First, buying this book is a big commitment. 42 hours. You might want to read a free chapter or three from some ebook vendor before committing. I’m glad I spent the time, but not everyone will.
As some other reviewer wrote, this book’s plot is secondary to Stephenson’s ideas. There is a plot, and it’s complex and interesting, but it’s often more about the technology (high and low) than the people.
The people are colorful but not three-dimensional. Male characters are interesting and fun, but you don’t care about them. Female characters are there to relate to the male characters — this book flat-out fails the Bechdel Test.
There was one laugh-out-loud moment for me. I won’t spoil it for you.
The reader is great overall — good acting, superb voices, easy to listen to, and convincing foreign accents. He make a few outright errors (reading “deadliness” as “deadlines” was bad). He needs to have someone check his work for pronouncing things like “potentiometer” and even the difference between exploit as a verb (ex-PLOIT) and a noun (EX-ploit). But unless you’re more obsessive than I (not likely), these are ignorable.
I enjoyed the book, but at the end felt unsatisfied. I’ll read/listen to more by Stephenson, but for relaxation, not stimulation.
I liked the connections across the generations. The least interesting part was when Randy went home to visit his parents.
I liked Randy
This book has some major flaws. Things just happen out of the blue. Like what happened in the jungle toward the end. There was no explanation as to why that happened. All of a sudden he was there. The book was long but you felt like parts were missing.
I love Neal Stephenson - thoughtful plots, interesting characters, and I always learn more than I expected to for a piece of fiction. That said, this is not his greatest work - the characters are not as fleshed out as they could have been. However, I still think his stories deserve a great narrator (think: Simon Prebble for the Baroque Cycle), and William Dufris is not the guy. His accents were just plain bad. It's like he's never heard a japanese or philipino person speak before and was just completely making it up. That said, I don't think there is another version and the story is still totally engrossing.
I'm a technician that does a lot of driving for his job. I use the "windshield" time to listen to audiobooks.
First I want to say that the narrator, William Dufris, is GREAT, which is a good thing because this book is over 40 hours long. It should have been 15 hours long, but the author meanders through out the book way too much. There is a 10 minute section in which one character thinks about the perfect cold milk to Cap'n Crunch ratio. For 10 solid minutes. I'm not kidding. Fortunately the tangent story telling that does not advance the plot is well written, but after awhile it just gets exhausting. By the time your done with this giant meandering story, you're glad it's over, and the end is really worth the 40+ hours of your life. Value wise, for one credit, it's a good deal, and as I stated William Dufris does a helluva job, so over all I'm giving it 4 stars because of the narration (5 stars), and the story (3 stars).
A solid story line
I could not keep track of the characters and the plot was elusive.
The narrator was good.
I do not have a clue.
A wasted credit.
YES! I'm a geek. This book is about geeks and geek things. It is long but you don't even notice after a while.
I don't have one. The book is so long that you end up associating with and growing fond of different ones.
I liked his performance of Bobby Shafto.
There are some pretty graphic scenes dealing with war that almost made me turn it off for the day numerous times.
I originally read this back when it first came out on paperback around the 2000 time-frame. I loved it then. But seeing the 42 hour timeline on this made me a bit hesitant. I only get to listen on my daily commute and this will be an eight week endeavor. The book just starts with a kick and keeps on going. I'm 1 hour away from the end and I really wish there was more story.
A lot of clever humor and an enjoyably punchy writing style, this book had me laughing out loud on a few occasions.
Potentially a good story
Ruined by the author's obvious problems with women and academia. I get it, you were one of those unloved nerds, but really, women aren't that bad once you get to know them, and all academics aren't really really stupid.
Listened to the book again after reading it (more than once) several years ago. The story holds up amazingly well,
I listened to this after listening to the complete Baroque Cycle (much better narration). I loved how everything fit together.
Do audio books have editors? Or are they producers? Either way, this recording needed a better one. There were mispronounced words throughout the book (TAH-GAL-OG not TAG-A-LOG. Type Nineteen U-Boat, Not Type EX-EYE-EX). Why does Enoch Root's Australian accent disappear?