Certainly appropriate for college age and up. Maybe not for some high school more naive types.
Neal Stephenson mixes history and alchemy. Alan Turing, Ronald Reagan and Komodo dragons. Oh my!
...and if it's gonna take 7 pages to explain the math, by God, it's gotta be.
This was a very long story - and quite interesting - but slowly told and the end left me rather disappointed. The book just ended - I perceived no building storyline intensity and then the story ended. There is so much rich story in here - I thought the author could have done more with it.
I am constantly listening to Audible books and reading one or more print books. This is the only book I have given up on in five years. I am going against the tide here but I felt this book was too long and some of the rabbit holes the author explored really didn't add to the story. I got 3/5 of the way through before giving up. I kept waiting for something to happen in the story but it didn't in the hours I spent listening.
Some of the sections he included didn't add anything to the book. I really didn't care to get pages of description of his breakfast cereal.
Yes, because 50% of it would be removed to make a movie
When I read Anathem, which I thought was a masterpiece, I had only one minor quibble, which was that Stephenson's description of the organ machinery near the beginning was overly long and tedious without adding anything important to the story. I chose Cryptonomicon in hopes that it would be a similarly fascinating story, but what I found instead was the same frustrating flaw, this time repeated over and over again throughout the entire 100+ chapters. Don't get me wrong; Stephenson is a master wordsmith that can spin out metaphors like nobody's business, but I really don't need multiple pages on the special experience of eating a bowl of Captain Crunch cereal, complete with texture, shape, milk distribution, temperature, etc. (I kid you not). It's the kind of thing that makes you want to open a vein. Worse, when the book finally ends, you've already known almost exactly where the plot was going for quite some time, and all the details are just suddenly tied together as if the author woke up abruptly and realized that he'd been going on too long and needed to put this thing out of its misery or it would never stop.
All that having been said, the book does have some redeeming qualities. Once I was about a third of the way in I'd grown accustomed to the style and didn't just stop reading, even though I suspected there would be no big pay off towards the end as there was with Anathem. The narration was a big reason for that, as it was perhaps the best of any audio book I've ever heard. Every paragraph was a performance, not just a reading. The priceless impersonation of Douglas MacArthur alone made me smile every time I heard it. And Stephenson did manage to inject some pretty good humor from time to time. The hyperbolic description of a particular bus ride in the Philippines made me laugh out loud and continue chuckling about it for a long time afterwards.
A good writer knows when to leave things out, or when to trust an editor to cut them out. That doesn't seem to have happened here. If you think you can forgive that sin and go in with the right expectations, you might still enjoy the read. Otherwise I'd move on.
The book is great, and the narrator has a nice voice and a decent cadence, but the non-standard pronunciations started to get on my nerves after a while.
The book drags on for too long and the payoff isn't worth the needless length. Throughout the book there's so little tension that it makes it difficult to stay engaged. The detailed descriptions of cryptography and hacking and their processes are interesting but the book feels like it never knows where it's going.
Have a more focused shorter novel. The multiple story lines is problematic because you already know that several of the characters aren't in real peril. Similarly when there is peril, it's obvious.
Solid, measured, good.
I would shorten the segments on Goto Dango. I would cut the entire "penthouse letter" segment. Also much of the story-line surrounding the crypt really serves little purpose. (*Spoiler: The main antagonist is mentioned briefly early in the novel and resurfaces at the end and the build-up or pay off isn't sufficient). It feels like the entire story isn't very cohesive. There's too much ancillary stuff that doesn't serve the plot. Had the "fluff" been more entertaining, it would have worked but it doesn't.
The historical fiction is very interesting.
So Massive in fact that is difficult sometimes to follow, great characters just a little over caricature, but is the WW2 and people back then had just different values. It bmade me question facts over history to a deeper level that I was expecting.
The story really covers a lot of ground, and while it's not something to enter into lightly, it engages you and just packs on layer after layer, and you find yourself getting more interested as time goes on.
It's hard to pick a favorite character, but I'm very interested in Enoch Root. He's intentionally an enigma, but that just adds to the mystery. But Goto Dengo is equally interesting, stretching through time as he does.
He keeps his voice buoyant, which keeps his cadence from becoming tiresome and at the same time doesn't cause him to sound moronic.
Oh, God no. That would be improbable. It's almost 2 days long.
Cryptonomicon is my favourite book of all time. I first read it as a boy and found that I could easily identify with Randy's geeky and uncertain nature. 13 years later I find myself working on Randy's crypt. The lines between fiction and reality has blurred for me. This book has become a bible now, a prophecy.