A Billionare saves the galaxy with help from the US military. Since the rest of the governments of the world don't want to put up the cash, it's up to the USA (as usual) to save the world and beyond with the help of a benevolent dashing charismatic genius billionaire (aren't all billionaires like that?). While the story and characters are engaging and the narration is well done, it also comes off as a rediculously arrogant pat on the back to the good old USA, it's military, and it's billionaires, painting civilians, union labor, and foreigners as ignorant selfish dolts who should be either pitied, ignored, beat up, or bombed out of existence, all of which of coarse is no fault but their own.
If you can stomach the ethnocentric arrogance, it is an entertaining read.
Many will probably disagree with this review.
Having read The Diamond Age, my expectations were pretty high going into this book, and when it comes to creating interesting characters and keeping the plot moving, the book undeniably comes through. In addition, the concept put forward is pretty unique, but I won't spoil it by telling you what it is.
My first complaint however is the slang and "abrev'ed" terms in the book. It sounds like Stephenson is trying too hard to create a "hip" futuristic culture and it just sounds awkward and contrived. Second complaint: when it comes to explaining the very original concept in the book, that's exactly what happens. Somebody just sits down, (sometimes in what otherwise might have been tense situations) and explains everything. So as original as the idea is, it comes out in exposition - not in the story. That's just a little too Scooby-Doo for me. Third complaint: at a certain point in the book, a favorite character does something so out of character that I wanted to puke. I won't say what, but was apalled and disgusted and confused. Maybe this is what the author intended, or maybe it's just my own hang ups talking but that turn in the story effected my opinion of the whole book. Didn't like it after that.
So there it is. That's what I thought.
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