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Reamde Audiobook

Reamde

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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (6853 )
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  •  
    Patrick 10-02-11
    Patrick 10-02-11 Member Since 2017
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    "Great Story, Decent Narration-Aside from Accents"

    As fans of Neal Stephenson know, he deserves the often used moniker "Master Storyteller." Reamde combines the adventure, character development, and technical acumen for which he is famous with real-time real world settings (Seattle, British Columbia, China...) not employed since his novel Zodiac in 1988. Reamde has all the technological cyber wizardry of Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon combined with modern gangsters, spies, and international intrigue. Reamde has the brilliant Stephenson ideas packed into his science fiction books with the accessibility of a story any Tom Clancy fan would certainly appreciate as well as dedicated Stephenson science fiction fans.

    As fans of audio books know, narration is an essential part of any audio book. Although Malcolm Hillgartner has an excellent voice and delivery in general, he continually slides from Slavic accents into a weird accent as much Mexican-American as Hungarian or Russian. Sadly, his Chinese accents sound extremely Mexican-American, and not at all Asian. Sorry, Mr. Hillgartner, but if you cannot do an accent perfectly please do not even attempt it. It is distracting, and it detracts noticeably from this wonderful story.

    38 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lore SAN JOSE, CA, United States 05-05-14
    Lore SAN JOSE, CA, United States 05-05-14 Member Since 2008
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    Story
    "An improbable series of events unfold..."

    I picked up Reamde because the Audible blurb for this story involved an online game world, hackers, and a virus and it seemed like an interesting topic for a novel. That premise is just the tip of the iceberg and this tale veers all over the place. The main characters wind up all over the globe, and the online world of T'Rain, as spies, terrorists, smugglers, and the Russian mafia all get entangled into the plot. Every step of the way Stephenson ups the ante and the plot almost seems to run out of control.

    Reamde moved along nicely but it was always just on the wrong side of being believable for me. The relationships formed by some of the characters were just too strong too quickly and the mechanics of the online gaming world of T'Rain were also just a little bit off. If you aren't an online gamer the latter may not be of concern to you at all; however, if you are picking this up because of the online game connection then you should know that it is only a small part of a much larger story. It is not as central to the tale as it was in "Ready Player One".

    Reamde can be a fun thrill ride that will head in directions that aren't obvious but only pick it up if you are willing to embrace a chain of highly unlikely occurrences. Malcolm Hillgartner does a decent job of narrating although he deals with a lot of different accents to various degrees of success.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K Cornwinkle 11-05-11 Member Since 2017
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    Story
    "Great thriller but minor bumps"

    1 Too many numbered and lettered lists
    2. occasional middle-aged man phrases, even when it's not Richard (no, I don't have to provide examples)
    3. if it's going to be this long (which I like - in this case, the length and detail almost feel like an attribute of the plot and the worlds it describes, and it doesn't hurt that I'm listening on a 3 week business jaunt with two weekend breaks) and it's going to rely on a combination of preposterous but entertaining coincidences, sometimes the speculation by the characters ought to be more off the mark; everyone is just too dang smart.
    4. Seamus - Mr. Hilgartner needs to dramatically improve his Boston (southie says the narrator) accent. It would have been much less distracting to simply speak basic American English.
    5. Too much love for firearms. I mean, it sounds like Mr. Stephenson loves them. I like nice guns too but the net effect is that almost everyone in the book, at least characters who get more than cursory descriptions, are in love with guns.
    6. I forget.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Clifton Hill, Australia 10-21-11
    Sam Clifton Hill, Australia 10-21-11 Member Since 2006
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    "complex and satisfying"

    A great story - I loved it as it rollercoastered through a contemporary interconnected world. Complex plot with plenty of detail, but also fluid enough to easily draw the listener along at a breakneck pace.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leo 10-14-11
    Leo 10-14-11 Member Since 2016
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    "A fun action-thriller for geeks"

    There's a recent, but small trend in Science Fiction: stories set in present day. No aliens, or space ships. No time travel. No speculation about "the future".

