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Neal Stephenson

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This may belong in the general topic books, but as his stuff is directly related to technology and computers specifically, I'll post it in here. Snow Crash is fantastic. The prose, his satirical accuracy, and narrative strength all collude to make this a book that I have read over and over again, to the extent that it split in two and is now held together by packing tape.

He has a complete feel for whatever subject he's writing about, whether it be ecology/chemistry (Zodiac), cryptography (Cryptonomicon), or nanotechnology (the Diamond Age).

Anyone who appreciates technology and great writing should check him out. He also has a sense of humor.
 
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I've read "Cryptonomicon" and would like to add that it was a good book, a bit confusing at first, but well worth it in the end.
 

Phobos

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A big thumbs up for Snowcrash! The Diamond Age had many interesting parts, but was not as good as Snowcrash, IMHO. Zodiac is still sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.
 
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Zodiac is a bunch of fun to read. Not as dense as Snow Crash, but better than the Diamond Age.
 

Evo

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I just posted in another thread about Snow Crash (I guess I should have looked farther).

I loved it! When you consider that it was written in 1992, before the "World Wide Web" became a houshold item (thank you Tim Berners-Lee), it was quite a futuristic vision.

FIDO LIVES!
 

J/Psi

i like stephenson's books generally, but his latest, _quicksilver_, is awful, which is a shame considering it's based in isaac newton's era and the 'discovery' of classical physics is a big part of the story . . .
 
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Cryptonomicon/Snow Crash/Diamond age connection

I just noticed a little connection between Snow Crash and Diamond Age last time I read them Miss Matheson related to Nell about her "thrashing days".

YT recieves a GREPLOAD of money and gives up her thrashing In Snow Crash...

I think they are one and the same.

I think those 3 books stand alone FANTASMICLY, but they really are a trilogy.
 

selfAdjoint

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Heh, Indeed! Hadn't noticed that but I think you're right. Of course I haven't read Cryptonomicon (neither my old library nor my new one has it, and I try not to buy fiction any more).
 
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Cryptonomicon is an incredible book. I bought it when I was.. 14 I believe, first paycheck ever. Since then I've bought all his other books.. and have enjoyed him immensly. All his books tie together into a single view of the evolution of opur current world ;)

The electronic currency in Cryptonomicon leads to the devaluation of the dollar in Snow Crash.

The burbclaves, and other little mini governemntal entities in Snow Crash lead to the formation of enclaves and casual relationships between psudo governemnts there.
 

Phobos

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AFAIK (& IMHO), only Stephenson's Snow Crash & William Gibson's Neuromancer rate as cyberspace classics.
 

selfAdjoint

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I finished Quicksilver and am now reading its sequel, The Confusion (second volume of a trilogy, the third will be called The System of the World). I really liked Quicksilver because it was set in England and Europe and Massachusetts in the late 17th century, with Newton and Liebniz, but also all the political and military skulduggery of the time. Takes me back to Modern European History and English Constitutional History that I took as an undergraduate.
 

Evo

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selfAdjoint said:
I finished Quicksilver and am now reading its sequel, The Confusion (second volume of a trilogy, the third will be called The System of the World). I really liked Quicksilver because it was set in England and Europe and Massachusetts in the late 17th century, with Newton and Liebniz, but also all the political and military skulduggery of the time. Takes me back to Modern European History and English Constitutional History that I took as an undergraduate.
Thank you selfadjoint, I didn't realize that. I will have to read them now.
 
Paul Mark Tag's Prophecy reminds me of Neal Stephenson

I admit I thought Zodiac was one of the better eco thrillers out there. However I've also found Paul Mark Tag. Paul deals in plausible scientific scenarios in his new book Prophecy. Prophecy is an eco thriller much like Zodiac. I especially like Tag's use of the Johnstown Flood of 1889 that killed 2,209 men, women, and children. Neal Stephenson and Paul Mark Tag really bring eco thrillers to the table of litarture and give this genre some kick.

You can find more information on Tag's book Prophecy on Amazon or at http://paulmarktag.com
 
I realize that this thread has been effectively defunct for two years. However, none of the earlier postings have mentioned what I consider to be an especially interesting aspect of Neal Stephenson's tetralogy of historical science fiction. His Cryptonomicon, and the three volumes of The Baroque Cycle, all involve science and technology of bygone eras. Very few other authors of science fiction have dared to do this, to the extent that he has. By consideration of the details that Stephenson has included, a careful reader can find inspiration to learn (or relearn) topics in various branches of science, mathematics, and engineering, as well as in history itself.

So far, I have found more than a dozen examples out of these books, which I felt were worth working through. Some of my analyses are rather long (more than 20 kB), so that I have been posting them on a personal blog, rather than here on "Physics Forums". You can find "Science Lessons Inspired by Neal Stephenson", at http://www.engrphys51ku.blogspot.com/ .
 

mgb_phys

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My favorite review of Anathem

fiction_rule_of_thumb.png


The forum can't do alt-tags so the punchline is:
Except for anything by Lewis Carroll or Tolkien, you get five made-up words per story. I'm looking at you, Anathem
 
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I love Stephenson and Gibson. Must have read the Sprawl trilogy a dozen times, Cryptonomicon 5 or 6, and everything Gibson more times than I can count.

I can't manage to get through the Baroque Cycle though. Definitely good books, but there's just something about them that I found lacking compared to Stephenson's other books. I dunno, maybe I'll take another shot at it.
 

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