In 1972, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa farming clan, fled to the mountains of British Columbia to avoid the draft. A skilled hunting guide, he eventually amassed a fortune by smuggling marijuana across the border between Canada and Idaho. As the years passed, Richard went straight and returned to the States after the U.S. government granted amnesty to draft dodgers. He parlayed his wealth into an empire and developed a remote resort in which he lives. He also created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game with millions of fans around the world.
But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe - and Richard is at ground zero.
Racing around the globe from the Pacific Northwest to China to the wilds of northern Idaho and points in between, Reamde is a swift-paced thriller that traverses worlds virtual and real. Filled with unexpected twists and turns in which unforgettable villains and unlikely heroes face off in a battle for survival, it is a brilliant refraction of the 21st century, from the global war on terror to social media, computer hackers to mobsters, entrepreneurs to religious fundamentalists. Above all, Reamde is an enthralling human story - an entertaining and epic pause-resister from the extraordinary Neal Stephenson.
©2011 Neal Stephenson (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
“Stephenson...delivers a sprawling thriller that shows him in complete control of his story.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Noir futurist Stephenson returns to cyberia with this fast-moving though sprawling techno-thriller...Who’ll prevail? We don’t know till the very end, thanks to Stephenson’s knife-sharp skills as a storyteller. An intriguing yarn—most geeky, and full of satisfying mayhem.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
“Sometimes when you’re reading Neal Stephenson, he doesn’t just seem like one of the best novelists writing in English right now; he seems like the only one.” (Lev Grossman, Time)
Strong characters in all genres. and narrators who don't ham it up.
This is a trilogy's worth of adventure in one book, well managed by a master story teller. There are thrills and chills and multinational adventure throughout. At about 12 hours the story occasionally got a little slow and i could put it aside, I was afraid it would turn into a Perils of Pauline, but no, this is a great story with all the subplots coming together. With 12 hours left (as long as a longish Audible book) the conclusion is coming into focus, the excitement is building and I wonder "what more can possible happen before the end?" Well, a lot can and did happen. There is certainly death and destruction, but main characters are reasonably well treated, and the gore / violence was not overdone or overly upsetting. The narration/reading is great, with different characters and accents well done to help keep characters separate and be non-obtrusive to the story line. Well done. At one credit this is a bargain, a unique and plausible adventure of amazing scope. Listen to it!
Took a while to get into this but once I did it was quite interesting in its information about the world of gamers and the construction and maintenance of computer RPGs. The mystery and terrorism bits were reasonably passable too but I found the last 6 hours or so quite tedious, the final battle just seemed to go on and on and on. A fair read in general but not much more for me.
The story starts strong and the descriptions of locations are great. However, it quickly deteriorates into a Hollywood like set of unrealistic characters and one deus ex machina upon another.
I had to do a lot of driving for a while and 38 hours of this easy to listen book were good money spent.
Live near Yosemite National Park. Listen to Audible books while hiking.
Stephenson is a very good author but this work is not at the level of The Diamond Age or Cryptonomicon. A good way to bore readers is to let too long a time go by without intense action. In this story, we learn more about how to operate a pirated ship or how to control its drift in the North China Sea than anyone save a naval academy midshipman would want to know. Same with what it's like to be out hiking and shooting in the North American mountains. The story would have been better if it were half as lengthy. Stephenson needs a good strong willed editor with lots of red pencils! The end is undramatic. Spoiler alert: All the bad guys get shot in various unexciting ways and the family reunion continues. Yawn.
I am a 27 year old nurse pursuing a nurse practitioner degree. My favorite book genres are: fantasy, science fiction, medicine and sociology
I loved the plot of this story. It took me through several countries, and introduced me to complex, interesting characters from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life. There is a religious extremist/terrorist. There is an Eastern European hacker. There is a Chinese MMO gold farmer. A fascinating web of plot threads weaves together into a rich tapestry as the story unfolds. I found the climax of the novel so riveting I was almost late for work, as I sat in my car listening with rapt attention to the action packed shoot-out (trying to minimize spoilers, I apologize if this is already too much information for some). While it is a very long listen, I think it took me less than a week to listen to the entire thing, which says a lot about how interesting it is.
