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
Possibly if the reviews were good.
There were many interesting and fun parts of the story. Anytime Bobby Shafto appeared the story was great.
This would not make a good movie unless it was subject to some serious editing.
The story was about two times too long and suffered from the authors interest the details of codes. It could have been good.
This is one of the best books ever. I listened to the 44 plus hours in about a week. Thought about the book for a few days, and then listened to it again. The book follows no formula, is multi-toned, and is nothing like anything else I’ve ever encountered. I can’t imagine anyone but William Dufris as the narrator.
I first read this book ten years ago, and it made a big impression. I was glad upon revisiting the audio version that the story still holds up so well. The complex narrative is really something of a masterpiece.
I thought this was especially good in audio format. I remember reading the book that there were long passages of formulas and hard to pronounce names like Ghnxh. Dufris does a great job with all of that. His narration is excellent, especially his voice for Bobby Shaftoe. I forgot what a funny character he was in the book. Even funnier narrated by Dufris.
I was reminded listening to this book that it really doesn't need to be filed away in the sci-fi section. There's really nothing sci-fi about it other than some of the characters being computer geeks and cryptographers. Its a touch of historical fiction, techno-thriller and a dash of Catch-22.
Anyway, unfortunate that this one costs you two credits, but well worth it for this dense, complex tale that you can definitely listen to more than once.
This is a LONG audiobook. And I enjoyed every minute. The story weaves together one generation of WWII cryptologists (and a bad-ass Marine with a heart of gold) with a modern time group of computer nerds intent on storing data in the Phillipeans (and finding a river of gold). You have to hear it to believe it.
The narration is quite good. There are some mindrattling mispronounciations, but the reader makes a real effort to vary his voice for each character, and does a creditable job -- even with the women. I live in Tennessee, and don't recall hearing anyone with quite the accent of Bobby Shafto, but enjoyed every minute of his dialogue.
One reviewer noted some omissions in the narrative. I wrote Audible before I bought it and they assured me the omissions had been repaired. I didn't have the printed book to confirm this, but I noticed nothing being left out.
This book is worth your time.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
This is very long, perhaps too long. But like Stephenson's editor - I can't imagine what could have been cut. Stephenson is maybe a genius. He doesn't write so much as weave.. and the tapestry is complex. Yet... thanks in part to William Dufris read, I was always comfortable moving over the abrupt pattern and texture changes. Interestingly Stephenson not only manages a vast historically accessible cast and setting(s) but he has a voice that's effectively droll. This is my second Stephenson book... Reamde was first. I recommend them in that order not so much that they are in any way related re. plot or characters, but Reamde is an introduction to Stephenson's astonishing grasp of so much in a shorter/smaller work. I recommend it and him and Dufris and ... Cryptonomicon.
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.
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