2bikefarm, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by 2bikefarm)
Few contemporary novels should be forced reading for future high school & college students: relevant yet contempory, rabble-rousing, incandescent as the George Orwell classics of Animal Farm or 1984, a rare stroke of brilliant love for the free world. But here is one. Could it too grace every dusty shelf or digital personal stack of near-future luminaries? But if you were hoping for a nap, beware... No dusty tomb of the anolog, pedestrian epochs of 24 hr news channels... It's roots are (visceral, personable) tales at the dawn of information technology in the savant minds that decoded signals & secured our freedoms in The Great War, yet the narratives interweave generations--such as in David Mitchell's ambitiously fractal novels--right into our unresolved struggles of internet privacy, virtual currancy, need for mythology to guide us. Captivating and increadibly relevant, this is a story we are all in: a digital age of sharing across boundaries while maintaining refuges of privacy and security, a brave new world. Did I mention it was fun? Try his Snow Crash for a wilder pulp fiction ride, but this book is a true milestone of our time.
Thomas L Knapp, October 21, 2014 (view all comments by Thomas L Knapp)
Everyone should read everything by Neal Stephenson. Seriously. But if you're looking for a place to start that doesn't have too much of a forward or backward historical learning curve, Cryptonomicon is ideal. It takes place during two eras that are reasonably familiar to most American readers -- World War II and the late 90s/early 00s dot-com phase.
Yes, it's long, but you'll have trouble forcing yourself to put it down.
Yes, it's one of those novels full of, um, novel ideas, but Stephenson is all about STORY and the ideas tend to fall right into place in a plot that moves right along and pulls you with it.
Just take my word for it: You must read Stephenson and you should probably start with Cryptonomicon. Then you'll be ready for Snow Crash or the System of the World trilogy. After that, it's all gravy. Really good gravy with lots of meat in it.
chipkerchner, March 24, 2013 (view all comments by chipkerchner)
This novel is a very large, in-need of pruning, book. Could have easily done without 500+ pages. It has a lot of cool concepts - cryptology, invention of digital computers, electronic money, more gold than Ft. Knox, intelligence agencies, etc. The evolution of cryptology was interesting. Certainly appealing nerds and techno-geeks.
Peter Young, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by Peter Young)
Cryptonomicon begins with a real time haiku, and journeys from pre-WWII to post-today, showcasing Stephenson's rich imagination throughout. It's big, but exhilarating all the way. You will meet characters having roots in the Baroque Cycle and learn how PGP works, and why it has to.
by Publishers Weekly (Starred Review),
"Big, complex, and ambitious....This fast-paced, genre-transcending novel is full of absorbing action, witty dialogue and well-drawn characters."
by New York Post,
"Stephenson's new book proves that he is the rarest of geniuses."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Detail-packed, uninhibitedly discursive, with dollops of heavy-handed humor....[H]uge chunks of baldly technical material might fascinate NSA chiefs, computer nerds, and budding entrepreneurs, but ordinary readers are likely to balk..."
"[A] heck of an action/adventure story....Stephenson...lives up to his reputation as a steely-eyed word hacker....[A] hell of a read."
by Roland Green, Booklist,
"Stephenson follows his startlingly original Snow Crash...with proof that he can do as well at twice the page-count....Imagine Tom Clancy turning to cyberpunk, and you have some idea of its broad potential appeal."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"An engrossing look at the way the flow of information shapes history. (Grade: A)"
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