"The Big Time" hasn't aged well. On the plus side, the novel does create suspense, and I found myself interested in aspects of the characters. But overall, the themes won't resonate much with the modern reader and the characters are a bit thin. Readable if you are a student of science fiction (it won the Hugo), but give it a pass if you are looking for a great novel.
This book won the Hugo Award, and was well deserving. It has excellent and fully developed characters that live in an interesting and complete world, but the ending causes the book to fall short of a true science fiction great. I use the word "ending" meaning the book stops but the book doesn't really end. There is no strong climax and no conclusion. Loose ends abound. It has the feel of too many science fiction novels that are teeing up for a sequel, although Stephenson has yet to provide one. Read it for the rich characters and story lines, but don't expect a satisfying finish.
Jennifer Wiltsie does a good job narrating the story, and I like the way the music is used during the transitions. Unfortunately the sound quality could be better, as Wiltsie sometimes sounds as though she is too far from the microphone which creates an almost mono effect. All and all she treats the female and male characters equally well, and it is generally easy to forget that she herself is there.
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