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Neal Stephenson Message Board 1/1/2012
Talk about the novels, new and used books that Stephenson has written!

Author Stephenson's Book Reviews

Anathem
Fraa Erasmas lives in the concent of Saunt Edhar on the planet Arbre. Concents are like monasteries, except they are devoted solely to the study of intellectual and philosophical matters rather than religion. The concents are closed off from the outside world in an effort to maintain continuity and preserve the knowledge gained inside. They open their doors for a single day at one, ten, a hundred, and a thousand year intervals. Over the centuries the ...
Cryptonomicon
Stephenson continues his superior work with a tale that is far closer to history than his previous science fiction. Nearly two-thirds of the story takes place during the Second World War -- from the combat beaches of the South Pacific to the code-breaking center at Bletchley Park, England; from espionage and battle in Italy, Norway, and Manila to life aboard a U-boat -- while the remainder involves a cyber-business merger or hostile takeover involving a ...
Quicksilver
In an epic story that ranges between 1655 and 1713, and from Massachusetts Bay Colony and London to the silver mines of Saxony and the wars against the Turks in what eventually become Austria and Hungary, Stephenson chronicles the thoughts and adventures of characters from the lowliest Thames River scum to the kings of England and France, their courts, and the distant relations who plot against them. Daniel Waterhouse is a mediocre scientific mind, frien...
Snow Crash
A crazy rebel computer hacker/pizza delivery ninja for Cosa Nostra Pizza loses his job and goes on a wild ride involving virtual reality, a smart-ass skateboarding teenage messenger chick, the mafia, ancient civilizations, cults, an AI and all around weirdness. ...

Stephenson booklist

The Confusion
Jack Shaftoe was an Algerian galley slave, but together with several other smart slaves he goes in on a plan on behalf of more powerful interests to steal Spanish silver being shipped from the New World . . . but the slaves intend to keep it for themselves. The "silver" turns out to be gold that financiers and alchemists believe possesses supernatural qualities. Meanwhile, in France, Eliza has lost her fortune and schemes to make another one as well ...
The Diamond Age
In an alternate (possibly future) reality a software programmer creates an interactive (Virtual Reality) program for an aristocrat's daughter and secretly makes one for his own daughter. The secret copy falls into the hands of an abused little girl, who succeeds in coming of age via the program, and becomes the heroine, in a cultural war. The program molds the mind of the girl, and empower her, to such a degree that she is able to prevent genocide....
The System of the World
The final volume, 891 pages, of Stephenson's Baroque Trilogy centers almost entirely on the year 1714, when the many threads from "Quicksilver" and "The Confusion" come together. Middling scientist Daniel Waterhouse returns to England from his "Technologickal College" project in Boston to try to patch up the vicious feud between Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz about who invented calculus. But a bomb nearly kills Dan upon his arrival. Greater powers ar...
Zodiac
Cruising Boston Harbor with lab tests and scuba gear, the main character charges in with the ecosystem cavalry on his 40-horsepower Zodiac raft. His job of tracking down poisonous runoff and embarrassing the powerful corporations who caused them becomes more sticky than usual; run-ins with a gang of evil rock fans, a deranged geneticist, and a mysterious PCB contamination that may or may not be man-made all complicate his life. ...


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