October 2011 Archives
October 31, 2011
October 30, 2011
October 18, 2011
October 4, 2011
"Neal Stephenson's most accessible novel yet," said the publisher blurb about Reamde. By this they mean:
- It's not Science Fiction
- They haven't read Zodiac
- It's got enough plot for a trilogy of thrillers
It begins like other Stephenson novels, slightly slowly, meandering somewhat, yet with that inimitable geeky style. It appears to be a contemporary novel about a MMORPG video-game but then very suddenly it all kicks off and accelerates and doesn't slow down for a long time, and then only to catch its breath before breaking into a sprint again.
If you want the quick analogy Reamde is like Neal Stephenson doing Robert Ludlum in the present. It's an action thriller and a highly entertaining one.
Like other recent Stephenson novels, it's big. 1042 pages in the hardback edition. A veritable brick. It doesn't read like it though, it's not full of tangents and discursions, it's taut and fast and populated with characters that I came to care about. Characters who have the grief piled upon them again and again, and who I was willing to succeed.
I was never the slightest bit disappointed that Reamde wasn't Science Fiction, interestingly in complete contrast to William Gibson's Zero History. Somehow Stephenson manages to capture the present without making it feel like the past, he has that nerdy understanding of culture and technology that never feels cool and removed but engaging and real.
Reamde is tremendous fun, not whimsical fun, but high octane guns and explosions fun, and probably the best value pence per minute entertainment that I have purchased in recent years.
It's not SF but it's all Neal Stephenson.