    This new breed of SF novel deals with the here and now. The assumption here is that technology is changing our lives so quickly, that the traditional themes and explorations of SciFi can take place without changing the setting. Our current society is alien enough!

    William Gibson's Pattern Recognition was an SF book famously set "5 years in the past" and managed to be cutting edge while dealing with the culture and technology of the mid 1990s.
    ReamDe can be seen as that type of book.

    The basic plot: unknown criminals and/or terrorists write a tiny little virus meant to operate in the virtual world of an online, multi-player game. This has unforeseen consequences on people who live their lives in the real world. We follow the action as the chaos spreads across the entire world. Both our world, and the virtual world.

    ReamDe is definitely a thriller. The sense of danger is real, and exciting. Still, there is humor, mostly based on the idea that huge world shaping events are mostly triggered by a collection of accidents, coincidences, and decisions made by key persons; and that it all could have been avoided if anyone involved had a view of the bigger picture.

    It's also a whodunnit, and not even the "villains" know exactly what they've actually done.

    Like all Neal Stephenson books, the devil is in the details. The obsessive/compulsive detail of Geeks and their tech.
    In this world hackers are "computer geeks", billionaires are "money geeks" and spys and assasins are "gun and combat geeks". Stephenson seems to make the point that the only difference is what they've happened to focus on.

    Compared to Stephenson's other books, Reamde is a summer blockbuster action ride. Like something Michael Bay would produce... if he had a background in math and computer science.
    Of course this is a Neal Stephenson book, so it's still packed with plenty of tech, philosophy, and politocal commentary for the academic types, and hipster science nerds that are probably his main audience.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Bozeman Knoxville, Tennessee 10-08-11
    B. Bozeman Knoxville, Tennessee 10-08-11 Member Since 2017
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    "Interesting and Recommended"

    Some great characters and an interesting story line extended a bit beyond optimum but worth the credit and a satisfying thriller none the less. It could have been trimmed a bit but that's a quibble that cost it one star IMHO. It's quite unlike the more dynamic Snow Crash still it shows Stephenson's range and he is quite at home with this rather convoluted series of crisis inducing mistakes.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 05-09-12
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 05-09-12 Member Since 2017
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    "Really Unbelievable"

    I guess this book is a pretty standard thriller, which is fine, but did not impress me. It is NOT science fiction. The narration was well done, handling the myriad of characters well, although it may have been, understandably, uninspired. I was annoyed by the utter stupidity of the characters, who act in ways that made no sense at all, yet were convenient for the author. I was annoyed by the wildly unbelievably string of events necessary to move the story. Although there was a lot of action, I found most of the action uninteresting because it was so implausible I didn???t really care. There were a couple of scenes I found exciting, a couple of lines that were funny, and a very few scenes with appealing language and evocative imagery, but far less than I need to really enjoy a novel. Finally I found the novel lacked a spirit that transcended the story. This is a standard thriller with a few geek twists, but I always hope for more than standard.

    26 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wendy NJ 10-01-11
    wendy NJ 10-01-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "another Stephenson winner"

    I was eagerly awaiting this story & zipped right through it as soon as it arrived. LOVED it- my favorite since Cryptonomicon.

    The story is classic Stephenson, and the characters are just crazy. There are a bunch of folks you end up following around and of course their backstories are all just bonkers but awesome. I was in awe how he brought everyone together at the end for the big showdown. Yes, it's a 100 page gun battle. A totally crazy, somewhat hilarious, pure Stephenson ending. Go listen! I was so sad to have this end, eagerly awaiting his next story.

    42 of 49 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Free 05-27-15
    Adam Free 05-27-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    Story
    "Out of sequence and repeated chapters"

    As other reviews have noted, there are several passages which are duplicated out of sequence and spoil any suspense that the author was trying to create. Why won't audible fix the file?

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 05-26-15
    Michael 05-26-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Chapters out of order"

    This kills the book. Chapter 35 is really an earlier chapter.

    Book is great though, but the continuity was ruined.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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  • Paul Harraghy
    10/26/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Suspension of disbelief required!"

