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June 12, 2007 / Tracey

Review: Cryptonomicon | Neal Stephenson

I’ve been reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson for several months now, and what a mammoth task it’s been! I’ve had to take a break and read other books in between, but I’m thrilled to say I’ve finally finished!!! Well, what was it about? That’s difficult to say, but here goes: multiple plots, set in present time and World War II, it’s both science fiction and historical fiction. Theme is cryptology, a difficult subject at best, and the themes of war, business and politics were in there, to name a few.


Neal Stephenson is a literary genius, and I can’t imagine how he kept track of all the plots, sub-plots, characters, and the level of information is amazing. It’s not often that I laugh out loud in a book, but I did so every time I picked up the book, and some of the jokes have stayed with me. I was also shocked by the boldness and scene depictions, which will also stay with me.


The fact that the book is >900pgs long, and printed in small typeface, made it tough going, and the feeling of satisfaction when I finish reading a book was denied me whilst I was reading this doorstop of a novel. I think I would have read it quicker were it broken down into 3 novels, but that’s just a personal opinion.


Would I recommend it? Well, that’s difficult. I enjoyed it yes, but would only recommend it if you are happy to spend the time required, and can handle the technical references which are extremely detailed and at an extremely high level. Stephenson’s vocabulary is to be admired, and I loved the many different references and language of different characters, I really don’t know how he does it.


I am in awe, but don’t think I’ll tackle any of his other books this year.


My rating = *****


That’s my four bucks!

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