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)
Absolutely! The first 3/4 of this book is almost unbearably tense. I loved it. The characters are great, the reading is captivating and the detail is classic Stephenson.
The story might be a bit farfetched but it is probably one of the most accessible Stephenson novels. The action is non-stop and the solutions to the characters' problems are very creative.
no-it's 38 hours but i have recommended it to friends. There is something for everyone in this book, besides it being well-written.
I don't like thrillers and I especially don't like novels about computer viruses (which it is not) but the geography and change in cultures is enthralling. I love that the heroine is an African American woman and her nemesis is an African Welshman who happens to sound like Richard Burton-and despite being a terrorist is a facinating, understated character.
He does a pretty good job with all the accents-midwestern American, Scottish, Russian, Chinese, British, Welsh-did I forget any? I'm still only half-way done with the book.
If the filmrights to the movie haven't been picked up by now-I predict it will be a movie by next year at the latest!
Cryptonomicon has returned
Richard is probably my favorite character due to his complex and very American contemporary story.
The death of John in the forest on his "knees" redeeming himself of his ghosts of Vietnam. Subtly and respectfully back-storied with an absolute understanding of that generation of midwestern veteran tied to modern day redemption while protecting his highest treasure; Zula. So artfully tied into the action packed conclusion to the book. I have NEVER experienced such a fulfilling final series of concluding chapters in a contemporary fiction book. Cryptonomicon (as a former crypto guy) is the only book to come close.
Neal has returned to his epic, contemporary, real life, detailed, high-tech stories. This book returns to the genre of Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon. As a dad, prepper, gamer, former military officer, 30 year veteran programmer and Internet startup guy, this book hit every angle of interest for me.I had two favorite SF authors; Gibson and Stephenson. Now I have one; Stephenson.Thank you for coming back! We have missed you.
I did not listen to this title immediately after purchasing it, so I forgot some details about the size of the book. I think I might have been on Part 2 or 3 when the story was heading to what could have been a natural conclusion point. A decent story, but not stellar at that point, but it did not end.
It took a twist that I never saw coming.I have read/listened to a few of Stephenson's books now and have really enjoyed them thoroughly.
There are a couple others of his that I have started, but were not able to really get into due to the complexity (for lack of better term) that they started out of the gate with. Sometimes trying to learn a new language and topography while trying to enjoy a story can be a little daunting. Reamde didn't go that route at all which made it a little bit easier to flow into it.
I normally listen to books during my commute, and this was one of those books that I found myself not wanting to get out of the car so that I could keep listening to the story.
This book was really like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that you didn't have the picture for... it slowly started to take shape out of all of these complex little pieces until about half way through you have a pretty good idea of what it is supposed to look like, but until the last piece is placed, you cannot be totally sure...
1. Plot: I am a huge Neal Stephenson fan. And this is Neal Stephenson at his best. All elements of this story take place in the here and now, which makes this story incredibly thrilling. Hackers? Check. Fully developed MMORPG? Check. Terrorists? Check. Right wing self described crazies? Check. Kidnapping, M6, and Russian Mercenaries, check, check, check. Neal Stephenson is an excellent writer, one of the few who can carry complex story lines involving all these elements in harmony, moving in and out of the individual moments quietly and in perfect tune with each other. It's like a symphony of stories that all come inevitably crashing together in the end in a beautiful and insane climax. Stephenson also captures things like the subtle notes of the now though references of Wikipedia, Facebook, etc...
2. Narrator: Hillgartner captures the narrator in third person beautifully, and paces this book extremely well. Especially considering it's length. He clearly took time to pace appropriately. What is left to be a little desired is dealing with his interpretation of women. As women are some of the primary characters in this book, there are times that the narration has felt forced.
I cannot recommend this enough. I started it over the second I was done w/ the 1st run-through. An epic story, amazing characters, just a solid piece of entertainment. Some reviews say this is "lighter" than some of his other works, but that is only sort of true. I would say it is very accesable to a wider audience, but a smarter than average audience, to be sure.
I have fireds who are listening to Reamde as well & we talk about how they are dreading that it will be ending... I suggested the entire re-do or re-pllay. They had never even considered that w/ prior books, but are fully expecting to w/ this one.
Story, all over the map doesn't do the book justice. But if you've read N.S. before, you know what to expect.
No, but I was very happy w/ the narrator.
Laughed out loud, looked up locations on Google Earth & some other outside searches. Typical w/ N.S. reads.
Get this book, go on a road trip.
A little hard to get into, but worth the time. The story bogs down again in the center but Stephenson wraps it all up very well. There are lots angles, twists and unlooked for counterplays it this story, it will take you into another world for the entire read.
Why do your people always ask if someone is ready just before they are about to do something massively unwise?
She doesn't always get kidnapped by terrorists… but when she does, nearly every male on Planet Stephenson wants to do anything and everything to help her. All other males want to rape and murder her. It doesn't matter how tangentially Zula knows these men: they all want to adopt, kiss, kidnap, aid, romance, go to war, or swim across oceans for her. She's like YT (from Snow Crash) on 20 years of author steroids.
All without her doing much to earn it except be Zula.
And that's about all I took away from this book.
That, and I wish a game like T'Rain existed. Oh, wait… it does. It's called EVE.
Generally, there are the standards we've come to expect from Stephenson: the wry humor; the eloquent and hip dialog, the characters who won't take crap from anybody. But the story is so random that I had a hard time believing it could ever happen.
I haven't read the print but the audio is amazing in the way the narrator follows the story and his accents are spot on as well as his use of language.
The plot starts off rather obvious then branches off but it always remains intriguing and interesting no matter the twists.
His ability to differentiate between characters in such a way that you loved them all and understood them at the same time. The accents were spot on.
I have never been a huge fan of Neal Stephenson, and this book reminded me why. Before picking up this title, it had been several years since I'd read him, but I still have many of the same problems with his work.
- The work is unnecessarily long. Stephenson must get paid by the word, because there is a lot of unnecessary cruft in this book, descriptions that go on for way too long, and there are so many scenes that do little or nothing to advance the plot and just take up space.
- The characters are ridiculous. I tried to suspend my disbelief, but so many times while listening to this novel, I was rolling my eyes and laughing at how silly the characters and scenarios were.
- Resorts to stereotypes. Russian mafia, chinese hackers, Islamic jihadists all figure prominently in the book. The only thing missing was evil North Korean communists and German Nazis (although I guess those two examples are a little more dated). The world is so much richer than that, is this really all he could come up with?
- The game world did nothing for me. To be fair, I am not a gamer so I don't know how realistic/feasible the descriptions are. But the game world as written just didn't engage me, and seemed extraneous most of the time that it was mentioned.
- Basic technology concepts over-explained.I happen to work in an internet engineering role so I know I have a leg up on some of these things, but even my aging parents know what an IP address is. Really couldn't believe how many basic concepts were dumbed down.
- The narrator was either unfamiliar with the colloquial technology terms in the book, or was instructed to read as such. For example, when describing World of Warcraft, nobody says "double-u oh double-u," they just say "wow." This is just one example of a reading style that I found jarring.
Long story short, I did not enjoy this book and it is safe to say that I am done with Stephenson for good. I powered through the book because I paid good money for it, but ultimately felt that I wasted my time. Don't waste yours.
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