I read this book probably about eight to nine years ago after I read Snowcrash. I remember not liking it as much as Snowcrash, maybe because I wanted more of the tower of babel stuff. After listening to it, I have no idea why I didn't like it as much. This book is wonderful.
The beginning is a bit slow and the end is abrupt. At the end I did listen to a portion a couple of times to make sure I hadn't missed anything, but this book is delicious! It is full of future potential sociatal problems, science, what makes culture, how to raise children, and how to develop creativity, initiative, and fearlessness in a new generation. I thought it was fantastic.
If you are not familiar with Stephenson he does give you a lot of detail and is very descriptive in his world building. Some are bored by this and want more action. There is action, but I like that I come away feeling I learned something. He does explain processes and science in a way that if you are not a tech or science major you will understand him and not feel condescended to - no easy chore for an author.
The narrator was superb. Jennifer Wiltsie did a brilliant job, it was not over dramatized. Her accents were good, maybe not perfect all the time, but for the scope of accents she had to do and number of characters she did very well. Her characters were distinguishable and I believe I enjoyed listening to it more than when I read it. There were a few audio issues but Ms. Wiltsie made up for them.
Another thing I liked about this book is it deals with raising and growing strong women from girlhood. It is not a childrens book, but not all fantasy and science fiction has strong female characters, and this book not only has them but its a main focus. If you are not usually a science fiction buff, but want a good coming of age tale, this is still worth it. Get past the first five chapters before you throw it down and call me a liar.
Long time Audible member (8 years, 500+ books). Avid flyfisherman, hunter, bicycler.
I looked forward to this book since I loved Snow Crash. Boy was I disappointed. Not sure if the author was on LSD, or if LSD is required to listen to this book, but it's weird, disjointed and confusing. There are so many strange sub-plots that weave in and out of reality and bizarre fantasy. Don't assume that if you liked Snow Crash you'll like this - I didn't.
Better audio quality
It was a great book, but poor sampling or compression artifacts made it difficult to listen too with ambient white noise. Tinny, narrow range audio. Re-downloaded to ensure highest quality rate, but all qualities were poor.
Awesome technology and extremely well written, as one would expect. Narrator is excellent. This book gets pretty crazy...and you'll need to pay attention - but the story is insanely good. It is not as action packed as Snow Crash - but I would say this is still better.
There are 1000's of reviews and descriptions of all the important parts of this book, so I'll keep this short, but wanted to just mention - I just fell in love with little Nell - just so drawn into the story - concerned for her well being, happy when things go well for her... This is one of the books I have listened to numerous times (and will continue to).
I gave this book 5 stars even though the plot was somewhat predictable. The audio production is well done (as I have come to expect from Audio Renaissance).
I am an admitted technophile and I was very amused by the alternate technologies in this book. They have mastered nanotechnology but they travel by dirigible! I loved it!
This was a fun listen that I recommended to friends and family.
Sometimes it takes a while to get into the grove of a story but by the second paragraph of “Diamond Age”, I was hooked. Neal Stephenson is an extraordinary writer, but more than that; a poet, philosopher and futurist. This labyrinthine tale could be described as a “fairy-tale”, painted with luscious prose, sensitive characterization and deep insight; it is a story of rare beauty. The narration is exceptional, the experience delicious.
I have read Quicksilver and Snow Crash and enjoyed both for their new and edgy take on science fiction. The Diamond Age is fascinating from the science fiction view, but is much better than the previous books from a technical standpoint. The characters are well developed and the story is compelling. This book shows that Stephenson can use allegory and satire to show us the strengths and weakness of our current time by giving us a glimpse into his version of the future. There are many current day social and economic issues reflected in this work. It's a very stimulating read.
This was my first download from audible. I had read the novel many years ago, but was very impressed with the narration, which brought the book to life and actually added something to the experience. Her voice of the confuician judge from NY was especially fun to listen to. There was also something pleasingly self-referential about using my Ipod to listen to a book about a girl who is listening to a magic book that tells her stories.
I had started this some time ago, and hadn't gotten into it; so I put it down, just picking it up over the holiday weekend -- and I couldn't put it down. Really good story, unusal, lots of puzzles, and the narration was excellent.
This book was a good listen, however, just like "Snow Crash," Mr. Stephenson ends his otherwise in-depth, detailed novel as if he ran out of paper (or disk space). All the hours of the story and it ends in about 15 seconds. Still, it's a good book. Just be prepared to be dropped off at the end.