In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse - mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy - is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Watrehouse and Detatchment 2702 - commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe - is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence has cracked the enemy's fabled Enigma code. It is a game, a cryptographic chess match between Waterhouse and his German counterpart, translated into action by the gung-ho Shaftoe and his forces.
Fast-forward to the present, where Waterhouse's crypto-hacker grandson, Randy, is attempting to create a "data haven" in Southeast Asia - a place where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of repression and scrutiny. As governments and multinationals attack the endeavor, Randy joins forces with Shaftoe's tough-as-nails grandaughter, Amy, to secretly salvage a sunken Nazi submarine that holds the key to keeping the dream of a data haven afloat.
But soon their scheme brings to light a massive conspiracy, with its roots in Detachment 2702, linked to an unbreakable Nazi code called Arethusa. And it will represent the path to unimaginable riches and a future of personal and digital liberty...or to universal totalitarianism reborn.
A breathtaking tour de force, and Neal Stephenson's most accomplished and affecting work to date, Cryptonomicon is profound and prophetic, hypnotic and hyper-driven, as it leaps forward and back between World War II and the World Wide Web, hinting all the while at a dark day-after-tomorrow. It is a work of great art, thought, and creative daring.
©1999 Neil Stephenson (P)2009 Macmillan Audio
This story is a tale of fantasy, both past and present--what you'd like to imagine life will be, but it never is. Fun to read (listen). Unexpected twists. When he ties it all up at the end, you just have to smile.
The math/crypto explanations get a little tedious - nothing to explain unless you missed high school math - but the characters are unusual, interesting, and a bit wacky.
The narrator did a great job making the most of the abundant irony/sarcasm/humor that abounds in this book. I've never read anything by Neal Stephenson before because I am not totally into all the tech stuff, but after this book, I will again. Just first let me rest for a few months - this book moves at a maniac pace.
I read it a few years ago and have recently listened to the Audible edition . Enjoyed the Audible experience more. Not better, just different.
Waterhouse with Turing at IAS.
Bobby's many adventures are all great.
Bobby reunites with Goto on baseball field.
Neil Stephenson is one of the most creative writers of the last fifty years.
Sixty years young. Surfer, Kayaker, Abalone diver, Backpacker. Rabid reader/listener. I love Sci-Fi and Fantasy.
Yes, the characters become so much more alive in the audio format. I love the print edition, but the audiobook is richer .
Can't choose just one:Bobby Shafto, flawed determination, horny junkie. Both Waterhouse men( Lawrence,Randy) nerds as men of action. America Shafto, the woman of my dreams! Enoch Root, comic immortality, morality. Goto Dengo, just all around great character.
The U-boat Kapitane is killer too.
Both many times.
Some tough sections to get through early in the book where the math gets a bit deep but worth the effort. a masterpiece
Good characters fast moving fun you get to know the players you want to and not the lesser ones. Paul T.
Make it into two or even three books.
Different voices for different characters.
I did sleep through some of it.
Only halfway through book but have to say this is one of the best audio books so far (out of about 50 or 60) that I've heard. I've listened to Snow Crash and was looking for something similar from this book. There's two stories running concurrently - one during World War 2 and another in relatively current time and I assume they will intersect. By the end of the book I may have a different view on the story but I'm having quite a bit of fun along the way. Lots of pithy humor, most of it pretty funny and delivered perfectly. There's a lot of 'nuts and bolts' stuff about encryption and theory dispersed through the first part of the book and if you're not into learning as you listen you may end up zoning-out during those parts.
By the way, this is a really long book, good for me because I like 'em that way, bad for you if you're into short 'reads'.
Having been sometimes disappointed with previous re-reads (listens) of books I had really enjoyed in the past, I delayed getting this for some time. But this has been for me one of the most enjoyable audio books ever (and I have a few). Stephenson at his best. Well done all who were involved.
I really have enjoyed Stephenson’s Science Fiction: Snow Crash, Anathem, The Diamond Age etc.
Cryptonomicon is not Science Fiction. It is a look at past and current technology with the same eye that Stephenson brings to future and alien technology. I have a PhD in Astrophysics, and I know the history of the world war II code breakers, Alan Turing, and in general what math and science geeks are like. I think Stephenson captures the spirit of all of these very well.
I had to wait years for this to come out unabridged in Audible, but I am glad that I waited. The reader is great as well and I can't think of anything I would have wanted left out in an abridged version. Every word is worth hearing.
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