This novel reminded me of what I enjoyed about Ernest Cline's "Ready Player One", which was the inclusion of the MMORPG fad and it similarly predicted the widespread popularity and commonplace nature of nearly everyone playing an MMORPG in the future. I see this as a feasible outcome in the future, and I like seeing novels set in the future that incorporate it.
Would recommend to someone that was driving cross country and could only buy one book. While the technology sections are good and have speculative fiction, Mr. Stephenson's style of "action" writing would be better suited to describing snail racing. By the end when hours are spent describing a two hour event, I was waiting for it to be over so I could move on to another title.
Unlike Mr. Stephenson's other books, he seems to have most of both feet firmly placed in reality - a refreshing change. Beyond that, hard to compare to other books except that he does have a good grip on technology.
Chock full of tedious exposition of everyday events -- for example, a whole paragraph describing two guys walking to a car and getting in. Explanations of technology for people just in from an alien homeworld. Grating, sexist tone. Hackneyed, stereotypical characters.
Accents were awful, voice was soporific.
Whole thing could have been a short story about 20 pages long.
I'm a big Stephenson fan, but he wasn't even phoning it in here. I seriously suspect a bot wrote it.
To listen to a great book while I knit is heaven on earth.
The premise of this book is interesting. I do not know much about video games and to have a thriller based with that as a platform caught my imagination. However, the author then conjures up a series of events involving other scenarios . I don't want to spoil anyone's listening experience. The story offers a little of everything , it should , it is long enough,maybe even a little too much. That is my only criticism. The reader however keeps it moving right along wonderfully. My husband and I listened together and enjoyed it.
The characters were intensely interesting
Daemon by Daniel Suarez. MMOG references, intelligent use of technology. It takes only a mild suspension of disbelief to accept this as a possible reality.
I was captivated and could listen to Malcolm read the phone book
The story dragged on far too long and left the interesting role playing game twist far behind by mid-story. It became an afterthought in an implausible thriller with more last second escapes then found in batman comics. Cutting out two hours of this wouldn't change the story a bit...which sort of just peters out at the end anyway.
Probably the next installment of a Harry Bosch novel by Connelly.
Okay, w/inconsistent accents. But that didn't bother me nearly as much as the bad material he had to work with.
The idea of real money making by players and a manhunt ensuing due to a massive multiplayer role playing game was intriguing. Some characters were well developed and a bit likable. Just not enough to care about the numerous characters followed throughout the story.
I had not read anything by Neal Stephenson before Reamde. I have to say that based on his writing style in this book I doubt I will ever read anything else of his. I am not opposed to crude or vulgar language in dialogue for realism, etc. However, this author uses crude language in descriptive passages leaving me with the feeling I'm reading a first novel written by an uneducated teenager. For example, he describes used toilet paper in a forest as "used bum wads." Very crude and it adds nothing to the imagery, it takes you out of the story instead. He also uses the phrase "ass crawling" when there are so many other ways that could be described. It's not like either of those things are commonly used phrases. These are small things, but these and many others distracted me from the story.
Also bothersome was the way some unimportant incidents are described in agonizing detail and then repeated from another character's point of view in order to transition from one group of characters to another. This was just painful to listen to. This can be done well, but was not here. The imagery of the scene was complete halfway through the detailed description the first time and then you are forced to realize it is the same scene from anther POV with further unneeded descriptors or character insight.
The book has some very interesting chapters early on but later it dragged on for so long, with so many characters I didn't care about, it was difficult to finish. As I forced myself to complete it, I was even more disappointed by the predictable ending and forced dialogue to wrap up a mediocre story.
All in all, a wasted opportunity to create a heart-pounding thriller around a clever idea. What a shame.
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