Crypto Nomicon

Excellent book by NealStephenson. ISBN 0380788624

Yes indeed, very nice book. I give it a 9 out of 10. The only real drawback was the whole Finux debacle. -- McClainLooney

Neal Stephenson himself explains the Finux thing this way: "Since Finux was the principal operating system used by the characters in the book, I needed some creative leeway to have the fictitious operating system as used by the characters be different in minor ways from the real operating system called Linux. Otherwise I would receive many complaints from Linux users pointing out errors in my depiction of Linux. This is why Batman works in Gotham City, instead of New York--by putting him in Gotham City, the creators afforded themselves the creative license to put buildings in different places, etc." (see http://www.well.com/user/neal/)

Stephenson does something very similar in 'Interface' written as Stephen Bury (he is co-author with someone else - his uncle I believe). In 'Interface' there are numerous products / companies which are given alternate names, in this case possibly for reasons of it being politic to not suggest that Sun / ScottMcNealy etc. are involved in a global conspiracy!


==S P O I L E R S ahead==

The book really is ScienceFiction, rather than JustFiction? - there are going to be more books in the series set both forward and backward in time, apparently (the next one is going to be called QuickSilver). Actually, there are some clear pointers in CryptoNomicon itself that it's ScienceFiction, including, but not limited to one of the main characters dying during WWII and then turning up again alive in the 90s. (If this is a reference to Root, you may recall "Blanket Man" being ushered out after Julieta marries Enoch and he dies. Great care was taken to make sure no one saw Blanket Man leave.)

There is a discussion of Root which I found interesting at http://www.cafeaulait.org/cryptonomicon.html. --ChrisRudge


Am I the only one who hated this book? Well, I am being a bit unfair because I put it down about halfway through and haven't been able to pick it up since. The plot and theme was appealing, but that's about all. The writing struck me as really poor quality, and simply not good enough for the ambitions of the book. I really wanted to like this book, and secretly wish I could join the crowd in praise of it. But nope, it stinks.

You are not alone. I found the reading exceptionally dull and didn't even make it halfway into the book. Given the thing weighs about as much as a dictionary, I'm surprised you made it that far...

"Really poor quality" writing?! And here I was, gnashing my teeth, thinking how I could never, ever write something of such scope -- and such cleverness -- in my entire lifespan. The book absolutely demolished me with its complexity, originality, and attention to physical detail. His depiction of the Philippines was near-perfect. (And I'm a guy who lived for about four years in various parts of the Philippines, including where Yamashita -- maybe -- left some actual gold.) --David Frossard

Admittedly, Stephenson is not a master stylist, like RogerZelazny or WilliamGibson. I mean, he's hardly illiterate - he has a very clear, straightforward, easily digestible style, but you won't find anyone gushing over his gorgeous prose. One does not read Stephenson for the sheer polished beauty of the words themselves, but for the story they tell and for the alternately humorous and insightful observations he makes along the way. -- MikeSmith

The problem is not the writing quality, the ideas, or the storytelling, but rather the editing. The book tends to ramble. -- BillCaputo

I thought the rambling was part of the humor. Like he spends 5 pages on wisdom teeth and then ties it to America in one sentence. And you're left going "WTF?!?! What kind of a metaphor is that?" Except that it's really funny when you go WTF. -- JonathanTang

And after its near-pornographic depiction, I'll never be able to approach cereal eating in quite the same way again.

I thought the rambling was half the fun. Sometimes I had to go back and read a couple of pages again, just because it was so rich in the use of language and imagery. He made it so easy for me to picture the place or thing he was describing. I kept wanting to share by reading it aloud to someone else. To me, Gibson is dry and boring by comparison. This is one of the few books that I'll be able to read again, just for the pleasure of it. Jane Smith

The real question is why wasn't the book 30% shorter. Which 30% would you get rid of? CryptoNomicon - 30% = CryptoNomicon - ( baby + bathwater )
The rather spare entry at BookShelved [http://bookshelved.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?Cryptonomicon] Anyone care to migrate?
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