©1995 Neal Stephenson; (P)2001 Audible, Inc.
"The Quentin Tarantino of postcyberpunk science fiction." (The Village Voice)
"[He] is the hottest science fiction writer in America." (Details)
I tend to review only books that make a strong impression -- great or awful. This one's in the 'best I've experienced" category: Stephenson at his unpretentious, early-career best. Elegant, Byzantine, luxy plot twisting science future and really out-there plot turns. Fun that makes you think.
The vision of a practical nanotech future: I have always had a thing for plausible-science alt future. It's different from traditional sci-fi; more fun and more provocative to me. I loved the matter-of-fact way that nanotechnology had transformed the way we live and essentially made most of today's life-necessity fulcrum points obsolete.
Many! Love the scene where Nell and her brother are first introduced to Vicky society.
It was a progression -- seeing how the "ractor" (actor in "ractive"- interactive game/story) starts to really care about one of her customers.
Unlike any other alt-future story, but close enough in flavor to Stephenson's book Snow Crash to delight that audience, too.
My favorite Stephenson book is still Zodiac, though.
2/3 of the story was interesting 1/3 of the story seemed liked a bad trip on pharmacueticals. Exchanging bodily fluids contaning nanoparticle message bots via orgies and then the inclusion of fluorescent condoms in the ceremony was a what moment for me. The Fairy tales seemed a bit endless and unbearable.
One of the best audio productions of a book with transition music and great reading style
Yes, The print one is so long. This is a story meant to be heard and the narrator is so good she makes the story wonderful. Without Jennifer Wiltsie narrating this I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much as I did.
This is the audio book that got me into audio books. This is the book that i joined audible for when my cassette tape player died and I needed a new copy of Diamond Age to listen to. This has been my favorite audio book for many years.
First off, I think Stephenson is an incredible author. Intelligent, abstract with a great style to his writing. Any book of his is at least three stars. This one was not my favorite but not bad. Narration matched the characters in the story well, a solid performance. A little too monotone in action parts of the book like the end. I think the reason for the 3 star rating is the difficulty following the main plot of the book. Seemed to jump around a lot and without the feeling of getting into the characters lives. Maybe it was the monotone narration. May be a better read than in audio. Anyway, I would recommend any Stephenson book, this one maybe not as much.
There is nothing to criticize about the book or the performance -- both are superlative. I've listened to this from beginning to end at least 5 times and it never ceases to amaze me. I still laugh at all the funny parts and still worry about the characters in the dangerous spots. This is one of the best purchases I ever made.
The Diamond Age is a science fiction novel about a future world dominated by nanotechnology. This is a world where matter compilers (MCs) are found in every household. The MCs have programs for producing all the necessities of life upon command from a feed of atoms of essential elements. MCs can produces anything that engineers have been clever enough to come up with programs for, from complex machines to made to order islands. A notable feature of this world are ubiquitous nanocytes: microscopic machines that enter the body from the air or through bodily fluids. These nanocytes can perform tasks as beneficial as health maintenance or as devious as nervous system alteration or enforcing captivity through the threat of micro-explosions.
The protagonist is a young girl from the wrong side of the tracks named Nell, who comes into possession of a book, the "Young Lady's Illustrated Primer". The primer is the ultimate information machine: it teaches her to read, it answers every question, it teaches her how to solve every problem. The primer is the creation of John Hackworth, a "bespoke engineer" who designed it for the daughter of a lord, but had it snatched away. The novel is a coming of age story, in which Nell rises from her precarious origins, learning through games and parables, to fulfill her intellectual and political destiny. She is aided in this by Miranda, a "ractor" (interactive actor), who through the medium of the primer, becomes her virtual mother.
The story is set in a dystopian world, largely in China. Tribes control geographic regions, violence, cruelty, misery and inequity abound, and justice is swift and subjective, with a dash of Confucianism.
A number of interesting computational concepts are explored. There is an obsession with Turing machines in parts of the story. The question of breaking codes through new computational structures arises. It is addressed through a new take on a gestalt organism comprising a tribe joined through nanocyte communication. The story climaxes in an epic political confrontation between "feed" and "seed": Feed is the top down distribution of atoms which feeds the world's matter compilers, and Seed is the distributed solution by which new things are created by growing them, independent of central authority.
In addition, I found the narration on this audiobook to be excellent thoughout.
The Honest IT Guy!
Yes. Thanks to the Narrator
Great voices and emotion. And the voices she provides for the story within a story are amazing.
Sci Fi Fan
This was a great story. Stephenson did a nice job of creating an interesting future world, with the Neo Victorians and widespread nano-manufacture.
The Young Girls primer that is created at the beginning of the story leads the young girls who end up with it on some fantastic adventures which we get to ride along on. Highly recommended, very engaging.
it sure was weird. good narrator. interesting science fiction notions..its a bit hard to stay interested for more than 2 hours at a time...usually i listen to audiobooks for 7 hours straight. not for everyone, but good
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