So some time back, I picked up Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver, just to take a look at how well the ebook was formatted, and I ended up not putting it down until I’d read not only it, but also The Confusion and The System of the World. I read these books when they came out, but this was my first time reading them all together. Previously, I’d believed they were brilliant, but occasionally slow in a few places. My revised opinion is that they’re super-brilliant and amazing and I was underrating them before. I know that not everyone will like these books as much as I do, but they’re pretty well on my list as the best books I’ve ever read.

Somewhat later, I read Neal Stephenson’s Reamde, which is a very different sort of thing. The cover material tries to make it sound like a science-fictiony thing about VR or videogames or something, but in fact it’s just got a thin hook relating to a WOW-style videogame, and really it’s a standard-issue technothriller.

On the one hand, that’s a disappointment from someone who’s capable of writing stuff like the Baroque Cycle. On the other hand, hey, Stephenson’s gonna write what he wants to write, and taken on its own terms, as what it is, this is an exteremely well-done technothriller, and I tore through it quickly.


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