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)
Great science fiction. Starts with a simple premise, what if one could launder money in a video game? There's no death rays, quantum entanglement, exotic planets, or magic powers. It's not even in the future. His grasp of the technical issues is spot on. That little kernel of "what if" yields entirely entertaining tale of foreign intrigue, gangsters, lovers, cyberpunks, psychopaths, and fruitcakes caught up in a very tangled web. So many characters and subplots it's hard to keep track of it all in an audio book. This is a book that shouldn't fall into the wrong hands. It's scary how easy it is to do the dastardly deeds.
I took one star off the story because right in the middle of some of the suspense/action he pauses, to give one of the characters history going back three generations, describe the trees and rocks, ballistic considerations, etc.. Maybe it's a style thing, but many times but I really wanted the bullet to finish it's flight so I'd know if great grandchild lives or dies.
Im a good listener
I think this book written by Joe Author would average one less star. Neal gets that extra from having written lots of cool stuff in the past.
I found the book kind of tedious. I would find myself thinking about work or bills or laundry that needed doing instead of paying attention. His attention to detail and description is to the point where he seems to be mocking himself. This would be a typical scene.
"The gunman was certainly outside and stalking him so Joe climbed the stairs and went into the bedroom. When Joe went to look out the window a small object on the sill caught his attention. It was a black ant. The ant was on its hind legs, its forelegs up and praying like a penitent Christian post confession. It brought Joe back to his childhood in Authorland when ants and Christians were in abundance and frolicking in the wheat fields during harvest. The smell of the harvested wheat came back to him then. Filling his senses as if he was back baling the wheat with his brother Jack. How Jack loved ants and wheat. And Christians. These thoughts made Joe sigh and take in a deep breath. That breath saved his life as while inhaling he arched his back five degrees more than he usually would have after a normal sigh and the bullet that pierced the pane of glass missed him by millimeters.
He looked down at the sill. The ant was nowhere to be found."
I love detail and descriptive scenes, but if I had been reading this in paper form I would have flipped to the back to see how it ended about 2/3 of the way through.
Also, I wish I had a whiteboard at the end to write down all the characters, where they were, what they were doing and how they were connected. The actions scenes went on so long I would forget who was where in the room - who had guns - who was hurt, etc.
It took me a while to get into this book, but it was worth it. I enjoyed it and was sorry it ended when it did. I would recommend this book to others that are into technology, or gaming, or a good terrorist kill plot with the correct ending.
Zula: She was an innocent bystander and though she was caught up in a bad situation, she stood up to it and did something about it when she had a chance.
The accidental discovery of a terrorist cell in China.
The computer virus that infected a terrorist organization.
Yes, although it took me longer to actually finish listening to this book than any other in over a decade. This is a very long listen, and It just didn't grab me and make me want to listen for long stretches at a time. Thus my headline, borderline, because that's where I felt that I was with this title. It was JUST good enough for me to keep listening, mainly because the fantastic characters, but during the last third of the book I stopped listening a couple of times only to return. It felt oddly like this book owed me something in return for the large investment of my time, and I was bound and determined to see it to it's conclusion, and this was more than my simply wanting to see how it ended. I don't think that I've ever felt quite like this about a book before. Perhaps thats why I'm writhing this review, which is very rare for me.
Yes, I listened to Snow Crash a number of years ago. Mr. Stephenson certainly has the gift to be able to create engaging characters, as he did with that book, although it this case, I felt that there were perhaps a few too many of them. The characters were Russian, Hungarian, Chinese, Arab and a Chinese/British as well as an British/African.The Americans were all white males who ran the gambit from geeky, eccentric & rich to older Hippies, Vietnam Vets and oh yeah, even militia survivalistists types who home schooled their kids, while their mom's walked around with guns. Unlike Snow Crash, and for me at least. It felt as if he skipped from character to character, or group to group, too quickly.
Very good narrator, who differentiated the characters in the book very convincingly.
Perhaps. Perhaps not. Just like a felt about finishing this one. In the end. I'm glad that I did though.
I love Audible. I have a disability, which makes reading difficult for me, so it's an important part of my life, and I'd be lost without it. Keep up the great work!
Depends on what
Nothing in particular. He just sounds like Casey Kasem (sp?) or some other glad-hand radio announcer whose style was a bit of a mismatch for what was probably intended to be edgy and a little counterculture (of some type).
Excitement then slow disappointment.
Stephenson never could finish a book with anything like the power with which he occasionally starts it. In this case, a fascinating set of extrapolations and insights into our world and a reasonably interesting group of characters quickly gives way to a book written by a focus group of Tea Party-leaning libertarian agnostics intent on preaching to the readers.
I am sorry I wasted my money on such a bad book. The story could have been told in 1 hour not the 36 hours. I have listened to 5 hours and will not listen to any more of it. I just wish I could get my money back from Audible.
Middle-aged, married dad of two, living in Northern Burbs of Chicago. Hard Sci Fi addict, and lover of great storytelling. Almost all of my reading is now in audio format.
It's a good yarn. But honestly, not as 'Stephenson' as I'd hoped. It just sort of turns into a chase & shoot story, and not really that different from all the other techno / spy thrillers out there. I love Neal for his crazy cool out there contemporary scifi, and I think he's one of the best in that vein of thinking.
I hadn't read a Stephenson book in some time but I remember enjoying Cryptonomicon (when I was more naive, I guess), so I thought I'd give Reamde a chance, especially in view of the raving reviews. It's a big YARN: a tall tale. He loses you with all the characters and changes of scenery. But what was particularly hard to swallow were the crazy coincidences between characters and settings: they meet up in China, in Canada and Washington state. So plot-wise, it ain't great. It just doesn't hang together. The attempt to move between real life adventure and virtual adventure online is interesting but ultimately unresolved. Still, it has some exciting parts and Stephenson's style has certainly matured: he develops great metaphors and place descriptions. Just the same, it'll take some doing to get me to read another of his books.
What I loved most about REAMDE was that it glanced off of things I care about; like family, guns, World of Warcraft, being a bad @$%, and the real value of things that aren't real.
I found this book to be really enjoyable. It was my first foray into the land of Stephenson, after being referred by a friend, and I'm quite pleased. The story was fantastical yet never felt impossible, thanks to the careful machinations of the author. Great characters, well developed, human and interesting. Held your attention throughout. I thought the narrator did a great job, really conveying distinction between the characters despite their wide diversity. I couldn't stop listening!!
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