A good book, with a few hours removed.
He seems a bit self indulgent. Perhaps he is trying to express to the reader that he is an educated man?
I enjoyed the reader.
Good characters, good story overall.
Stick to the story, develop the characters. This book had so much potential, and so much distraction from it's flow.
I could not finish this book. With that said I feel it was well written. Neal Stephenson is very well versed on cryptology. Most of the story is related to this science. If the reader is not highly interested in cryptology, which I am not, then this book becomes more tedious than entertaining.
This should be an ultra classic for anyone who loves epic novels and literature about the role of technology and learning in history and culture. The linking of World War II and nearly present day (1990's) events in a plausible, but fictionalized, account of how cryptology has influenced history is engaging and interesting.
This is a very complex plot that is "timed well" in terms of the transitions from one character or time to another. The characters are believable, round, and are people who the reader can sympathize with and the plot seems relevant to world events that most curious people can connect with. When the plot turns away from a character who the reader is engaged in and back to another whose story the reader has been dying to continue, the reader is kept very much on the edge of their seat until the finale.
I'm not sure... I devour books too quickly to keep track of the narrators, but he did a great job. This was probably the best narration I have encountered in an audio book! The voices are memorable.
Sometimes lives are connected by threads as complex as secret code... and genius and humanity are found in strange places...
Stephenson is definitely a literary genius who transcends genera and should have a place among the great authors of many lifetimes.
I missed a few key points here and there throughout the book while daydreaming. The book does require more than your passive attention to enjoy.
The WW2 part of the book was fun and I enjoyed the characters. The present day characters were far less realistic and shallow. The main story / plot could use some condensing and organization (sorting out).
There was more than one time when I thought to myself "hurry up and be over". It seemed to carry on in places. Maybe the abridged version would be better.
Performance was great. Audible producers seem to have a big stable of some very good talent.
I like it even more than Snow Crash. The narrator does a fair job, but he reads Bobby Shaftoe as an imbecile and keeps mispronouncing 'eruditorum' as 'eruditorium' for some reason. Besides that, he does a pretty good job.
I really enjoy the way the author describes every event and thought from the perspective of the character. A tremendous amount of detail is paid to adding logical details about math, computer science, and technology in general from the early 30's up to the late 90's. It's a joy to read at times but becomes exhaustive at others.
Nope, it's more of a casual journey through the book rather than a captive tale that I was dying to listen to at every available moment.
Love to listen in the car and while exercising.
This is expertly written by a very talented author, and he's funny, making similes and metaphors that frequently made me smile and sometimes even laugh out loud. William Dufris is an outstanding narrator and his performance keeps this very enjoyable, but also very long (40 plus hours) from slogging into tedium. He has the timing of a stand up comedian.
I don't even know where to start. Crypto and geek from WW2 to present. Great characters, excellent performance.
I enjoyed William's performance - would be pleased to hear him again. Less enthusiastic about Stephenson...
the backstoy regarding WWII
The swedish conflict scene and "love" story.
No. It spent way too much time on unnecessary details.
I enjoyed William Difris' ability to perform multiple characters deftly. Even the rather goofy voice of Sargent Shaftco grew on me over time. He's a quality performer.
I felt like Neal Stephenson could have spent less time on such agonizing detail specific to code breaking, software firewalls, etc. Much of this detail didn't advance the story at all. He had a capable hand writing some of the action scenes and interpersonal dialogue. I truly wish he had spent more time on these parts of the books. From my own personal perspective, I dislike abridged versions of any book; but in this case - a much heavier hand by his editor would have helped the story along and allowed the listener to enjoy his capable creative abilities.
Finally, the finish of the story seemed a bit convenient - more like the author wanted to finish the book than provide a more complete view of what happened the various characters.
Yes, a few things -
This is a very long book. That's not necessarily bad in and of itself, but I often felt that some of the extensive extremely detailed descriptions of scenery and such could have been left out without losing anything. Given the choice, I would have preferred an abridged version of the audio book, which cut out some of those long-winded descriptions, but kept the story. I would think as much as 1/3 of the book might be cut without harming the story.
The frequent use of the F word seemed unnecessary. I get that when a Marine is thinking or speaking, they're likely to use that kind of language, but unless it was a direct quote from Bobby Shafto, there are other ways to better express such things.
There were several places in this audiobook that I found quite confusing. I suspect much of this was because of the performance, and may not have been as confusing in the written form. For example, the story would often jump to a flashback, without any warning or indication something was changing. One second you're hearing about Bobby Shafto in the 'present' (from his point of view), and the next it's describing the time that he was on a beach being shot at from a cave overhead. I'm guessing that in the original written book, the flashback may have been in italics or had a *** or such dividing it from the previous paragraph, and that just didn't get translated over to the audio form.
Lastly, the ending seemed rather anti-climactic. The book started very slow, then built momentum as it went on, but when the end came, it sort of wrapped up some remaining loose ends of the story and then ended. There wasn't a 'big' ending. I kind of feel like maybe this could have been split into a couple of books. If it went about 3/4 the way through and found a good stopping point, the last 1/4 or so could have been the beginning of another which continued on to tell us more of what happens to Randy and the epiphyte gang beyond where this book ends.
It's very hard for me to name a book that is similar. Zero Day and Trojan Horse, by Mark Russinovich, are both modern day techno-thrillers, dealing with terrorists and digital attacks, so in some ways those are close. Kill Decision, by Daniel Suarez, is also similar in that way. However, they're all much shorter, and flow better, and they don't have the historic / WWII aspects that this book does.
It was generally entertaining. He did a good job of doing different voices and accents where appropriate. I can't imagine how long it must have taken him to perform/record such a long book!
Inspired might be the wrong word, but I do find that it gave the numbers part of my brain a workout, and have recently found myself thinking of things in a crypto or neurological way from time to time. It's definitely given me an enhanced different perspective on some situations.
I think I'll give the story 4 stars, with only the somewhat weak ending holding it back. The performance was good, but some kind of clue that we're going to flashback or changing characters or chapters would be helpful, so that gets 4 stars as well. However, overall, I'm going with 3 stars, because of the sections where things seemed to get very long winded with little purpose, the descriptions of scenery and locations are the most prominent examples which stick in my mind.