Except for the occasional weird mix of technologies (some out of time or place?) I found Interface intriguing and engaging.
What seem like one-dimensional characters are revealed to have greater purpose.
Love to listen to books in the studio.
I would easily read anything that Neal Stephenson writes. I'm in love with his style, convoluted plot lines and fun speculations on culture and technology, but I wonder if maybe this book suffered from too many cooks spoiling the soup. There were moments that I was thrilled by, that I knew without question Stephenson was in the writer's seat...and then a majority that I wasn't. The premise is a good one, especially in our current election season, but somehow it really read like somebody came up with an idea and asked Stephenson to polish it up here and there with his signature style. I've been spotting Mall Concubines, Coupon Sniffers and Economic Roadkill all over the place. That said, I'd be dubious of other books with Stephenson and... in the byline.
The narrator has some great voices he employs to help one keep all the cast of thousands straight, but geeze. SLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW going. Thank you Audible ap for the speed selector.
My reviews are always pending.
Neal Stephenson is one of my favorite sci-fi authors, but his collaboration with J. Frederick George in "Interface" does not work. Too much politics and not enough sci-fi. The first half of the story is very entertaining about the senator and his stroke and his implant, but after that, the story became something from John Grisham's catalog, very bland and predictable.
This could been a great read because the narrator was a pleasure listen to, but there was too much about Washington DC and not enough tech and sci-fi. This book fails for any avid reader of this author.
I was hoping that the story would get better and more technical, but even at the end, (at the president's inauguration), there was a glimmer of hope of geekness, but it totally failed to get my interest because there was too many yawns in between the read.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
This being an election year this is the year to read this book, if you are a political junkie. A lot of the book takes place during the primaries. Even though it was written in 1994, it is amazing how many of the issues are still important today. The economy is bad and the federal debt is high. The book starts out with the president making his State of The Union address. In the speech he announces that the United States will no longer pay the interest on the debt and that this is the age of forgiveness and we expect to be forgiven our debts. This sets the markets to crashing and to put the people who actually run the country (The Network) into action. They plant a biochip into the governor of Illinois and get him into the race. With the biochip they can control his thoughts and actions.
After reading Snow Crash I thought this would be a cyber-book with lots of tech. The biochip and a sort of emotional detector are the extent of high tech. Written in 1994 there are no CD's, everything is on video tape.
The book is so bogged down in detail I almost gave up on it. I don't know what editors get paid for, but evidently no one edited this book. For examples: we meet a taxi driver, the taxi driver has nothing to do with the story, yet we get a total description of his looks, his dress and his motivations for living and we get the same for a female message carrier. We are told what type of undies a character wares, even though it has nothing to do with her character. We meet a lot of characters and then never hear from them again. If you have bought the book and are about to give up, skip over until you meet Elanor. This character is fantastic, you will fall in love with her. She really starts hitting her stride about chapter 23.
There is a lot of interesting stuff about stereotypes, polling, statistics, liberals, conservatives, conspiracies, etc. Some of the political comments are spot on, no matter what side of the fence you are on.
At 12 hours this could have been a 5 star book, but at 26 hours I have to go with three and a half. I am getting tired of writers who think every little thing they write is great literature and wasting my time.
But, just don't read it after something like "All The King's Men" like I did. What a bad idea. There is no comparison regarding plot or writing.
But assuming you transition to Interface more wisely than I did, it could be very entertaining for you, especially if you are a Neal Stephenson fan. This is my first Stephenson book. I don't know how much J. Frederick George collaborated, nor have I read any books by him.
I am not sure I will read another Stephenson. The plot of this book undermined itself. I am not sure if the author really kept control over where this book was going. Between the editor's review and the first of the book I really thought it was going to be a lot more intense and and more...oh, maybe a bit more Manchurian Candidate-like. It was nothing of the kind. But I am not sure the book knew it was not going there when it started.
Maybe the collaboration of the two authors contributed to the slightly schizophrenic feel to the plot. If I try another Stephenson book it will be just him and I will remain open-minded til then.
In the meantime take the recommendation of other Stephenson fans and be aware while Wyman was not the best narrator, he is not a deal-breaker.
As I'm not a native speaker a good reading performance is key to the pleasure and understanding.
After just listening to a very well read Reamde from Stephenson this book is a pain to listen to.
Please note, this is not a full review!!! I am a Neal Stephenson fan, and I just began listening to this book this morning on the way to work. I don't believe the issue I'm writing about will ruin the book for me, but it is a pretty annoying failure on the part of Audible, the producer of the audible version of this book.
To the point, the initial character, Cozzano, is from a place in Central Illinois named Tuscola. I grew up in Central Illinois, and know of what I speak.
In the Audible production, narrator Oliver Wyman pronounces "Tuscola" as "TOOS - ca - la". The proper pronunciation is "tuss - KO - la" (with a long oh sound).
In preparing for this production, all it would have taken is a quick call to the Tuscola, IL city hall to ensure that the audio experience was satisfying. As an audio experience, this mispronunciation makes me cringe a little each time I hear it. Audible, please do your research before releasing an audio book.
As I said, this small issue will not prevent me from continuing to read the book, but it is an example of sloppy production. Otherwise, Mr. Wyman has, so far, done a wonderful job narrating, and do not necessarily hold this issue against him (unless, of course, it was his responsibility to ensure proper pronunciations). Wyman's voice is easily listened to and understandable, enhancing the audio experience thus far.
I am excited to continue listening to this book, and once completed, I promise to write a proper review.