Other Books Read By This Author (3)
- Some Remarks
- The System of the World
|07.09.15|| Man, what a great book. One of the great things about Neal Stephenson is that, while his interests and style are very much unique, they are also wide enough such that each new release of his is quite different from the last. Where his last one was a straight techno-thriller set in modern day, this one is hard science fiction starting out in the very near future and spanning far far beyond.
I walked into this book knowing nothing which was great, but I guess I have to talk about it a little bit on here so... spoilers ahead.
I just love that two thirds of this book deal with an apocalypse scenario in standard level of detail and technical acumen that Stephenson is known for. It winds up being a huge bummer to spend so much time thinking about the end of the world, but it's also riveting to follow along as it happens. And if the book was just the first two thirds, it would have been really good, but the last third is like the start of a second book. The chapter's called '5000 Years Later' and picks up generations after generations later, to the point where you could maybe skip the first 600 pages and get everything from the context of what happens in the last 300. But having all that context so firmly in mind makes every movement of every character in those last few hundred pages resonate. It's like reading history as it happens then getting to fast forward until it's legend.
And the book has such a strong point of view that several mysteries arise just from separating narratives. Like what happened to the Mars people? And I had a question while reading the first page that the book didn't address until the last one (what was the Agent!?). It's worldbuilding done on a master level. You don't just want the book to keep going, you want a whole series of books to follow exploring everything. There are so many ideas jammed into this book, the last third especially, that there's literally not enough room to properly address all of them. The fact that the pingers show up for like 10 pages is so insane to me. In the hands of a different writer, this book could've started in a different spot, been about different things, and went in different directions while maintaining the same setting and characters.
I'm going on and on. I just really loved this one and it's fun to think about.|