From his triumphant debut with Snow Crash to the stunning success of his latest novel, Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson has quickly become the voice of a generation.
In this now-classic thriller, he and fellow author J. Frederick George tell a shocking tale with an all-too plausible premise. There's no way William A. Cozzano can lose the upcoming presidential election. He's a likable midwestern governor with one insidious advantage - an advantage provided by a shadowy group of backers. A biochip implanted in his head hardwires him to a computerized polling system. The mood of the electorate is channeled directly into his brain. Forget issues. Forget policy. Cozzano is more than the perfect candidate. He's a special effect.
©2005 Neal Stephenson & J. Frederick George (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
I listened to first 3h and didn't find a reason to continue. Just very few first pages, describing perhaps pictures or photos, makes this book absolutely impossible to listen to.
Can't agree with the rhapsodic reviews of this book. A slackly written "thriller" with no narrative pulse, its characters disappear for hundreds of pages or drop out of the book altogether without explanation. The set up to the main plot is so leisurely and discursive that it buries all tension and anticipation. When the climatic events are finally presented they are given in such a cursory fashion that I wondered why I had spent the previous 15 hours listening to their preliminaries.
There are also some real whoppers that make it difficult to suspend belief but those are minor compared to the larger, fatal failure to create a world believable on its own terms. Never for a minute did I believe that this world could exist. The characters were two dimensional puppets moved around for the convenience of the plot or else were so "colorful" that they never became real. Lack of character depth or of a convincing, organic world true to itself can be forgiven in a thriller if the plot is propulsive but all are missing here.
Some humor, a few interesting ideas, the workmanlike competence of the writing and a talented reader save the book from one star.
The story was great, kept my attention and was an interesting topic. One thing drove me crazy. I grew up in central Illinois and Tuscola is pronounced Tus-co’-la, with a short u and a long o. I know this is a small thing, but so are fingernails on blackboards. If you are going to read a book with so many references to a town, please call the city hall and find out how people pronounce the city's name! It really hurt my enjoyment in the book. If you never heard of the town, I am sure you couldn't care less and the book was great.
The book wasn't for me? That's passive-aggressive. (I'm responding to the question above the box)
The book wasn't for me because it was poorly written. Good story idea, amazing narration (one of the best I've heard and I have about 500 books in my library). The books is a hodge podge of different stories that eventually sort of come together but each is so different and takes so long to get through that you end up not giving a damn about the, supposedly, main story. Got through the book.
This was a particularly good book for the times in which we are living. It was extremely well-written and performed in an amazing way.
Horrible compared to Neal's other books. Maybe it was the narrator, I'm not a fan of his voice but this book lacked the content and detail I like about Stephenson's other books.
In a year where polling data runs every news cycle, this is a must read, or better yet, must listen.
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