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Posts Tagged ‘Neal Stephenson

reamdeName : Reamde

Author: Neal Stephenson

Genre : Techno-thriller

Pages : 1056

Publication Year: September 20, 2011

Is Review Spoiler: No

Rating: 2/5

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Reamde by Neal Stephenson is released on 21st September 2011. This books covers a wide range of topics like gold farming and social networking to the criminal methods of the Russian mafia and Islamic terrorists.

The book begins with very good plot which revolves around Richard who owns the nearly one billion dollars company that designed and operates an Massively multiplayer online role-playing game(MMORPG) called “T’Rain”. In T’Rain users can acts as gold farmers, warriors and kinngs. In order to buy magical spells, armers etc you need to buy the Gold coins by paying actual money. Gold farmer can get the money for the gold they gathered by going to Money Changers.

One of the hacker in China finds a loophole in T’Rain and develops a virus named ‘Reamde’ which affects millions of T’Rain users world-wide. The virus will encrypt all the files of a laptop/computer and converts it into a single file named ‘Troll.jpg’ and it will provide a text file called ‘Reamde.txt’ in which users of T’Rain are instructed to drop certain amount of gold in specified location to get decryption key.

Till here story goes fine and characters development is also good but all of sudden the story takes unexpected turn, that’s where everything becomes unreadable and boring. Neal Stephenson all of sudden diverts a very good story into a wild terrorist hunt with lots of unnecessary description of about how guns works, about different demographics which doesn’t contribute anything to story apart from filling the pages. He even included a 100+ pages lengthy gun fight sequence. I escaped so many pages while reading this book which didn’t had any direct or indirect link to the underlying story of the book.

This is not the best work from the author of widely acclaimed novels like ‘Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash and Anathem’. The book is very interesting till Russian Mafia jumps in to it – from this point onwards the book lost all its charm and plot. From this point it’s all about Russian Mafia, Chinese, How to get into a country without Visa, Terrorism and Hostage Rescued operation.

I have given this book two stars because I liked the concept of the T’Rain and APIS which I thought is really interesting and I enjoyed reading it otherwise I would have given it 1 star. I won’t recommend this book to any one and If I had a chance I would have sent back my Kindle Edition to Amazon for refund but I read it two or three-week after I purchased it from amazon.in by that time refund period was expired.

Name : Snow Crash

Author: Neal Stephenson

Genre : sci-fi/cyber-punk

Pages : 400+

Language: English

Publication Year: June 1992

Is Review Spoiler: No

Movie based on this book : –

Awards :

Rating: 4/5

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Published shortly before the dot.com boom, this book is the realistic look at the future of Internet, Games, Humanity, Religion and off course pizza delivery business. Snow Crash – a cyber punk novel is third novel by Neal Stephenson which I read so far other two are Cryptonomicon and Anathem.

The book is set in futuristic America, where everything is owned by private companies. In this world everything is for rent – the army, the police, the highway’s, everything except for pizza delivery business because it’s monopolized by the mafias.

Story revolves around Hiro – the pizza delivery boy and last of the freelance hackers and world’s greatest sword fighter in metaverse (he wrote the code) as well as in real world. He happens to be the only guy who standing between metaverse and a dangerous ancient virus called ‘Snow Crash’.

As with other Stephenson books, this books ending was little disappointing, was expecting one or more chapter’s to conclude the story apart from this I liked this book a lot. The research and technical details covered in this book are accurate except for few details here and there but we need to keep in mind that this book was written around 1988 before the internet craze and the contents in this book are way ahead of the time when it was written/published. The research done on historical & philosophical content in this book are real amazing, specially the content on Sumerian mythology and culture.

One more amazing thing about this book is the way Stephenson ‘re-engineered’ the Sumerian legends to fit into the story line is really ingenious. I read and re-read few chapter in this book and I deliberately slow down My reading to process more data, so if you are looking for something light and simple read – then this isn’t it. this book is thought-provoking though this book is published a decade ago. at certain point while reading this book, you will definitely think ‘what the/how the hell this guy come up with this?’, overall an amazing and thought provoking read. if you are sci-fi/cyber punk fan then this book is for you!

Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison—a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age.

In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately!

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Name : Anathem

Author: Neal Stephenson

Genre : speculative fiction

Pages : 932

Language: English/Orth

Publication Year: 2008-09-09

Is Review Spoiler: No

Movie based on this book : –

Awards : Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 2009.

Rating: 5/5

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Anathem is the second novel by Neal Stephenson which I read, third one Snow Crash in queue. First of all Anathem is written different languages, by different I mean it’s written in english and the language Neal Stephenson made up known as Orth.  But the book is mostly written in english expect for some words he uses in many places which he made up. He also provided the glossary of the terms and entries from the Ortho dictionary speckled throughout the book which describes the meaning of those words in different contexts.

Anathem is huge novel with 931 pages (paperback edition) and bit slow in the beginning and it takes around 150+ pages to reach the core plot of the book but though it’s slow in the beginning but I never found it boring. The ideas presented in the book are really interesting and as well as complex and some ideas are explained in the separate supplements provided in the back of the book known as Calca (philosophical or mathematical discussion between two people of differing views). If mathematical or philosophical concepts make you crawl in fear, then you would probably not enjoy Anathem.