    I managed to stick this out for 12 of the 30+ hours required before I finally decided to stop subjecting myself to a nonsensical plot and needlessly descriptive prose. About an hour in the story starts to hang together on a series of irrational actions which I had hoped would later be explained as part of some elaborate scheme however this was not to be the case. Characters act in ridiculous manners with the flimsiest of plot devices used to push the activity from one scene to the next all the while taking hundreds of words to describe what should have been conveyed in a couple of sentences. The author appears to have a loyal following with some other works attaining praise but this is a clear miss for me.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Jennifer Random
    7/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "so long and so good!"

    Adventure and action thriller. Full of people I want to know about. As someone who doesn't MMO, but is player adjacent, it made sense for me and had enough of the right kind of detail to be loveable. Much story. Such Wow. I was very happy with the ending.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • AudioLemon
    9/21/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pedestrian Spy Novel. Expected more"

    Low on geek culture, limited science, code, gaming culture. High on cheap spy thriller. There is very limited reference to game that is played - if you replaced the game with cheap sex scenes you would essentially have the exact same book but it would possibly be truer to its form as a pedestrian spy novel. The narration was good. No single character stood out, I didn't care for any of the characters, very little if any tension, predictable ending that you just had to wait out... x shoots y, y dodges behind cover, y creeps up behind z looking for an opening... terrible really.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hyperspacial
    UK
    8/13/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "entertaining"

    Great book if you want to settle back and be carried away by the story. if you over think it there are some implausible coincidence but it's a work of fiction not real life so get over it and enjoy the adventure

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    3/29/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great thriller with one aspect that nearly spoiled it"

    Totally loved this book from start to end, although the end was pretty simple to predict from about two thirds, it was a pleasure listening to it unfold, tying up the loose ends.

    That truly awful Scottish accent though... sorry Mr Narrator, but back to voice school for some top up lessons please. I can't comment negatively on the Russians and Canadians, Americans or Chinese, they were all great, but I happen to be Scottish and it made me cringe big time, nearly spoiled my enjoyment, I was downright delighted that particular character wasn't in the book all the way through.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. T. Pigden
    UK
    10/18/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great fun but a bit too long"

    I felt that some sub plots were over developed and didn't really add to overall narrative other than by weight
    very well read apart from a couple of dodgy accents - the Scottish one was particularly irritating but thankfully not a major character
    I would go for another book with same author and narrator though but probably I'll wait for a suitably long business trip

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Maxxxxxx
    3/17/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story, terrible accents"

    This is a great story on the whole, surprisingly exciting and fun for a story with so much infodumping, has a great array of characters from different backgrounds. Mostly good narration apart from terrible, bordering on offensive (I'm thinking of the Irish accent here) accents.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Tuomo
    7/14/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cool story, but bloated."

    The exciting story could (and probably should) have been told in less than half the words. The characters were interesting and most of their motivations refreshingly reasonable. The excessive detail, sceneries and tedious character development (in both the story world and the virtual one within it) is likely to cause you to nod off, unless you really enjoy a story telling pace that nearly rivals that of Tolkien's.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    2/26/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It gets good"

    The book starts well and keeps you interested for the first five or so hours. I then found it dragged a bit, possibly as I realised quite how much I had left to go. However, stick with it as the last 15 hours are real metaphorical page turners.

    I was speaking to my mother about it who asked her normal questions about books I read/listen to: "does it have a spy? A submarine? A helicopter?"

    I found myself answering in the affirmative to all of these so she said she wasn't interested in it. However, don't let this put you off as they are all comparatively minor bits of the story (sorry Olivia) and it is otherwise a rip roaring yarn (all 39 hours of it) about human struggling through very difficult circumstances and pulling together.

    The one downside was the accents used with the welsh bad guy sounded like Sean Connery. It's annoying but not ultimately fatal to the story and the narrator does well otherwise.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Thijs
    1/19/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic!"

    I was happy to see there weren't nearly as many references to the proper care and maintenance of genitalia in this book as there were in 'Cryptonomicon.'
    Mind you, there were still some, just not as many.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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