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.
The narrative is intermittent and entangled with big slabs of maths-speak. I tried rewinding to listen to the same part several times to try to understand the maths (I'm not a maths person) or the more detailed elements of the encryption systems, but soon grew tired of this exercise and let those (tedious) sections roll over me. There was still plenty there to capture my attention and keep me listening through the lectures. This is a perfect book for your programmer friend.
probably not. it was way too long.
Definitely not. But it was interesting enough in some parts where I didn't stop.
Some parts felt like they were out of place (like chapters back and forth). I think the book is in great need of an editor who can cut out some useless parts and then it can be turned in a great book with a few hundred pages less... :-)
Say something about yourself!
I would recommend this book to a friend with the disclaimer that they should have a decent background with math and computer science. However; I felt that the author took detours that weren't necessary contributions to the story. If you were to take these detours out the book would had been 5-10 hours shorter. Ouch!
Less detours. Really.
The scene that described the invention of the first digital computer!
I have already recommended this book to several of my friends!
The story about riding in a bus behind a truck loaded with pigs... Made my side hurt laughing so much...
This book is long but well worth the read. The characters were very interesting and the story keeps you engaged the entire time. At first it was hard to follow the two different story timelines...
I stuck with this book for the first three hours but just couldn't get involved in it. It's not that it jumps from time and place, it just doesn't hold you in any place. I've rarely left any book unfinished but I've left this one.
Clearly the writer had a command of the history and technology underlying this story. The read was thoroughly entertaining and gave insight into little discussed yet interesting topics. The book is long with numerous side stories, some of which bear little direct impact on the plot. There was for example, an endearing vignette on the perfect way to consume Captain Crunch cereal that exposed perhaps excessive understanding of obsessive, compulsive character. The portrayal of the key Marine was beautifully done and you would swear you have met this person somewhere else. The history of China and the Philippines during WWII was graphic but portrayed that era in an understandable manner.