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
The book is 45 hours long, two hours in I know why.... the author rambles on and on trying to describe every single thing in what simply becomes annoying details... example? "Oddly, one of the tassels is burning. That isn't the only thing now wrong with he glockenspiel, but he can't quite make it out because his vision keeps getting obscured by something he must wipe way every few moments. All he know is the glockenspiel has eaten a huge quantum of pure energy and been kicked up to some incredibly high state never before achieved by such an instrument; it is a burning, glowing, shrieking, ringing, radiating monster, a comet, an archangel, a tree of flaming magnesium...." This is the type of nonsense that reoccurs about once a minute. UGH. Done, refund acquired.
This is my first Neal Stephenson book. I will try, another but not off to a good start.
No, this is the first.
Disappointment that there is likely a good story in the 45 hours of audio, but it's too exhausting to put up with the overblown descriptions used by the author.
less indefensible rhetoric. hes as lazy as Ayn Rand is at creating antagonists--i.e. shallow, poorly represented, emotional, irrational, and stupid characters. Its just unrealistic. At least present the other side of the argument instead of just your strawman.
Author is more interested in his self esteem than creating a good story.
no, too melodramatic
The history was fascinating. I liked the pace and pay off least. It was an extremely boring books at times.
No. I have listened to 5 other Stephenson books and all have been fantastic. This one was just boring. All of his other books are extremely technical, which I like, but they all have big surprising endings, like Anathem, but this was just blah.
Hes a fantastic narrator.
Not get into treasure hunting
Dont judge Stephenson by this book. Had I listened to it first I probably wouldn't go for another one of his books. I want new readers to see this and know that this one is not a good bar to judge his other works by. Read Anathem or Snow Crash first.
This book is awesome in it's detail and it really builds some powerful characters. If you have any kind of love for math, you will REALLY love it. It took me a minute to get synced up with the flash back and forward style, but I came to enjoy it. Considering the length, this is a great value. You won't be disappointed. I know it had to end, but I did feel like the ending was rather abrupt considering the lengthy set up, but I don't know if that is me or the book. I think I just wanted it to last longer. I wish I could have a beer with Doug Shafto!
I have not read the print version, and I expect the more technical, mathematical points in the novel might have been easier to follow in print, but then one would miss Dufris's excellent and often very funny reading of the Charles Dickens of sci-fi.
First, it should be said that this book should not be classified as sci-fi or fantasy. It is primarily a book about code-breaking during WWII. There are large parts of the book that take place during the present day, focusing on the descendants of the WWII protagonists. The discussions of code-breaking are fairly superficial, so if you are a expecting some nice mathematical discussions, you won't find them. Instead, the book is a collection of many plodding short scenes that eventually tie together, but it is not worth the effort getting to the end. I made it only because I was convinced that the book would get more exciting eventually. I was wrong. This book could have easily been 1/3 the length. I felt like the editor did not do a very good job.
The performance had flaws as well. Military personnel were narrated in an over-the-top "dumb grunt" type of voice. The only female voice started out being normal, then for some unexplicable reason took on a southern hillbilly twang for a while, then changed back. Huh? Some of the best narration was the Japanese (or Nipponese, as the author insists on calling them) characters.
If Stephenson was trying to write an epic tale, I don't think he succeeded. The only thing epic was the length. The plot would have been good had it been presented in a shorter book, but being so spread out simply made it boring.
A better reader.
He just wrecked what I thought was a pretty good book with his reading intonation.
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