©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)
The story skips around without a lot and it is hard to follow how all the parts work together until the end. The author obviously thinks a lot about the future and possibilities of nanotechnology and incorporates these ideas into the story, which lends interesting elements to the plot, such as the primer itself. However, the descriptions of the technology go on and on and on to the point where it is difficult to pay attention. Not a good book for the gym, it is not engaging enough.
OK, I'll go along w/ the brilliant writing of what could have been a wonderful story. But about 3/4 of the way through I went what??? Did I miss something? Is the author doing acid? The whole chain/lever counting thing is where I lost it. The story virtually evaporated into psychedelic ramblings from one set of characters to another, w/ confusing connections. Or vignettes of wonderful imaginations, which if I had the patience to go back and dissect I'm sure would reveal themselves to me, but quite frankly I just don't care at this point.
The first 30 minutes were a little slow, but interesting, but after that I hated putting it down. There was just so much and it all was new. I was actually sad when it ended. This was my first book by Stephenson, I will be readking more.
Jennifer Wiltze pulls all the stops out in reading this science fiction masterpiece. Great voice charecterization puts this at the top of audible books.
Poet, Writer, Novice Planetary Scientist, Musician, Hooligan, Former Audience Guy, Protector of Stupid Princesses.
The Boer said, "Good, you have Zulus" That quote was worth all the awards the Sci-Fi Gods can give.
I loved this book so much I won't even try and review it. A must read.
I really enjoyed listenting to this book - even the parts I didn't like. The subject matter was so compelling, and the treatment so interesting, that I was able to get past the overwrought descriptions of mundane things like a view from the top of a building. The build up to the end was a great ride (and I can't say too much or I'd give away the ending), but ultimately the author takes his ideas to the most over-the-top, illogical, implausible (even for fantasy-based science fiction) place. But, it was fun getting there anyway...
"It's good, but"
There are lots of things to like about this book, and lots of things to like about the author. He's really imaginative; the worlds he creates are exotic but believable - and Diamond Age is no exception. And the story in many places is really good - at times gripping. There's a but coming though . . . three things. Firstly, the storylines can get so cokmplicated it's at times difficult to follow. Secondly, it is surely impossible to pronounce primer 'primmer'. Probably not he author's fault, granted, and possibly unreasonable but NO. Finally, it's a disappointing ending - the book builds up to a great ending . . . and then it just stops. But overall a good read, loads going on and just about worth the effort.
"I love the story but..."
.. was wildly irritated every time the othewise excellent narrator said "primmer" for "primer". Aaargh. I know it's a tiny thing but it was constantly distracting as it's a word that is said rather often.
That aside ("primmer" - bleugh) it's a cracking listen and full of wild flights of nano-tech fancy. Although I did get a bit bored in the company of the drummers. The New Victorian enclave was so much more fascinating.
"Very enjoyable - strange in places"
Neal Stephenson creates an wonderful universe - full of clever ideas and concepts which weave their way through what is a very enjoyable story. Jennifer Wiltsie has a beguiling voice - switching from character to character with ease and good distinction between them. Like most other English people I did find the pronunciation of primer (said here "primmer") irritating - but it doesn't take a lot to get used to it and presumably that's how American's pronounce it.
I did find some parts a little too weird - at times I found that the story world was being stretched a little too far. However - it was a good read/listen and I'd recommend it to anyone who is a fan of science fiction/fantasy.
"I wish I could be a neo-Victorian nano-engineer"
2000 characters is inadequate to describe the number of mind blowing moments in this book where the concepts are revealled in a such a way that you can guess what's going on whilst also setting you up to be blown away at the exact moment that all of the pieces fall into place. Quite clever use of characters that fade into the background, only to turn out to be the main protagonists all along. Innumerable innovations, in particular the book of smart paper sheets connected by a data backbone in the spine; nanomaterial matter compilers that take signed matter feeds, and then underground unregistered feeds reserved for nefarious purposes; and the drummer network, the most ingenious and mind blowing concept. This is all held together by the use of the story within the story of the Primer, and how it plays a part in the conspiracy and revolution. The only problem I have is wanting to be in this world already. Well I guess it isn't that far away.
"Worth the time - if you can deal with the quality"
This is, for the most part, a wholly enjoyable audiobook.
Neal Stephenson writes gripping, often very long and complex stories and this is no exception. I don't believe it to be his best - I thought that (subjectively speaking) Reamde was a better story overall - and it is a bit slow getting started but the level of invention and imagination on display is fabulous. Once the world the characters inhabit is described and the characters themselves are introduced it develops an express-train like momentum leading to the perhaps slightly underwhelming conclusion.
The narration from Jennifer Wiltsie is top notch: well characterised and performed. I'm maintaining my performance stars despite common complaints on here about the word "primer" being pronounced "primmer". It may be jarring to the British Ear but that is quite normal in American English.
So why only 3 stars overall? Frankly, despite downloading the best quality version I could, it sounds like the story was recorded over the telephone with even some "old-skool" interference on the line at times to maintain the feel. It may be an old recording and cheap but this is far below the standard I'd expect from Audible.
"Diamond Age - rough diamond of an audio"
long - 18 hrs - enthralling and enchanting, as captivating as the book originally was. The only problem has been that there are occasional distortions in the sound, enough to notice and remember, but not enough to spoil the enjoyment of the tale.
"the book's good"
But the narration suffers a serious flaw: "primer" is pronounced as "primmer" throughout.
I love the book, own it on paper as well, and the narrator has a lovely voice.
"Really enjoyed this..."
This is one of my favourite books and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing it read. I have only one gripe and that is this: Being British I am used to the word 'primer' being pronounced 'prime' with an 'r' on the end not 'prim' with an 'er' on the end and I winced every time it occurred.
This does not, however, in any way prevent me from heartily recommending this fabulous audiobook. :0) x
"Slow to start, great middle, but weak ending"
I like Neil Stephenson's work, but this is far from his best and the performance, which overall was quite good, is hampered by being a dreadful recording. I love the ideas woven into this novel, but the execution of the story lacks any suspense or drama. On top of this, the two main protagonists are wooden, and few of the other characters are sympathetic. If you want a good read by this author, avoid this novel, there's plenty of other examples that are far more fulfilling. Very disappointed.
"Fantastic imagination, brilliantly read."
What a vast and interesting story, excellent characterisation and all tied together in a bow at the end. I still love Snow Crash more but I will now be reading everything Neal Stephenson has written. Or listening to them. And how great to have an English accent telling the story .
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