Friday, July 1, 2011


I'm not quite sure why I chose to read another thousand page, super-tome so soon after my trip to Sherlock-land, but I have and it was good, actually.

My dad has been telling me about this book off and on for a couple of years. He actually gave me another book by Neal Stephenson to read first, only because his copy of Cryptonomicon was on loan. That book, Anathem, was more in the speculative fiction/sci fi realm, and because I hadn't read any of Stephenson books, I assumed he was a sci fi guy. Nope.

Cryptonomicon is a modern day--okay, maybe a few years into the future--novel, with an historic fiction sub-plot weaving through it. Sounds pretty simple, and it is, but Stephenson does a great job of weaving the story-within-a-story into the narrative to create mystery and depth, so that, eventually, it doesn't matter which is the main story and which is the sub-plot; they become interchangeable and support one another.

Each of the parallel story lines is related to the other, through time, and this gives the characters tangibility and personal history. As things are revealed in the historical plot line, it has implications in the modern plot line, and weirdly, vice versa.

The story is rich with history, technology (both modern and WWII era), crypotology (again, both modern and WWII era), math, science, war stories and love stories. Sounds like a lot, but Stephenson pulls it off again. Anathem was also a weightlifting exercise, with similar plot complexities, and he pulled that off too. So huzzah to Neal Stephenson for being able to write a big book, about big ideas, and do it so its interesting, albeit, not a page-turner, all the way through.

So why, you may be wondering, after finishing another big boy book, would I be so dumb as to begin a trilogy of 500 pagers? Or, more accurately, the fourth, fifth and sixth book in a sexology. what? I'm sure I'm using that word right. What can I say, I'm a sucker for punishment. Wish me luck as a revisit Dune.

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