I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
Neal Stephenson books are always highly rated on Audible, but man, this guy just doesn't do it for me. Cryptonomicon jumps around in it's narration for no discernible reason. If you're not listening to it all in one sitting, you're not going to follow the multiple story lines.
But it really doesn't matter because all the story lines are boring anyway. I mean, a couple of them start strong, but boy do they get stale fast.
Two thirds through the book and I barely care about any of the characters. I'm a bit confused as to what's going on in a couple of the plot lines, and too bored by the book to go back and re-listen.
This is the third Stephenson book that made me feel this way. I'm done. And I'm not going to punish myself by sitting through the rest of this plodding nonsense.
Well, lets just say that i dont know of anything that could have made this book better. Less needless description maybe.
the performance was decent. different voices, different personalities, etc. He just read a bad book.
morbid depression and confusion
This is my first review and i have been a member for about 6 months, with many purchases. I wanted to find another genre to get into. I enjoy The Remaining, Monster hunters international, Mountain Man, things like that. This book spent 25 minutes describing...in slow, agonizing detail... the math that figured out how far a bike will go if it has one bent gear tooth and one bad link in the chain... Painful. 15 minutes telling the history of a womans' outfit and the reason that her people think color of any kind is sinful. And she didnt even have any part in the story.....Painful. If you like to listen someone read things like "the letter read q, t, l. s, t, l ,k, a, p, e, s, n, x, but i figured out that l = e. So now it read, q, t, E, s, t, E, k," etc., then you might enjoy this book. Its like Stephen King meets fictional, jumbled history.
Runs with scissors.
Love Neal Stephenson his humor is so spot on and the flow of this book is excellent. And William Dufris completely rocked the narration. A perfect reading as far as I'm concerned. The best metaphor in fiction: the manual override. Well done.
First, two words: William Dufris. Home-dude is a vocal genius. Every character, Every. Single. Character. is acted to a masterpiece. In fact, his vocalizations are so well done that he probably could have dropped quote attribution (E.G.: Randy said) and I wouldn't have suffered in the least.
Second, two more words: Neal Stephenson. I love Stephenson's work, but this is his best piece. I by no means dislike any of his other books - I love them - but this is Magnum Opus. It's the most literary of all his work, the plot grapevines through about 50 years of time and all of the characters are interrelated. I don't understand why this isn't required reading in high schools.
That it exists. And that I can read it.
Also, that it exists. And he performed it. And I can listen to it. Someone should invent the audiobook Grammy's, just to give him one. Seriously, they'd only need one show that lasts 15 minutes to give Dufris his AB Grammy, drop the mic and walk home.
It's a combination of moments. The evolution and progression of the characters and plot in general. Stephenson's depiction and Dufris' performance of General MacArthur is eff'ing hillarious.
clocking in at just over 40 hours. You certainly get your money's worth of quality sometimes majestic story telling. Sgt. Bobby Shaftoe is an American cryptanalyst. His orders are under no circumstances to place himself under possibility of capture. Skipping two generations, Randy Price Waterhouse is a 1990s cryptanalyst working on the cutting edge of cyber-law, and is in love with America Shaftoe, Bobby's granddaughter. Goto Dengo is a Nipanese Officer and Engineer, and Rudy von Hacklheber is a mathematician and cryptographer who befriends Waterhouse and Turing as they explore and develop early computing and crypt analysis. Gunter Bischoff is a U-Boat commander, and Glory Altamira is the mother of Douglas MacArthur Shaftoe. Brilliantly narrated by William Dufris. This novel along with Stephenson's The Diamond Age are two of the most impressive novels I've listened to in the scale of Lem and Dick. However, his Snow Crash is something I just didn't cotton onto.
I really enjoyed this book. I laughed on how 2/3 of the way through the book, I still wasn't entirely clear on the plot. Normally this would bug me, but it was so well written that I just enjoyed the ride to see where it was headed.
I also have to say, the narrator was very good. Hard to beet.
As a 30 hour per week traveler and over 12 years on Audible.com, I seldom write a negative or neutral review. However, I felt compelled to advise my fellow listeners about this title.
The book is sooooo slow to pick up speed and I am talking 10 to 15 hours here to pick up speed.
Even then, it rambles on. It sounds like it is about to get interesting only to shift gears once again.
It is a novel about interesting issues that span the course of generations of family members. It starts in World War 2 (about 1941 or 1942) and comes close to present day times.
It contains many interesting tidbits if you have a strong math/technology background.
Trying to seperate the generations of family is a bit difficult as the names and functions are so similar.
If you want a really long book where the engagement and excitement is spaced long enough for you to calculate your tax return in your head without missing a beat, then this is for you.
It has it's high spots but I can not recommend it to the listener that wants a fast paced, exciting, easy to follow read.
Gardening Geek/Fishing Freak/CADninja
After listening to Snow Crash I thought I was ready for some more Stephenson. Boy was I wrong.
This book had me wanting to claw my eardrums out. I only finished it so that I could write a review with a clear conscience. I fully sympathize with those who could not push through like Bobby Shaftoe through an enemy line.
There are brief entertaining moments, corns in the turd if you will. Particularly the WWII segments involving Goto Dengo. But these are followed by mind numbingly boring overly descriptive droning about things normal humans don't care about.
Long sections of this book are like sitting in The Dentist's chair having your molars removed while attorneys stand around explaining to you in legal jargon how The Dentist is suing you for breach of contract because your teeth didn't pop out as easily as expected.
I suspect that I am simply not smart enough to "get" this tome. Too many characters to keep up with in two different time lines. Too much obscure math that I don't understand, and don't want or need to understand, and I'm an electrical designer.
I have Anathem sitting on a bookshelf at home, staring at me, mocking me. It just may end up in a used book store.
Certainly the best book I have ever downloaded from Audible and perhaps the best book i have read this millennium.
Three story lines allow for some good ol fashion WWII fun, an intellectual discussion on math a cryptology, and a modern take of some beneficial use of the two. Only down point(s) for me were a slightly stereotypical view of humanities academia, and masculinity. But the draw backs are few and more asides then part of the main narrative.