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
Runs with scissors.
Love Neal Stephenson his humor is so spot on and the flow of this book is excellent. And William Dufris completely rocked the narration. A perfect reading as far as I'm concerned. The best metaphor in fiction: the manual override. Well done.
First, two words: William Dufris. Home-dude is a vocal genius. Every character, Every. Single. Character. is acted to a masterpiece. In fact, his vocalizations are so well done that he probably could have dropped quote attribution (E.G.: Randy said) and I wouldn't have suffered in the least.
Second, two more words: Neal Stephenson. I love Stephenson's work, but this is his best piece. I by no means dislike any of his other books - I love them - but this is Magnum Opus. It's the most literary of all his work, the plot grapevines through about 50 years of time and all of the characters are interrelated. I don't understand why this isn't required reading in high schools.
That it exists. And that I can read it.
Also, that it exists. And he performed it. And I can listen to it. Someone should invent the audiobook Grammy's, just to give him one. Seriously, they'd only need one show that lasts 15 minutes to give Dufris his AB Grammy, drop the mic and walk home.
It's a combination of moments. The evolution and progression of the characters and plot in general. Stephenson's depiction and Dufris' performance of General MacArthur is eff'ing hillarious.
clocking in at just over 40 hours. You certainly get your money's worth of quality sometimes majestic story telling. Sgt. Bobby Shaftoe is an American cryptanalyst. His orders are under no circumstances to place himself under possibility of capture. Skipping two generations, Randy Price Waterhouse is a 1990s cryptanalyst working on the cutting edge of cyber-law, and is in love with America Shaftoe, Bobby's granddaughter. Goto Dengo is a Nipanese Officer and Engineer, and Rudy von Hacklheber is a mathematician and cryptographer who befriends Waterhouse and Turing as they explore and develop early computing and crypt analysis. Gunter Bischoff is a U-Boat commander, and Glory Altamira is the mother of Douglas MacArthur Shaftoe. Brilliantly narrated by William Dufris. This novel along with Stephenson's The Diamond Age are two of the most impressive novels I've listened to in the scale of Lem and Dick. However, his Snow Crash is something I just didn't cotton onto.
As a 30 hour per week traveler and over 12 years on Audible.com, I seldom write a negative or neutral review. However, I felt compelled to advise my fellow listeners about this title.
The book is sooooo slow to pick up speed and I am talking 10 to 15 hours here to pick up speed.
Even then, it rambles on. It sounds like it is about to get interesting only to shift gears once again.
It is a novel about interesting issues that span the course of generations of family members. It starts in World War 2 (about 1941 or 1942) and comes close to present day times.
It contains many interesting tidbits if you have a strong math/technology background.
Trying to seperate the generations of family is a bit difficult as the names and functions are so similar.
If you want a really long book where the engagement and excitement is spaced long enough for you to calculate your tax return in your head without missing a beat, then this is for you.
It has it's high spots but I can not recommend it to the listener that wants a fast paced, exciting, easy to follow read.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
Neal Stephenson books are always highly rated on Audible, but man, this guy just doesn't do it for me. Cryptonomicon jumps around in it's narration for no discernible reason. If you're not listening to it all in one sitting, you're not going to follow the multiple story lines.
But it really doesn't matter because all the story lines are boring anyway. I mean, a couple of them start strong, but boy do they get stale fast.
Two thirds through the book and I barely care about any of the characters. I'm a bit confused as to what's going on in a couple of the plot lines, and too bored by the book to go back and re-listen.
This is the third Stephenson book that made me feel this way. I'm done. And I'm not going to punish myself by sitting through the rest of this plodding nonsense.
Well, lets just say that i dont know of anything that could have made this book better. Less needless description maybe.
the performance was decent. different voices, different personalities, etc. He just read a bad book.
morbid depression and confusion
This is my first review and i have been a member for about 6 months, with many purchases. I wanted to find another genre to get into. I enjoy The Remaining, Monster hunters international, Mountain Man, things like that. This book spent 25 minutes describing...in slow, agonizing detail... the math that figured out how far a bike will go if it has one bent gear tooth and one bad link in the chain... Painful. 15 minutes telling the history of a womans' outfit and the reason that her people think color of any kind is sinful. And she didnt even have any part in the story.....Painful. If you like to listen someone read things like "the letter read q, t, l. s, t, l ,k, a, p, e, s, n, x, but i figured out that l = e. So now it read, q, t, E, s, t, E, k," etc., then you might enjoy this book. Its like Stephen King meets fictional, jumbled history.
really good book. the overall story is good. Alot of the villains are poorly set up and are thus not very meaningful. it's more about the journey and it's a good one. in audio format there are these time jumps that don't play well, and at first it can be confusing.
