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    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2012 edited
    I had similar problems with Snow Crash where, as in Reamde, the main plot involves the need to prevent the mindless Asiatic invaders from reaching America's sacred virginal shores.

    However because Stephenson has such a huge rep I tried out Anathem and fucking loved it.

    I guess I need to avoid those Stephenson books set in a near-contemporary setting.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2012
    re: Neal Stephenson - I was recommended Cryptonomicon, so I bought it at a used bookstore in the summer of 2010 for like a dollar or something. Then I met Edgar and he mentioned that he had read it and didn't really care much for Stephenson's work. I think someone originally told me to read it because I mentioned that I was into cyberpunk and then I realized not long after I bought it that it isn't really a cyberpunk fiction, so now it's just kind of sitting on my shelf. Part of me wants to read it, but I also just feel so uninspired to because I'm being told more and more often that it's not as amazing a read as I had originally been led to believe. I'm sure i'll get to it eventually.
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2012
    I think Vorn really echoed my thoughts on Reamde. I am enjoying it and I do find some of the characters to be great, but he just isn't getting the culture of MMORPGs down and it's kind of annoying me a bit. This is a world that seems like a combination of WoW and Second Life and it just feels like you're putting a character on google maps and showing minimal detail on the conversations had in-game. I mean, I'm not too far in to the book, but that seems to be my feelings on it. I even found myself thinking, after reading the description of the game, that it sounds boring as hell.

    And I do wonder if this book could have been cut in half.
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2012 edited

    Cryptonomicon was all kinds of awesome when I read it in around 2001, but I don't think time has been that kind to it. The crypto stuff there is genuinely fascinating, though, and I really recommend people to give it a chance.

    Annoyingly, though, he got a lot of his Finland stuff a bit wonky there - I don't think WWII era Finns were that fluent in English and the names were Estonian, not Finnish...
  1.  (10422.385)
    Has anyone else read The Diamond Age? Seems to have faded into history a bit. I enjoyed it at the time. Deals with nanotechnology and subculture based communities.
  2.  (10422.386)
    Diamond Age was rather cool, but somehow it just fell through the cracks for me too even after reading. There were some quite nifty ideas in it.
  3.  (10422.387)
    I loved the imagery of the black dusts of decommissioned nanotech (A long time before i heard of Grey Goo scenarios).

    His earlier books are worth a look too; Zodiac and Cobweb. I must admit I couldn't get into Cryptonomicon, and haven't read any of his later books.
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2012
    Alexander Pope's translation of The Odyssey.
    Will be coming home with me tonight.
    I don't care that I can't afford it and that it's crazy hot and the book is heavy because of illustrated.
    It made me cry, it is so beautiful.
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    @Kosmo - I'll admit that I read (and greatly enjoyed) Snow Crash at fairly uncritical age, and I haven't checked back on it, but I'm not sure your "mindless Asiatic invaders" characterisation is fair.

    Isn't the plot a Korean-African-American (Hiro) assisted by a white American teenage girl (YT) and a Mexican woman (Juanita) attempting to save the world (including a convoy of south-east Asians) from the evil plot of the Straight White Male villain? (L. Bob Rife - and Texan, to boot). I'll give you there are Chinese pirates, but the only true Dread Asiatic (Raven) is, for what it's worth, an American (an Aleut).


    Everything else I've read by Stephenson has been pretty interminable, though. Cryptonomicon started to go off the rails for me with the overdeveloped tangent about the Qogham people or whatever the fuck, and when they turned up again in the first book of the Baroque Thing I just put the book down and gave up.
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    The Baroque Cycle is the best Stephenson I've read, by far. Nothing else even comes close...

    Just started Vernon Vinge's THE CHILDREN OF THE SKY, a sequel to A FIRE UPON THE DEEP. Really enjoying it.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    256, at one point, someone spots Hiro at a distance in a boat full of pirates because, in Stephen's own words, he's the only "white" person in the boat. The pirates, you'll recall, are a mix of chinese and russians.

    So Japanese-americans are "white" in Stephenson's mind while Russians aren't.

    He's an extraordinarily talented writer and an extremely intelligent man - who appears to have some really serious issues around race and nationality that get in the way of that.
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    I'm reading Timothy Findley's Famous Last Words, and have been for two weeks. It's been a long two weeks. I may have to re-start it when I get a chance.
    That said, I totally want to see The King's Speech now. And any other piece of media relating to the king's defection, ever. Fascinating stuff; we got way more of an education in American history than we ever did in imperial history, here in Canada.
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    I don't get the racism accusations against Stephenson. Especially with Reamde. The main character is an Eritrian war orphan immigrant. Multiple heroic characters are Chinese. There are Russian heroes and villains. The big baddies are multi-ethnic Muslim extremists because they are Al Qaida.

    All of these characters share pretty equal focus with some white male characters.

    I think you have to read with a grudge to see racism in that.

    I'm a bit biased toward Stephenson, as he is one of a handful of authors who I will read sight unseen anything they write. But having read everything of his so far, except the Mongoliad, I really struggle to see a basis for calling the books racist.
  4.  (10422.394)

    Yeah, I agree on that, maaaaybe a little bit of oversensitivity going on there. Okay, the "borderline racist" was a bad choice of words in my last message, I don't really even think that about Reamde. For me it was just totally and utterly ho-hum with the islamic terrorists as the bad guys, just because they are such obvious baddies nowadays.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2012
    I love how two of the Jihadi terroists are an openly gay couple.

    Because al Qaida are all about the gay sex.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2012
    It's almost as awesome as the bit about how one guy joinded Al Qaida because he couldn't get a girlfriend.

    Obviously none of them joined about anything as trivial as 500,000 dead Iraqis because Those People just have no respect for human life - as opposed to the heroic Spetznaz veterans of their noble war in Afghanistan.
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2012 edited
    Finished Scalzi's Redshirts audiobook yesterday, which had none other than one Mr W Wheaton himself reading it. As good as the main story was, I really enjoyed the three codas: funny, wistful, touching and a nice way to round everything up.

    My only minor bugbear with it, and, from the get-go, I admit it's more of a personal hang-up thingy, was the way he formatted/framed/ended Every Line Of Dialogue using "[Insert Character's-Name] said" with, as far as I can remember, little or no variation. Might not be a problem when reading the book, where your brain can automatically skip over it, but when it's repeated god knows how many times during each and every exchange it wore a little thin for me. Fussy fecker, I know, sorry.
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2012
    @Kosmopolit: I'd like to know the full quote and context of Hiro being identified because "he's the only "white" person in the boat", especially as Hiro, described as "half-black, half-Asian", is about un-white as can be.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2012 edited
    Sorry, I'm not going to re-read the entirity of Snow Crash looking for it at this point - and it was the utter absurdity of the statement that made it stand out.

    If I still have a copy of Snow Crash and if I find the time, I'll look for it.
    • CommentAuthorSteve Toase
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2012 edited
    There is a PDF here you can download and search