This may have been a better book read than it is in audio. Keeping track of what year, country and land mass was difficult. I didn't listen past Part 3, Chapter 5.
Only the Nippponeze who survived 6 months in the jungle.
I read epic sci-fi and historic fiction, good non-fiction science, classic philosophy, history and little bits of what blows through my ears
If you care nothing for the events of WWII, nothing for cryptography, and nothing for technology then you might not want to choose this work. However, if you do, I'm betting you'll find a new appreciation for these subjects. Stephenson's scholarship, character development, humor, plain talk and refined insights weave an engaging tapestry.
Unfortunately the author has chosen to criss-cross the story back and forth through space and generations like a toddler with a crayon forgetting, perhaps, that we experience life in a forward directed line before we can remember it dis-jointly. This whiplash seems unnecessary and self-indulgent. I kept wishing I had started diagramming the story at the outset.
Compounding this problem, the audio book seems to have a considerable sequence error according to other listeners. I have not verified this against a paper copy, but recommend that a paperback or ebook should accompany this version.
I am not thrilled by Dufris' narration, but it is on aesthetic, not fundamental grounds. I found myself pulled out of the story over and over to roll my eyes. Perhaps he was channeling his author, or both of them were channeling the characters, letting a certain male adolscence take over what might have been a more expressive subtlety and literary state of mind.
All this said, I still really enjoyed the story and found that I really wished it had gone on long enough see what kind of people some of the characters became.
William Dufris did such a wonderful job with all the characters, I can't pick just one.
I loved this book, but is probably not everyone's cup of tea. I didn't want this one to end and will likely listen to it again. If Enigma Machine or the NSA mean nothing to you, likely you should skip this one.
My short review: Buy it, buy it, buy it.
My longer review:
This book was the first audio book I ever listened too. However it soon became the "gateway drug" to an audiobook addiction that I have happily engaged in since those first heady moments of wonderment as the book whisked me away to another time and place.
Cryptonomicon is a well crafted and masterful journey across decades as Mr. Stephenson weaves his tale of intersecting characters, lives and realities. I have listened to most of Mr. Stephenson's books outside of his Baroque series and this book stands alone in its complexity and adherence to earth-based characters instead of the science fiction based character's that people most of his others books.
The mathematical concepts and the thoroughness in which the book outlines cryptography principals and theory's will astound you. While I have never done the research to see if what Mr. Stephenson writes is true in fact, it SOUNDS true and you will believe it. The moral of the story and thought provoking take on what is becoming a reality of sorts in our world today with regard to technology will make you think hard about the possible consequences of life lived "online".
The intersecting of the characters across generations and the juxtaposition of life during World War two and now is nothing short of brilliant in its execution.
While my other foray's into the worlds of Mr. Stephenson have left me feeling somewhat less than thrilled, this book is not to be missed. And when its over, you may find you have become so engaged with the characters, you miss them as you would miss friends who have left your life.
A bit about the performance. I will admit that in the first few minutes of the book I was unsure if I liked Mr. Dufris's voice. There was nothing wrong with it, it just was a little different. However it took a very short time to become accustomed to its rhythms and cadence and by the end of the book I would not have thought another artist possible of producing the same story.
Cryptonomicon is a 5 star story all the way around!
Cryptonomicon is a rambling story that rewards the listener in many ways. Neal Stephenson has a great imagination and is a very good story-teller, if not concise. Cryptonomicon jumps around between eras and characters at a steady pace, making keeping up difficult at times - especially as sometimes a character tells their story retrospectively. There are many laugh-out-loud hilarious moments which make this an enjoyable listen. Overall if you like techno-thrillers you will probably love this story. Final points: Cryptonomicon is not SciFi as described by some people. The narration is excellent, enhancing the story.
I want to visit all the places in this book before I kick the bucket.If you like Submarines, Encryption, Jar-Heads, Dysfunctional Families, Encryption, Hacking, Jar-Heads who meat Ronald Reagan while high on Morphine, The Japaneses Art of Digging Holes...
There isn't any other book like this..honestly!
William is a Genius. The Voice of Bobby had me Saluting in my Car .. rolling down the window and shouting .. Sir! Yes Sir! to a small Asian Lady.. she was a not too impressed
I finally understood what the world is all about! Until this book, I was just a small amoeba swimming in the ocean, now I am a Super Nova!
25 Minute Commute to work ..this book took me 3 years to listen too! I have added all the places in this book to my Bucket list.
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.