Except for a few chapters, the story is just page after page of the author's written indulgence. Too many words with too little impact. Like the author, the narrator worked very hard, but his voices were usually over the top and often irritating. Ok, they earned my $14.95 . . . But I would like my 42hrs back!
While I enjoyed many aspects of this book, including the characters and different time periods used, it was overall a letdown as the story just peters out and doesn't really leave me satisfied.
"Outstanding Translation of a Classic"
I'd already read Cryptonomicon, a couple of times, prior to listening to it. I couldn't have been more pleased. Dufris captures the essence of this weighty journey admirably, and his intonation and studied understanding comes across with real heartfelt sympathy for the motley collection of characters and rich locations both historical and contemporary. I couldn't have been happier at the treatment of what I believe to be Stephenson's finest book.
"Jumped around too much."
Too many barely related plots. And a very slow start. Definitely no replay potential. Very disappointing.
"Long but worth it!"
Good story, and a prospective on the Second World War from many prospective...
Good insight into the development of modern computing and hacking
"Not just for geeks but study may be necessary."
A tome of knowledge and insight that's worth absorbing slowly over the course of its epic runtime. Sequences of drama amd action are crystalised in Stevensons gripping blockbuster style but the real worth is most often coded into the subtext.
"5 stars all the way..."
Wow! I enjoyed this so much. As anyone who has researched the book at all will have gleaned (with a view to possibly reading it) it is long, and hugely detailed in places it doesn't really need to be. For me the side roads and avenues it explores throughout really added so much to the whole experience. If you want a book to stay on target and not beat around the bush - you possibly will not enjoy this.
William Dufris does a fantastic job of narration. He brings characters to life and absolutely captures intonation and tone brilliantly. I'm not sure I'd have enjoyed reading it myself - Dufris adds to the experience immensely. There is a lot of humour in it - and I laughed out loud many times.
Now that it's finished I am somewhat bereft. I enjoyed this substantially more than some other Stephenson work (e.g. Baroque Cycle - although I've only ventured as far as book 1).
Going into so much detail, suprised it ended so abruptly. Still, very interesting & enjoyable.
"Work of art"
This is a really great book. Sure some of it is a bit long and arty but it has covered all bases and I guess that was the one I didn't like. This book has its tough and gentle characters. Funny detailed complicated and depressing moments mixed in together. Well worth a listen if you have 42 hours to spare
"reading big words"
Neal Stephenson has done amazingly, no complaints there.
William Dufris, despite his many excellent talents, doesn't know how to pronounce a lot of words. This seems like a prerequisite for an audiobook. Words from any foreign language or even many words over 3 syllables just got butchered, like he had never said them out loud before.
Please publishing companies: give your performers a pronunciation guide for all the rare, foreign, made up, or difficult words!
"Ambles along too much"
I am a little confused by this book. It seemed to amble along and assume the reader knows what direction it is going to take. Nothing became clear or apparent until the last 3 hours of the book. The first 30 hours just seemed to be the character aimlessly flitting about the world. By the end it all seemed pointless and lost.
There was something about the way the book was written which didn't feel right, the best way I can describe it is that it felt like the book was written by The Comic Book Store Owner from The Simpsons. There always seemed to be that element of geeky sarcasm. The way in which it was narrated was the same.
A marathon listen....this is a Very long tale.from the start it grabbed me and never let go,great characters woven between WW2 and the near present day.as others have said it tends to ramble at times,but in my opinion this adds to its appeal.Some parts are very math based but don't let that put you off,I'm a numerical dunce and still loved it.The narration is superb,witty,dry and brilliantly done.if you're looking for something out of the ordinary that will entertain you for all its nearly 43 hour length give this a go...you won't regret it.
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