This book rocks. I’m going to have ta buy the Baroque Cycle soon.
Cryptonomicon defies classification—just how I like my books. You can find elements of cyberpunk, historical fiction, SciFi, spy stories, war stories, love stories and the gods know what else here. I’m not gonna try and list ’em all.
The story runs simultaneously in two timelines, with multiple POVs in each period—endless fun. Foreshadowing, aftshadowing, whatever you wanna call it—each chapter blends very nicely with those around it.
I love the way Neal Stephenson’s explained technical stuff here. Any non-technocrat should be able to ‘get’ the grizzly details.
At times the serious-ness and paranoia shown by some of the characters lightens the mood, other times it’s quite disturbing. Particularly effective are the descriptions of the ‘lawsuit culture’ and the lengths the characters go in order to ‘enhance shareholder value’.
No use trying to describe the myriad plot lines, and any attempt to simplify and explain the basic plot will not do justice to the book.
Will leave you with some choice quotations:
Randy was forever telling people, without rancor, that they were full of shit. That was the only way to get anything done in hacking. No one took it personally.
Charlene’s crowd most definitely did take it personally. It wasn’t being told that they were wrong that offended them, though—it was the underlying assumption that a person could be right or wrong about anything.
One evening when Avi and his family had been over for dinner, Randy had said, “I’m the beard, Avi’s the suit,” as a way of explaining their business relationship, and from that point Charlene had been off and running. Charlene has recently finished a scholarly article, deconstructing beards.
Chester’s eyebrows go up. Amy glances out the window; her hair, skin, and clothes take on a pronounced reddish tinge from Doppler effect as she drops out of the conversation at relativistic velocity.
“You know what this is? It’s one of those men-are-from-mars, women-are-from-venus things.”
“I have not heard of this phrase but I understand immediately what you are saying.”
“It’s one of those American books where once you’re heard the title you don’t even need to read it,” Randy says.
“Then I won’t.”