It is difficult to chose one element. This story mixes social and scientific ideas with a World War II war story, cryptology and the world of tech startups in pacific asia, along with many digressions along the way. Somehow Neal Stephenson manages to make it work seamlessly.
The thing that sets this book apart is how Neal Stephenson manages to incorporate both complex scientific ideas in great detail, to the point where you might be able to implement a simple crypto system after reading this book, but also complex social ideas. E.g. there's a wonderful scene where one of the main characters - a nerdy programmer type - is present at a meetup of leftist social science and literary types about technology and the "information super high way" (aka. the internet), and it is honestly quite funny.
I'm not sure. All three of protagonists and several of the supporting characters are all very interesting, well written and complex characters.
Dufris' narration is great. He is able to enhance the atmosphere of the wide ranging scenes and he brings the characters to life.
It made me laugh on several occasions.
Felt confused a bit as I went to different points in history with apparent flashbacks to give the planned 'oh so that's what they did'. Overall very good. Reader was great. I preferred baroque cycle series.
a tough one to follow for the casual listener. lots of jumps back and forth from character to character and time to time with no apparent relation for the 1st 1/3 of the book. Good story though.
I really liked SEVENEVES, and I liked snowcrash, but this felt very disjointed with 2 parallel story arcs of different eras competing for the readers attention and with long time gaps between each arc such that I found each new chapter jarring to sort out what the proper context was. Another thing is that the book characters felt very silly and more like caricatures driving the plot than something at all believable. They don't even feel consistent, seeming to make wild decisions and popping up in strange places in the narrative. The ending felt like it had no payoff. Also, the book is really long and felt like it could have dropped some characters and plot lines so there could have been more focus on the more main characters and interesting arcs. I never ended up really caring for the characters, which with a military and computers background I thought I would.
On the plus side, I (assume) I learned quite a bit more about WW2 especially how things played out in the Pacific, and about code breaking, early computing, etc. Some of the vignettes I liked quite a bit and some of the characters I wanted to get to know about much more (GD), I was hoping for a big payoff but I never felt like I got it, which is how snowcrash felt too actually.
Finally a book that gets all the math, computer science, and general science correct. Though the story is fictional, it helps that the history isn't far off either.