold war thriller by Alistair MacLean, "Reamde" has British Intelligence, people from the KGB, trained assassins, survivalists, millionaires in armed retreats, planes and boats and lots of guns. It does have a few plot devices that depend on terrorism, the net, and lots of kinds of data storage (but no new ways of thinking about those things). And it's a slow read, taking about twice as many pages to tell its story than are needed.
"Reamde" has one good idea: exploiting gold farming in a MMPRPG. Maddeningly, the idea completely disappears after being used to launch the central hostage taking. There are NO consequences (legal, practical, moral) for the character Reamde, who blackmails thousands for real money via the online game. He simply joins all the others running around, chased by baddies. I hate to see an imaginative writer wasting his time on this crap.
If you want to read a ripping good yarn with gold farming, better developed characters characters, and a much better sense of the global village right now, go read "For the Win" by Cory Doctorow.
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Johan, February 24, 2012 (view all comments by Johan)
Stephenson is back from a long run of rather boring books, Reamde is the book that we have been waiting for since Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon. The twist in the story are many and a the techno-talk doesn't feel dated and old, he really know what he talks about.
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maizelle, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by maizelle)
Fabulous, entertaining ride. Not without flaws, but I was so involved with the story, I didn't care. Bring on the next gigantic Neal Stephenson novel!
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marchand198, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by marchand198)
This epic story spans the globe (and a massive online universe) in a fast-paced thriller. You will quickly forget about the book's length (if not its weight) and find yourself at the end much too soon. Absolutely amazing.
LHunt, January 23, 2012 (view all comments by LHunt)
For a Cryptonomicon fan Stephenson's REAMDE is downright thrilling. All the wit, tenderness and fallibility of character that you could wish for and plenty of awesome content and context.
William Morrow -
A fast-paced departure from Stephenson's established brand of technology-driven storytelling, this nail-biter dives headlong into the present-day global economy and propels the reader on a worldwide adventure, complete with international spies, jihadists, Russian mobsters, and Chinese hackers all wrapped in the virtual reality of a fiendishly innovative massively multiplayer online role-playing game. Like a John Grisham or Dan Brown born of the Unix command line, Stephenson intrigues and thrills with his most accessible novel yet.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Stephenson (Anathem), the master of meandering, inconclusive plots, delivers a sprawling thriller that shows him in complete control of his story, regardless of the many digressions and a host of characters. Zula Forthrast's unfortunate taste in boyfriends catapults her into a breakneck adventure spanning two continents and several increasingly dangerous criminal gangs. What looks like a chance to make a quick buck turns sour when the Russian mafia discover that Zula's conniving boyfriend, Peter, inadvertently handed their representative a virus-infected thumb drive that holds all of the mafia's encrypted data. Peter and Zula find themselves prisoners of the menacing and desperate Ivanov and dragged to Xiamen, China, in a last-ditch effort to confront the hackers responsible before Ivanov's bosses learn what has happened. Complications ensue when the gangsters raid an apartment belonging not to the rather hapless hackers but instead to the notorious terrorist Abdallah Jones and his well-armed compatriots, into whose hands Zula falls. The plot snowballs from there, toward a violent conclusion near the U.S.-Canadian border. Author tour." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Stephenson has a once-in-a-generation gift: he makes complex ideas clear, and he makes them funny, heartbreaking, and thrilling."
by Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review),
"Noir futurist Stephenson returns to cyberia with this fast-moving though sprawling techno-thriller...Who'll prevail? We don't know till the very end, thanks to Stephenson's knife-sharp skills as a storyteller. An intriguing yarn — most geeky, and full of staisfying mayhem."
by Cory Doctorow, boingboing.com,
"Stephenson's Reamde: perfectly executed, mammoth, ambitious technothriller...a triumph, all 980 pages of it."
Neal Stephenson, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Anathem, returns to the terrain of his groundbreaking novels Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, and Cryptonomicon to deliver a high-intensity, high-stakes, action-packed adventure thriller in which a tech entrepreneur gets caught in the very real crossfire of his own online war game.
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