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The Diamond Age Audiobook

The Diamond Age

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Publisher's Summary

In Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson took science fiction to dazzling new levels. Now, in The Diamond Age, he delivers another stunning tale. Set in 21st-century Shanghai, it is the story of what happens when a state-of-the-art interactive device falls into the hands of a street urchin named Nell. Her life, and the entire future of humanity, is about to be decoded and reprogrammed.

©1995 Neal Stephenson; (P)2001 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award Winner, Best Novel, 1996

  • Locus Award Winner, Best Novel, 1996

"The Quentin Tarantino of postcyberpunk science fiction." (The Village Voice)
"[He] is the hottest science fiction writer in America." (Details)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (5048 )
5 star
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Overall
4.2 (2955 )
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Story
4.4 (2936 )
5 star
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4 star
 (833)
3 star
 (254)
2 star
 (74)
1 star
 (42)
Performance
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  •  
    Robert 08-21-14
    Robert 08-21-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    106
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    "Okay story, first and second halves feel forced."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It was ok. Coming from Snow Crash, I had high expectation for Neil. The first and last halves of the book seem written independently of each other. The whole first half introduces you to the world and the characters. The second half turns everything upside down without explanation or build up. I though at first I skipped a few chapters. Nope, the book is just written that way.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The end was good but rushed after an entire book of build up.


    What three words best describe Jennifer Wiltsie’s performance?

    Consistent, calming, poignant.


    Did The Diamond Age inspire you to do anything?

    Nope


    Any additional comments?

    Audio sounds like it was poorly dubbed from cassette tape. Often times the audio distorts just like a tape would.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    david PORT HUENEME, CA, United States 08-04-14
    david PORT HUENEME, CA, United States 08-04-14 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    Story
    "50% story about the life if a little girl :-/"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Brilliant writing, amazing performance..... very boring storyline. The story has many great nuggets of creativity and energy, but 60% of the book is very boring narratives about the development of a child by benevolent benefactors, of sorts. If I wanted that kinda nap, I would have read Charles dickens


    If you’ve listened to books by Neal Stephenson before, how does this one compare?

    NA


    Which character – as performed by Jennifer Wiltsie – was your favorite?

    All, she was spot on with everything.


    Do you think The Diamond Age needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    nope, too boring.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca 07-15-14
    Rebecca 07-15-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    11
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    "Narrator Wins at Life"
    If you could sum up The Diamond Age in three words, what would they be?

    Crazy sci-fi literature


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Judge Fang and Miranda win for favorite characters. The judge is an honorable and rational man, and Miranda so desperately wants to find Nell. They are both pure in purpose.


    Have you listened to any of Jennifer Wiltsie’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, although I will be seeking her out going forward. She was a highlight of the novel. Her various accents and inflections made the book a delightful and enthralling experience. Top notch.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I did, but unfortunately it was too long to do so.


    Any additional comments?

    Jennifer Wiltsie deserves major kudos for her work on this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Invisibled California 06-30-14
    Invisibled California 06-30-14 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    34
    8
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    "Audiobook benchmark: Stephenson's and Wiltsie both"
    Where does The Diamond Age rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Diamond Age is in the top five ranking of audiobooks for me. I don't prefer many preferred women narrators, but Jennifer Wiltsie's name on a project will immediately attract my attention. Her ability to deliver both male and female voices, accents and children is astonishing. Stephenson's ability to weave several yards simultaneously make a very long book more like reading several related books simultaneously.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Diamond Age?

    Spoiler alert much? Fine, I'll bite: Chang and Burt's meeting is one of my all-time favorites in literature.


    Which character – as performed by Jennifer Wiltsie – was your favorite?

    Nell is an easy answer, but I'd have to say Carl Hollywood. For one, I just like the character. For two, her voicing fits my image of him.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I "read" this book at a very distinct period in my life. Wiltsie's narration and Stephenson's prose evoke very strong feeling of nostalgia every time I dig into it, but in the best way possible. I think this is one of those pieces of literature that - if you let it - will evoke an intellectual shift in the reader, which is always memorable.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N Oakleigh South, Australia 06-11-14
    N Oakleigh South, Australia 06-11-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Not pure scifi"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Diamond Age to be better than the print version?

