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.
I usually love really long, involved books, and I tried - really - to get into this one. In fact, I tried for about 20 hours! The different stories never came together, but the worst was the interminable reading of emails and codes. To make it worse, the narrator's voice was droning and boring. I finally gave up and never finished listening, which is very rare for me. I'm really sorry I spent 2 credits on this, and I'd give it zero stars if I could.
Certainly the best book I have ever downloaded from Audible and perhaps the best book i have read this millennium.
This was my first try at historical fiction. I found that this book got a lot of good reviews for the genre. It was an OK story but way way too long. When he would read emails we would have to go through the to, from, subject - including the RE nonsense. It almost made me want to throw my phone. He would also spend way too much time explaining linux/unix commands. He went into great unbelievable detail about almost everything. I am also not so sure I like the genre. So if you are a big fan of historical fiction -- you should probably ignore my review
If you you know little about WWII history this covers a lot of the cryptograhy from the period. The background to the fictional characters is mostly correct. The book has a lot of humour mixed with grim reality. I enjoyed it as a listen but felt it is perhaps a little too long.
It is not Stephenson's best book
A great book but the reading drove me crazy - the mispronunciations in particular. The voice types were distinctive but a bit unimaginative - why must all US Marines have strangled southern accents?A few other people, particularly for the women's voices, would have helped.
Before buying this book, listen to a sample and decide if you can take something like 40 hours of this reader's voice. After I bought it, I discovered the reader was the same as I had heard listening to Flying Through Midnight. I was not sure I could take the entire story in his voice. But I managed to finish it. If you love long books, this is certainly one of them! A book like this, however, should be read by a reader that grows on you rather than grates on you. Some characters are likeable in this book, but some sections get just a little too obsessive for my taste when it comes to details few people care about. A good example of this is a horridly lengthy description of eating a box of cereal. Or another example is a lengthy monologue about a mathematical function relating how effective one of the characters work is to how often he gets his manly needs met. If you like this sort of thing, you will love this book.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
Science Fiction is whatever SF readers read. Using this definition you may classify this as Science Fiction. But it is really a mainstream novel with extensive flashbacks involving related characters. Heavy doses of math and internet technology protocol lingo may make this seem like SF to those not accustomed to such nerdification, but there are no other SF trappings. In the 1960’s SF readers began reading THE LORD OF THE RINGS and made it into a Science Fiction classic.
I listened to this book immediately after tackling Stephenson’s ANATHEM—a novel that didn’t strike my fancy. If you read my review of that novel you will know that I am a big fan of Stephenson’s SNOWCRASH, and after being disappointed by his THE DIMOND AGE, decided to give some of his other works a chance in case he had more to offer. ANATHEM almost made me give up on that second chance, but I soldiered on trying to discover the reason so many are so enamored with Neal Stephenson. Listening to CRYPTONOMICON was, for me, a return to the fun and sarcasm that is so evident in SNOWCRASH. The tone of this book is so different than that of ANATHEM that I am left a little baffled as to just what that other book was all about.
This is twice as long as a typical long novel and even some trilogies are shorter. This is because it is really two novels—each novel being told in parallel to the other. One is among the cryptographers in World War II, and the other in the present day of techno-geeks, with some related characters between the two time tracks. As might be expected by such a lengthy book there is a cast of thousands and the plot is complex and multifaceted. There are so many diversions and rabbit trails that as a listener you must be in the frame of mind to go along for the ride, else you will become impatient waiting for the plot to advance. You will hear forays into various methods of code making and breaking, and will gain an smattering of internet technology along the way—and this is completely relevant to understanding the story. Wait until you learn what van Eck phreaking eavesdropping is all about! This novel brought out the nerd in me and if you have any inkling in that direction this book will strike a chord within you as well.
Also of note is the fact that both of these two books are narrated by William Dufris. In ANATHEM Dufris adopts, correctly I believe, a far-away sequestered-monk tone of voice with mystical quasi-philosophical Socratic dogmatic smugness. Here in CRYPTONOMICON Dufris has the freedom to fully explore his full range of voice characterization. He is most excellent when portraying various English dialects, clearly differentiating at least a half dozen different dialects—and his Germans immediately put images of crisp SS uniforms and monocles in your mind. I think that because this novel is full of quirky characters that Dufris was given free reign to portray , being allowed to go completely over-the-top in his voicings. His performance here reminds me of another wonderful Dufris-narrated book: WOKEN FURIES. He has delivered a truly wonderful performance that made this a very entertaining listening adventure.
An engaging plot. Characters I could care about, not merely observe placidly from a distance. A reader who bothered to research the material and the words he would have to say BEFORE he sat down to read.
Not at all, because it never belonged in "science fiction" in the first place. Others labeled this as "thriller", but I couldn't find anything resembling thrilling about it. I would have labeled it "historical fiction", if anything, but the primary label will definitely be "tedious".
It couldn't have been any worse. The reader mispronounced many frequently used words in this novel -- the most blatant being the language "Tagalog" -- to the point where all I could hear were the mispronunciations and not the story itself. (Isn't it YOUR JOB to check the proper pronunciation of a word if you are the reader?) As well, the voices he used sounded comical and corny, which was inappropriate for a dramatic reading.
Honestly, I found not one to be endearing enough to keep. Bobby Shaftoe's character was particularly irritating
What a colossal waste of a credit. I wanted a thrilling sci-fi story to occupy me for ~43 hours and instead I was bored out of my skull while nothing in particular happened and a ridiculous multitude of characters never managed to spring to life. I guess not every 4+ rated book can be a winner, but this was a huge time investment to make for...well, nothing. Nothing at all to happen.
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.