Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Ok, book update. First off, for those of you who I imagine at one time read this, let me assure you that no, I am not still reading "Empire," although it was a very good book. In the 2 years since I put that up I've read a few other books. Currently I'm working on Neil Stephenson's REAMDE. If you have read any Stephenson books, at least any other than Snowcrash, you'll probably know that it is really hard to summarize what his books are about.

Take Cryptonomicon, my favorite of his. If I was to try to summarize it as I started reading it, I might say it was about an internet startup that was working to help establish a datahaven and nation-free currency. But I would have been wrong. Then a bit further into the book, I might have said it was about a World War 2 marine who got caught up in various secret missions during the war. Oh, and who was addicted to morphine. But I would have been wrong. Then I might have gotten to the part where I realized it was about finding and making use of an enormous trove of Nazi gold. And that would have missed a lot of the point. And on, and on, and on. So when someone asked me to describe REAMDE the other day, I sighed and then floundered around verbally for a few minutes and then said "it's about some high tech thriller type stuff" which is both true and a massive understatement.

So having said that, I'm certainly not going to try to summarize it here. There are people who are paid a lot of money to try to summarize complex novels in dust-jacket size bites, after all. If you want to read one of those blurbs, go to the link above. But I will say that I'm really enjoying it and it has many of the things that I really liked about Cryptonomicon and much less of the things that I really did NOT like about System of the World (which I really, truly, desperately WANT to like, and someday maybe I will, just not yet). Stephenson writes like a true tech guy who knows how to write, which is rare, and his plot this time is moving along briskly. I love that he knows the difference between Linux and Windows, and an EMACS file and a .docx file, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I only sort of understand but don't have to get to know what is happening. I also love that twice tonight while reading I had to use the dictionary feature of my Nook to figure out a word and one meant lesbian (Sapphist). What more can I ask for?

So to sum up, highly recommended unless you want very light reading.


Seeker said...

I just finished TIGANA...Wow! Lots to think about with that one. The erasure of a name...what does that do to a person....to a people....it has been done over and over throughout human history... I loved the author's afterward...deep thoughts....And you REALLY NEED to take EMPIRE down! :)

Shifter said...

Glad you liked Tigana. That's one of my all time favorite books. Guy Gavriel Kay just rocks.