    NA


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's sheer cleverness. That I really liked the characters, they seemed real to me.


    Which character – as performed by Jennifer Wiltsie – was your favorite?

    Nell


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When little Nell was safe.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is not pure scifi ie it does not take current science/world and extrapolate to a plausible possible future.

    It takes literary elements from the past and some aspects of current science and creates a mish mashed future dystopian world.

    This may annoy some readers.

    However after I got over being annoyed it is very well written and the voice while annoying is appropriate for the story, if that makes sense.

    It does deserve its HUGO award.

    A great audio book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Niemi 06-09-14
    S. Niemi 06-09-14 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    277
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    "Great Book (what's with the audio?)"
    Any additional comments?

    The plot is complicated and enjoyable. The narration was above average (it was good, but I don't want to say every narration is good).

    There is currently a problem with the audio. There were 6 or 7 instances where the audio would get all fuzzy with static and then come back again in 5 to 10 seconds. I did some checking and the problem was with my file, not the device. This isn't really a problem as you can still hear what's going on, but I was expecting a top-notch performance based on the book and author and getting the static makes it seem slip-shod.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Heard 06-07-14
    P. Heard 06-07-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Brilliant Sci-Fi Homage To Dickens!"

    This was my second listen of the audio version narrated by Jennifer Wiltsie, which I enjoyed more thoroughly than the first time. Perhaps the main reason for this was that I happened to listen to Oliver Twist in between and discovered that Neal Stephenson had written a wonderful homage to Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, unbeknownst to me. That is not to say that reading Oliver Twist is a requirement for liking this book, but that it is a great way to fully appreciate the author’s style in this story, which was somewhat foreign to me at first. The Diamond Age is the sort of book that has the amusing ability to make me feel both more and less intelligent than I really am. Stephenson has a style of genre bending all his own that I like to think of as Neal-punk. At times he’ll mix it with some Dickensian dialogue that makes perfect sense to me. Other times his writing flies right over my head and convinces me that I’d need a significant amount of time and effort doing research in order to get his meaning, which is okay with me. It all lends itself to the sort of layered writing that bears up well to multiple readings, getting more and more understanding and appreciation each time. That is not so say that it requires a re-read in order to enjoy, it just helped me out quite a bit. I also happen to be an avid re-reader.

    The characters in this book are diverse, interesting, often funny, and easy to sympathize with, especially Nell. I would mostly recommend this to people who enjoy an esoteric story that gives you a lot of food for thought. Neal Stephenson has a bit of a reputation for writing not-so-great endings. I don’t think The Diamond Age has a cut and dried conclusion, leaving room for the listener’s own imagination to wonder about and fill in some details. I can see how this may be dissatisfying to some, but I rather like a story that leaves me thinking about it afterwards. Jennifer Wiltsie did an excellent job with the narration, smoothly going from one character’s voice to another and delivering some lovely Victorian dialogue flawlessly to my American ears. All in all, I found it to be unique, imaginative, and quite fun.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Lisle, IL, United States 06-02-14
    Robert Lisle, IL, United States 06-02-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    "A true original"

    This is one of the few books that made me go "wow"! The story and narration are great, but there are some real ideas here that you will think about for a long time after its over.

    What does a society do when nanotechnology can provide all basic needs?
    How do people get a "tribal" sense of belonging when there are no nations left?
    Can you formulate a learning process customized to each individual child?

    While these may sound like totally different topics, this and more are developed by this book. In some cases the ideas overshadowed the story: the ideas were fully formed, but there were some loose ends in the story. I would like a sequel just to know what happened to some of the characters.

    Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nikolas Manchester, NH, United States 03-21-14
    nikolas Manchester, NH, United States 03-21-14 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "too much fantasy"

    not worth it for a serious reader. waste of time and gaining nothing pretty much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan Lubbock, TX 03-03-14
    Jonathan Lubbock, TX 03-03-14 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    7
    4
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    "OK, but nothing to write home about..."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Admittedly, I am picky when it comes to books. This one was too long and did not connect with me as quickly as I would have liked.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There were interesting ideas about society and technology.


    Have you listened to any of Jennifer Wiltsie’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was The Diamond Age worth the listening time?

    Barely.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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