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Author Topic: Cryptonomicon
Liberal Media
Orangutan Spouse
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posted 07-25-2005 10:59 AM      Profile for Liberal Media   Email Liberal Media   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is this any good? I popped my Neal Stephenson cherry with Snow Crash a few weeks ago, and really enjoyed doing so. I've been looking for a good read. Any recommendations?

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I just want bangbangbang.

From: inside | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Biffster
Farting Nudist
Member # 269

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posted 07-25-2005 01:10 PM      Profile for Biffster     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Omarion's "O" is pretty good IMHO
From: Viridian City (On the road at least) | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged
Mr. K
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posted 07-26-2005 01:35 AM      Profile for Mr. K   Author's Homepage   Email Mr. K   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There were so many words that by the time I got to the end, I had forgotten the beginning, so the conclusion had much less impact on me. Also I like a book that is convenient to carry around and even the paperback of that thing is huge.

If you're a fast reader, I'd recommend it. Although you might want to try the The Diamond Age and Zodiac first. I liked Zodiac a lot and Stephenson's brain was younger and less full of data, so the book isn't too too long.

Wintermute will hopefully chime in here. I haven't kept up on Stephenson's more recent stuff because I don't have that kinda time.

[ 07-26-2005, 01:38 AM: Message edited by: Mr. K ]

From: Cinnabar Island | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Wintermute
My custom title sucks.
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posted 07-27-2005 12:47 AM      Profile for Wintermute   Author's Homepage   Email Wintermute   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree entirely with K's recommendations, though I may have liked Diamond Age more than he did, and more than Zodiac. Cryptonomicon is definitely worth it, though it was the first Stephenson novel from which I needed occasional breaks.

Quicksilver, the first novel in his "Baroque Cycle," slowed me down even more, and if Cryptonomicon seems draggy to you, I'd say forget it. But it's got the Royal Society and Newton vs. Leibniz, and the Stephenson hyperkinesis still pops up. I've started the 2nd one, but I waited for the TPB.

It's hard to think back very far for other recommendations. Too bloody old.

M. John Harrison's Light was a great SF read. Ignore the low Amazon rating - Neil Gaiman praised it, inadvertently attracting an audience who didn't expect equal measures of space opera and sexual perversion.

Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan is grotesque and beautiful.

From: Winnipeg, Manitoba | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Liberal Media
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posted 07-27-2005 01:42 AM      Profile for Liberal Media   Email Liberal Media   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks to everyone for the recommendations. I've way too much time on my hands, so I was looking for a long read to occupy me for a few days. If my budget weren't so tiny, I'd get several books, but (speaking of Neil Gaiman) Anansi Boys is coming out soon, and I've only got so much money to last me until September. Has anyone here read American Gods?

[ 07-27-2005, 01:44 AM: Message edited by: Liberal Media ]

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I just want bangbangbang.

From: inside | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. K
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posted 07-27-2005 01:57 AM      Profile for Mr. K   Author's Homepage   Email Mr. K   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If you haven't seen it before, I have a standing recommendation for nearly all of Vonnegut's novels (although none of his horrible short stories).

Stay away from the famous ones, particularly Slaughterhouse-Five which is my least favorite. You also might have heard of Breakfast of Champions which I also found a little sub-par.

I highly recommend Cat's Cradle, Bluebeard, Galapagos and Hocus Pocus and his collections of nonfiction stuff are pretty good if you just want more Vonnegut to read. I've read all his novels, almost all his accumulated nonfiction stuff and all of his lousy short stories except for half of one collection which I accidentally left on a train and haven't bothered to re-purchase.

All his krap should be in the library, and they are all fast reads (his novels are like popcorn after Stephenson), so maybe you could borrow a couple for free. Also his earlier books are a little more fun, since he isn't quite so consumed with dying and old age and such.

But he's a fun cranky, bitter old bastard so even when he's spending a whole book wheezing and bitching, it's good.

Also I recommend Catch-22 to everyone everywhere (except girls, who never enjoy it). Joseph Heller is like the inverse of Vonnegut. Catch-22 is an amazing masterpiece better than anything Vonnegut ever wrote, but just about everything else Heller wrote is boring and/or awful.

Vonnegut, on the other hand, has made a zillion quality novels, but none of them really masterpieces. He sort of spread out his talent over the years, whereas Heller shot his wad and was done with it.

From: Cinnabar Island | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Liberal Media
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posted 07-27-2005 02:29 AM      Profile for Liberal Media   Email Liberal Media   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I actually haven't read Slaughterhouse, but I've read Hocus Pocus and Cat's Cradle. It took me a while to get used to his style of humor, but I liked both books once I finally did. Catch-22 was awesome. Heller actually wrote a sequel, but it was depressingly bad--it read like bad fanfiction.

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I just want bangbangbang.

From: inside | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. K
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posted 07-27-2005 07:36 AM      Profile for Mr. K   Author's Homepage   Email Mr. K   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Liberal Media: I actually haven't read Slaughterhouse, but I've read Hocus Pocus and Cat's Cradle. It took me a while to get used to his style of humor, but I liked both books once I finally did.

