it took a while to get through the unabridged version, but I truly enjoyed it. the parallel story lines of the past and future and the amazing details in which the author wrote the story were amazing. one can certainly read the amazing labor of love that the author put into this book. I love books that paint the story in your mind better than any movie one could see, and the amazing details of this book did just that. I do admit that, even though I tried to follow the math part of this book, it was sometimes above my head, but even with this in mind, the author was able to keep me engaged. I truly enjoyed this book.
I often switch back and forth between reading the printed book or e-book and having the unabridged Audible book read to me.
This was the first time I noticed, reading along as I listened, that when it came to a mathematical equation, the Audible reader just skipped it as well as the paragraph following that explained the variables. It didn't diminish the story and wasn't common nor a necessary detail to understand his thinking, but I did wonder why they did it. Equations like the ones in this book have a way to be spoken and I'd rather they spoke them in the unabridged versions. But having the book in front of me most of the time, I had to admit the omitted math took nothing from the book. So I didn't deduct any stars for their omission.
So far this I the best book of Neal Stephenson I've read. The richness of the history behind encryption and how big a role it played in WWI and WWII, the thinking behind cryptography and its breaking, the Bletchley Park stories, as well as all the present day stories, were interwoven into a gripping story I didn't want to stop, all the while learning a great deal about a great many things... Cryptonomicon was one of my favorite books of the year.
I just finished Snow Crash and greatly enjoyed it but compared to Cryptonomicon it was light-weight, maybe written earlier in his career; I don't know. I have several other of Neal Stephenson's books and look forward to listening to them and/or reading them, hoping for one to be equal or best Cryptonomicon.
I loved Snow Crash and was looking forward to another book from Neal Stephenson. Unfortunately many of his books are nothing like Snow Crash. There is little to nothing in his plot that makes me care about the characters, at all. I muscled my way through SevenEves and tried this book as well. I don't think there are any more books from this author that are worth my time.
The narrator in Cryptonomicon falls short of bringing this book alive to the listener. To be fare, I'm not sure whether it was due to a poor performance or the complete lack of interesting content.
I wish I could give this book no stars!
After delving into Stephenson's work, moving backwards entirely by accident (Seveneves, Anathem, now Cryptonomicon), I can confidently say he is one of my favorite authors.
Cryptonomicon is an utterly engaging, thoughtfully arranged, and brilliantly characterized work of historical/speculative fiction. The level of knowledge and passion with which he writes about subjects which would otherwise seem mundane is consistently impressive. He is able to make number theory and its impact on the development of cryptographic systems read like prose. A listener or reader with even the most remote interest in mathematics, technology, or just history will feel more than satisfied with how it is served. I learned a lot of things about a lot of different subjects from this book; geography, foreign culture and politics, geology, mathematics, number theory, computer encryption, etc. Stephenson is a vastly knowledegable writer and it shows readily, without ever feeling remotely dry, patronizing, or as if you are being lectured.
The story itself is told masterfully, jumping between characters and time periods with perfect pacing, so that no single scenario ever feels drawn out. Each time a chapter turned, I was simultaneously eager to return to the previous character to know what happens next, but overjoyed at the return to the character in the new chapter. All of the characters are connected in subtly realistic but vastly important ways, and all of their interactions feel perfectly human, and they come alive in the reader's mind. After reading the synopses for The Baroque Cycle and learning that Cryptonomicon characters' ancestors are involved, I'm excited to start listening to the series. I cannot say enough good things about this novel.
On top of all of this is William Dufris's narration. I became a huge fan of his narration with Anathem, and was further impressed in Cryptonomicon. His speech is perfectly paced, and he lends each character a distinct and consistent voice which feels perfectly suited to their demeanor and personality. Should Stephenson release another novel soon, I nominate Dufris to read it for Audible.
Narrator was too annoying, with characters voices. Seemed like it was forced especially with the Marine. If he did not try to act out every character it may have been better. Could not finish.
I don't usually give up on books I paid for, but this one was terrible. I'm pretty sure the main character suffers from Asperger's Syndrome and that might have had something to do with the narrative. I was optimistic that it might change with a new time period and new narrator. Once the author started in on the most bizarre collection of metaphors describing the scenery in a style of prose that would make even Tolkien say "Dear God, man, that's enough already!" I lost patience with it and gave up. Maybe it gets better. I'll leave that for other people to decide because I am over it.
This book is really fantastic, there are a lot of details that are included that weren't widely know by in the late 90s or even early 2000s. Even with the age of the book the concepts and ideas still hold up and help support a great story spanning 3 generations.
As this story slowly, eloquently unwound, I became more and more reminded of Thomas Pynchon's masterpiece, Gravity's Rainbow. By the time Stephenson brought it to a golden end, he'd surpassed Pynchon. Dufris' magnificent narration of this story, saturated with characters of many nationalities, kept pace with the challenge.