Picking up the book always put me off of diving into this story, as the thickness of the book just made me reflect that I couldn't invest the time necessary to get into it. This made it an excellent choice as my first Audible listen, and I didn't regret it.
William Dufris does an amazing job capturing the voice of the different characters... the needed character reminders of "Randy said" or "Shafto commanded" start to become noticeable, due to the fact that they don't seem to be necessary... at no point was I confused as to who was saying something, due to Mr. Dufris spectacular voicing.
From a few dozen books I've bought on Audible (most of them quite good), this is the only one that made me actually get out here and rate it.
Besides the novel itself, William Dufris does a great reading, really puts his soul into it.
A must for any geek who's into computers, UNIX, math, crypto, or WWII.
Yes, Neal Stephenson's stories require that you pay attention as you listen, because he densely loads them with information. For this reason, among others, I would not place his novels into the category of "Escape Fiction." Nor "Thrillers." "Cryptonomicon," in particular, disturbed and upset me, sometimes, although at other times it made me laugh out loud. His graphic descriptions of heinous atrocities committed during the Second World War definitely upset me. He also describes -- repeatedly and in vivid detail -- the anguish, discomfort, distraction, and obsession that men apparently suffer from sexual abstinence. Perhaps I ought to know better by now, but this depiction of male horniness -- although rendered hilariously in "Cryptonomicon -- did surprise and disturb me. It made me feel a bit sorry for men (although I expect that every single one of them would prefer horniness over childbirth, if they had to choose). It also, single-handedly, explains the Mars/Venus phenomenon. Like all of Neal Stephenson's novels, "Cryptonomicon" includes lots of technology, science, and math, which one needs to grasp at least a little bit in order to follow the story. People without a pretty cerebral inclination might not enjoy it, as it places a lot of demands on the forebrain. Throughout the novel, Stephenson refers to Japanese as "Nipponese," and Japan as "Nippon." Even the American soldiers in the story called the Japanese "Nipponese," or "Nips," rather than "Japanese," or "Japs." I kept expecting him to explain this nomenclature, but he never does; and I don't think the WWII soldiers actually used this nomenclature. Perhaps Mr. Stephenson is displaying respect and political correctness, at the expense of verisimilitude? William Dufris does an excellent job, as always, of narrating this book. I especially appreciated his rendering of the difficult German/Australian accent of one of the characters. Finally, although Audible doesn't provide for rating the production quality of their audiobooks, I do wish to communicate a strong message regarding their production of "Cryptonomicon." The copy that I downloaded had bookmarks approximately every hour, evenly spaced, not even corresponding to chapter breaks, or even sentence breaks. Audible, please don't do that. Please don't space the bookmarks much further apart than 3 or 4 minutes; and please make them correspond to some logical breaking point. Thank you. Glad to have gotten that off my chest.
The narrator almost entirely ruins listening to this book, which was a tremendously good read. Glaringly he mispronounces the frequent Philippine words and place names. He narrates sentence by sentence rather than appreciating the developing line of the story being expressed. I would not have used up two credits for this if I had payed enough attention to sample the quality of narration beforehand. My bad.........
I read Cryptonomicon years ago, but downloaded the book to give it a listen -- and it was an absolute joy. It's a generations-long story that has kept me company on the road for many hours. Never has math been more interesting and intriguing.
I really enjoyed this book. I laughed on how 2/3 of the way through the book, I still wasn't entirely clear on the plot. Normally this would bug me, but it was so well written that I just enjoyed the ride to see where it was headed.
I also have to say, the narrator was very good. Hard to beet.
If you you know little about WWII history this covers a lot of the cryptograhy from the period. The background to the fictional characters is mostly correct. The book has a lot of humour mixed with grim reality. I enjoyed it as a listen but felt it is perhaps a little too long.
It is not Stephenson's best book
A great book but the reading drove me crazy - the mispronunciations in particular. The voice types were distinctive but a bit unimaginative - why must all US Marines have strangled southern accents?A few other people, particularly for the women's voices, would have helped.
Before buying this book, listen to a sample and decide if you can take something like 40 hours of this reader's voice. After I bought it, I discovered the reader was the same as I had heard listening to Flying Through Midnight. I was not sure I could take the entire story in his voice. But I managed to finish it. If you love long books, this is certainly one of them! A book like this, however, should be read by a reader that grows on you rather than grates on you. Some characters are likeable in this book, but some sections get just a little too obsessive for my taste when it comes to details few people care about. A good example of this is a horridly lengthy description of eating a box of cereal. Or another example is a lengthy monologue about a mathematical function relating how effective one of the characters work is to how often he gets his manly needs met. If you like this sort of thing, you will love this book.
As a 30 hour per week traveler and over 12 years on Audible.com, I seldom write a negative or neutral review. However, I felt compelled to advise my fellow listeners about this title.
The book is sooooo slow to pick up speed and I am talking 10 to 15 hours here to pick up speed.
Even then, it rambles on. It sounds like it is about to get interesting only to shift gears once again.
It is a novel about interesting issues that span the course of generations of family members. It starts in World War 2 (about 1941 or 1942) and comes close to present day times.
It contains many interesting tidbits if you have a strong math/technology background.
Trying to seperate the generations of family is a bit difficult as the names and functions are so similar.
If you want a really long book where the engagement and excitement is spaced long enough for you to calculate your tax return in your head without missing a beat, then this is for you.
It has it's high spots but I can not recommend it to the listener that wants a fast paced, exciting, easy to follow read.