Well, if you're in the mood for more of that, there are plenty to choose from. Player Piano is sort of interesting, because it's his first novel and he tries harder to be "serious".

Heller actually wrote a sequel, but it was depressingly bad--it read like bad fanfiction.

I actually own it, but I never made it all the way through. You're right, it was boring and depressing.

Have you read any of Carl Hiassen's books? He's like the inverse Dave Barry. Barry writes funny columns and crappy fiction and Hiassen writes funny fiction and crappy columns.

Also if you want to try Cowboy Jewboy Hardboiled Detective fiction, try Kinky Friedman's books. They are light and fluffy, but speedy fun reads.

From: Cinnabar Island | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Liberal Media
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posted 07-27-2005 10:22 AM      Profile for Liberal Media   Email Liberal Media   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Have you read any of Carl Hiassen's books?
Is that the dude that wrote Strip Tease? I skimmed through that once, when the movie came out. This was a while ago, though, so I'm pretty hazy on this. I do remember that it read kinda like a Guy Ritchie film: lots of quirky characters, multiple subplots, clever dialogue. Is the rest of his stuff similar?

quote:
Also if you want to try Cowboy Jewboy Hardboiled Detective fiction, try Kinky Friedman's books. They are light and fluffy, but speedy fun reads.
A Jewish cowboy? Sounds intriguing. He also gets points for having "Kinky" as his first name. I'll definitely give his stuff a look.

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I just want bangbangbang.

From: inside | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Mr. K
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posted 07-27-2005 07:25 PM      Profile for Mr. K   Author's Homepage   Email Mr. K   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Liberal Media:Is that the dude that wrote Strip Tease?

Yeah, but, like Elmore Leonard, don't blame him for the shitty movies. For some reason, Hollywood can never do these things right.

I do remember that it read kinda like a Guy Ritchie film: lots of quirky characters, multiple subplots, clever dialogue. Is the rest of his stuff similar?

That's the basic idea. I've only read a couple of them. Native Tongue had some stuff so fucked up that I get flashbacks of it sometimes, so I'd recommend that one for starters. They're all set in Florida which makes things slightly more interesting for me.

A Jewish cowboy? Sounds intriguing.

He's also running for governor of Texas and sings country music with his band "The Texas Jewboys". I think he's been discussed in the Park before, just like just about every other friggin' topic on Earth.

[ 07-27-2005, 07:28 PM: Message edited by: Mr. K ]

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White Cat
Nobody knows why I'm an admin.
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posted 07-28-2005 03:19 AM      Profile for White Cat   Author's Homepage   Email White Cat      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
http://www.math.miami.edu/~jam/azure/forum/tuff/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=8;t=008504
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Lark84
My skeleton is made of creamy nougat.
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posted 07-30-2005 11:50 AM      Profile for Lark84     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Chiming in late as usual, but yes, Cryptonomicon is definitely worth it, but now that I think of it, it really is a lot of words and sometimes a little unclear as to what the fuck is going on.

I just re-read it this summer (been 2 years since), and found it even more enjoyable this time, possibly because I already knew what was going on in a broad perspective, but had forgotten the details.

The book is absolutely full of awesome things, though, so read it.

And while I'm at it, Diamond Age is well worth a read, too. It's a realistic (IMO) portrait of what nano technology might be like in the future.

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Lark84
My skeleton is made of creamy nougat.
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posted 07-31-2005 02:10 PM      Profile for Lark84     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks to K, I shelled out cash for Catch 22 and Cat's Cradle, as well as two other books, The Algebraist by Ian M Banks (seemed cool and I rarely visit bookstores so why not?) and V. by Thomas Pynchon (whom I've been curious about reading, but I couldn't find Gravity's Rainbow, which I've heard much about, so I chose one at random).

But reading is good for you. I think I'm gonna give up telly and quality Internet timewasting for reading books.

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Liberal Media
Orangutan Spouse
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posted 08-01-2005 11:35 AM      Profile for Liberal Media   Email Liberal Media   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The Algebraist by Ian M Banks
How is it? What's it about?

quote:
V. by Thomas Pynchon
I've never read Pynchon, but I hear his stuff is REALLY trippy. I've been told that Pynchon books are meant to be read whilst high. Haven't tried it, though, so tell me how that works out for you.

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I just want bangbangbang.

From: inside | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Lark84
My skeleton is made of creamy nougat.
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posted 08-01-2005 04:00 PM      Profile for Lark84     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How is it? What's it about?

Whoa, you think I've started reading it *already*? I'm not that avid a reader... [Wink]

It's a sci-fi. From the back cover and some (very positive) reviews I've read on various sites, it's about a human researcher going through the billions of years worth of archives of the Dwellers, inhabitants of a gas giant whose average lifespan rivals that of a normal star, when a war breaks out, leaving him stranded and at the mercy of the Dwellers, who really have no interest in helping a member of one of the short lived species...

I've been told that Pynchon books are meant to be read whilst high. Haven't tried it, though, so tell me how that works out for you.

Unfortunately for you, I don't do drugs, but out of curiosity, I read the first 20 or so pages of it on my way home, and yeah, it is very trippy indeed.

It will be an interesting read, and probably the one of my new books I'll read first, just because it seems so damn strange.

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