The ending in this novel is good compare to his previous novel which I read, Cryptonomicon whose ending was really disappointing. The character development in this novel is very good and I enjoyed the new languages and his ideas. Anathem moves into more theoretical areas by showing how the different ways in which we frame our thoughts have real and powerful impact on the world at large, even if it takes a very long time for those thoughts to produce concrete results/effects.  The story is told from the perspective of Fraa Erasmas. I liked the writing style, the character development and characters in the book are really funny, charming, philosophical and I liked the protagonist, Fraa Erasmus, or Raz, Ala, Jesry, Lio and Orolo.

Fraa Erasmas is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside “saecular” world by ancient stone, honored traditions, and complex rituals. Over the centuries, cities and governments have risen and fallen beyond the concent’s walls. Three times during history’s darkest epochs violence born of superstition and ignorance has invaded and devastated the cloistered mathic community. Yet the avout have always managed to adapt in the wake of catastrophe, becoming out of necessity even more austere and less dependent on technology and material things. And Erasmas has no fear of the outside—the Extramuros—for the last of the terrible times was long, long ago.

Now, in celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fraas and suurs prepare to venture beyond the concent’s gates—at the same time opening them wide to welcome the curious “extras” in. During his first Apert as a fraa, Erasmas eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn’t seen since he was “collected.” But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the brink of cataclysmic change.

Powerful unforeseen forces jeopardize the peaceful stability of mathic life and the established ennui of the Extramuros—a threat that only an unsteady alliance of saecular and avout can oppose—as, one by one, Erasmas and his colleagues, teachers, and friends are summoned forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster. Suddenly burdened with a staggering responsibility, Erasmas finds himself a major player in a drama that will determine the future of his world—as he sets out on an extraordinary odyssey that will carry him to the most dangerous, inhospitable corners of the planet . . . and beyond.

If you have a patience for side-discussions of theorotic/philosophical material, and enjoy theoretical fiction, then this novel is for you, go ahead and read it and damn sure you won’t regret it.

Name : Cryptonomicon

Author: Neal Stephenson

Genre : Historical/sci-fi/Techno-thriller Fiction

Pages : 1168

Language: English

Publication Year: 1999

Is Review Spoiler: No

Movie based on this book : –

Awards : Cryptonomicon won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 2000.

Rating: 4.5/5

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Cryptonomicon is my first Neal Stephenson novel, this book appeared on many ‘Must Read’ lists so I decided to give it a try. I am glad that I did.

This book is huge (1116+ pages – paperback edition) and fun to read. This book is great mix of War (word war II), soldiers, code breaker, mathematics, computers, and technologies. The writing style of Neal Stephenson is brilliant and use of metaphors are brilliant, sometimes hilarious.

Cryptonomicon is not a single novel, it’s three novels in one what mean by this is, this novel has three different plots and each plot is related to the other plot. this novel is well paced, clever and  a real page turner. though the volume of the book is huge (1K+ pages) but once you cross 60+ pages you will never want it to end. the story revolves around four main characters and major part of the story is set in world war II era.

What I liked most is the kind of research and depth of the research Stephenson done for this book, either it is code breaking, ciphers, working of computers, mathematics everything well researched. the book is joy to read even-though the volume of the book is huge. I kept on reading till the end so when I got there the book kind of stopped, I was expecting something more or amazing end but it’s stopped.

The flow of story is not linear what I mean is the story is told by different person on different times. the plot is divided into three parts, tow parts set in world war II and one part in current time and all three parts amazingly linked together. the character development is amazing, so much so that you even start liking the bad guys in the book.

The writing style of Neal Stephenson style is unique, light-hearted and fun. If you want to have the fun with this novel, you have to be patience, this novel need great deal of patience as Neal explains the backgrounds, submarines, working of enigma, code breaking techniques, mathematical formulas and working of computers.

In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse – mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy – is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Watrehouse and Detatchment 2702-commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe-is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence has cracked the enemy’s fabled Enigma code. It is a game, a cryptographic chess match between Waterhouse and his German counterpart, translated into action by the gung-ho Shaftoe and his forces.

Fast-forward to the present, where Waterhouse’s crypto-hacker grandson, Randy, is attempting to create a “data haven” in Southeast Asia – a place where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of repression and scrutiny. As governments and multinationals attack the endeavor, Randy joins forces with Shaftoe’s tough-as-nails grandaughter, Amy, to secretly salvage a sunken Nazi sumarine that holds the key to keeping the dream of a data haven afloat. But soon their scheme brings to light a massive conspiracy with its roots in Detachment 2702 linked to an unbreakable Nazi code called Arethusa. And it will represent the path to unimaginable riches and a future of personal and digital liberty…or to universal totalitarianism reborn.

A breathtaking tour de force, and Neal Stephenson’s most accomplished and affecting work to date, CRYPTONOMICON is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web, hinting all the while at a dark day-after-tomorrow. It is a work of great art, thought, and creative daring; the product of a truly icon

Amazing story, awesome characters and real page turner and a must and a splendid read for all fiction (sci-fi/historical/techno-thriller) fans. except for the ending overall this book is joy to read. I loved this book so much that I already started reading his Novel Anathem and planing to purchase his new novel Reamde.


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