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.
The authors nailed the last campaign and presented an interesting alternative way it could have gone. A little scary even. I enjoyed the story but it seemed like it was written in the 90's, given the technology level presented, but then dusted off and updated for the current political climate. Regardless, it worked pretty well.
Can't say enough for the narrator. There are a lot of diverse characters in this story, gender, race, class, nationalities, etc.. He manages to bring them all to life and keep the story moving.
This book will entertain just about everyone. It's intriguing, presents some not often thought of ideas, has a great deal of humor and while touching on political aspirations, the subject is not heavy or cumbersome.
A politician high on the political list for a presidential run suffers a debilitating stroke. At the same time, medical research contemplates the ability to take over under active or inactive parts of the brain and provide the missing instructions. Tests are being done somewhat successfully on baboons.
The overall story follows several story lines that eventually come together. The medical research, the political dreams of several characters, a homeless woman looking for work and the ability to provide for her children when her husband takes the "easy" way out, an aspiring neurologist and a family with a loyal family lawyer who sometimes runs afoul of others expectations.
All together the listener is left with some interesting ideas of just how far some will go to control the will of any nation through political means.
I thoroughly enjoyed the unabridged version and was entertained for many hours.
Not the most gripping book ever, but the story was interesting enough and the ending was unexpected. Not you typical 'good guy always wins' story.
Compelling, fascinating, and timely. Makes me think about politics differently without feeling like a conspiracy nut.
The light dawning on Vishniac
I wanted to. But, it was too long and I have other things to do.
Except for the occasional weird mix of technologies (some out of time or place?) I found Interface intriguing and engaging.
What seem like one-dimensional characters are revealed to have greater purpose.
Love to listen to books in the studio.
I would easily read anything that Neal Stephenson writes. I'm in love with his style, convoluted plot lines and fun speculations on culture and technology, but I wonder if maybe this book suffered from too many cooks spoiling the soup. There were moments that I was thrilled by, that I knew without question Stephenson was in the writer's seat...and then a majority that I wasn't. The premise is a good one, especially in our current election season, but somehow it really read like somebody came up with an idea and asked Stephenson to polish it up here and there with his signature style. I've been spotting Mall Concubines, Coupon Sniffers and Economic Roadkill all over the place. That said, I'd be dubious of other books with Stephenson and... in the byline.
The narrator has some great voices he employs to help one keep all the cast of thousands straight, but geeze. SLLLLLOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW going. Thank you Audible ap for the speed selector.
Putting books on the back burner.
Neal Stephenson is one of my favorite sci-fi authors, but his collaboration with J. Frederick George in "Interface" does not work. Too much politics and not enough sci-fi. The first half of the story is very entertaining about the senator and his stroke and his implant, but after that, the story became something from John Grisham's catalog, very bland and predictable.
This could been a great read because the narrator was a pleasure listen to, but there was too much about Washington DC and not enough tech and sci-fi. This book fails for any avid reader of this author.
I was hoping that the story would get better and more technical, but even at the end, (at the president's inauguration), there was a glimmer of hope of geekness, but it totally failed to get my interest because there was too many yawns in between the read.
But, just don't read it after something like "All The King's Men" like I did. What a bad idea. There is no comparison regarding plot or writing.
But assuming you transition to Interface more wisely than I did, it could be very entertaining for you, especially if you are a Neal Stephenson fan. This is my first Stephenson book. I don't know how much J. Frederick George collaborated, nor have I read any books by him.
I am not sure I will read another Stephenson. The plot of this book undermined itself. I am not sure if the author really kept control over where this book was going. Between the editor's review and the first of the book I really thought it was going to be a lot more intense and and more...oh, maybe a bit more Manchurian Candidate-like. It was nothing of the kind. But I am not sure the book knew it was not going there when it started.
Maybe the collaboration of the two authors contributed to the slightly schizophrenic feel to the plot. If I try another Stephenson book it will be just him and I will remain open-minded til then.
In the meantime take the recommendation of other Stephenson fans and be aware while Wyman was not the best narrator, he is not a deal-breaker.
As I'm not a native speaker a good reading performance is key to the pleasure and understanding.
After just listening to a very well read Reamde from Stephenson this book is a pain to listen to.
Please note, this is not a full review!!! I am a Neal Stephenson fan, and I just began listening to this book this morning on the way to work. I don't believe the issue I'm writing about will ruin the book for me, but it is a pretty annoying failure on the part of Audible, the producer of the audible version of this book.
To the point, the initial character, Cozzano, is from a place in Central Illinois named Tuscola. I grew up in Central Illinois, and know of what I speak.
In the Audible production, narrator Oliver Wyman pronounces "Tuscola" as "TOOS - ca - la". The proper pronunciation is "tuss - KO - la" (with a long oh sound).
In preparing for this production, all it would have taken is a quick call to the Tuscola, IL city hall to ensure that the audio experience was satisfying. As an audio experience, this mispronunciation makes me cringe a little each time I hear it. Audible, please do your research before releasing an audio book.
As I said, this small issue will not prevent me from continuing to read the book, but it is an example of sloppy production. Otherwise, Mr. Wyman has, so far, done a wonderful job narrating, and do not necessarily hold this issue against him (unless, of course, it was his responsibility to ensure proper pronunciations). Wyman's voice is easily listened to and understandable, enhancing the audio experience thus far.
I am excited to continue listening to this book, and once completed, I promise to write a proper review.
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