Book info

Reamde (2011)

Reamde (2011)
Rating
3.93 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
0061977969 (ISBN13: 9780061977961)
languge
English
genre
publisher
William Morrow
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Reamde (2011)
Reamde (2011)

About book: how long has it been since Stephenson wrote a pure thriller? Zodiac? never? and how many thrillers go 1044pp. the notion is fast, the action is non-stop. how could this work at that length? but it does. it moves so fast there are sparks on the rails. and there's no orientation period, not much Larger Picture, to plow through. and it works, clear through: the characters instantly engaging, the settings characters in themselves. chinese cyber-criminals, MI6 and old-school Russian superspies, and Arabic terrorist cells enter the picture, all with conflicting agendas and murderous intentions. by page 600-700 or so i was so into it i kept bursting into belly laughs every few pages, as the characters persevered and had some minor victories (mostly consisting in staying alive and heading in the right direction). cracks appeared in the Forces Arrayed Against Them, and their natural defenders finally began to get a clue about what was going on. only the last 200 pages or so, in which the characters converge again from across the world for a Final Battle, flag a bit. too many changes in PoV, i think, yank us out of the narrative, breaking up the flow, combined with a few too many assaults on the Suspension of Disbelief connected with the Great Convergence. but altogether, a very amusing book that NS must have had so much fun writing, because it's so much fun reading. and fun is good. so, go ahead, README. you won't be sorry.it all feels extremely simple, at least by Neal's standards. but it's not exactly, there are layers in all that detail, in their little search for meaning, even in those vivid world settings. dip a little deeper, it's about the fuzzy logic of separating real from virtual in this wired generation. and the future consequences of that: for nationalities and borders. there is the sense that gaming is the new substitute for religion, lacking the worship thing but not in itself devoid of ethics to learn, and against that the philosophy of the jihadists, for instance, can't in the long run compete. the gamers, treating with interfaces on the fly, marshal virtual armies, monetary systems, military and civilian law, and unfamiliar environments with nothing but their wits, resilience, and access to computer tools of one kind or another, and eventually win through to the endgame, picking and standing their ground, without a lot of culture shock attached to crossing the world without money, or passports, or contacts.and partly this is because they're the good guys. there is the game (T'Rain) and there is the virus (REAMDE) that threatens and yet in a way protects them, because they can own it, use it, overcome it. and then there's the good vs evil issue, raised in the game in the war between factions that is remaking T'Rain, the game in which rebellious writers have raised opposing armies. the original concept, that old thing about good vs evil, is one of the first things one of the two writers wants to throw out as outmoded. but to the players in that other game, technically not-virtual but overlapping the gaming war, alignment becomes everything. in their choices they reveal themselves: their alignment history doesn't matter, only their choices in the now. but making the right choices makes them allies in the field, in life and death matters. they choose and they move forward, into the Great Game, out of the cold, and into each other's hearts. choose wrong and you die: and you die alone, off the sum of those choices. ReamdeWhat made me take on this long novel was that, just after finishing reading "Snow Crash", a good friend reviewed "Reamde" and mentioned that much of the novel was set in Canada. Though I found "Snow Crash" well written, it was not quite my cup of tea. However, I figured I'd give Neal Stephenson another go. I also like to compare an authors early and later works. It always amazes me how their essential style usually stays intact.As with "Snow Crash", I can't fault with "Reamde" in anyway as far as the writing and story telling ability goes. Neil Stephenson is an exciting and imaginative writer. If you like the sort of stories Stephenson tells (I, personally, have only read two so far), you are in for a ride. "Reamde" is packed with action. It was not at all a scifi novel as I had expected it to be, but rather a contemporary action romp. Russia gangsters guys, homegrown Jihadist, British spies, Asian gamer-hackers, all represented by well developed characters. I tend to avoid stories based on the current state of terrorism – they will, I hope, one day soon, become as dated as the red-cold war stories of the fifties and sixties. I might enjoy them more sometime in the future when that is so.Most problems I had with “Reamde” was not at all the authors fault, they were mine alone – as mentioned, this is not the sort of story I usually enjoy. This novel, however, was at least well written and all, but perhaps there was simply too much of it. The book is huge! It seemed to take forever to get through it. The continual chase and the battle scenes (war with Jihadist right there in our own North America Rockies). On length alone, I sometimes lost focus on the various plot lines. The T'Rain game, having been set up so thoroughly, turned out not as much the focus of the novel as I thought it would be. I expected the majority of the action parts of the story to go on in there. It seemed to me that that element simply fizzled. There was also this: I kept thinking, 'What's up with the constant Wal*Mart endorsement? Camping in parking lot always encouraged. Camping gear, feminine products, fine looking suit in the Big and Tall section, all available at your friendly Wal*Mart superstores..." Perhaps the Wal*Mart corporation paid Stephenson a good portion of his advance?None the less, if you enjoy the first two hundred pages of this mammoth yarn, you will continue to do so for the next 800.I will continue to search for a Neil Stephenson novel that I will like. As I said, it’s not him, it’s me. I am certain that he has published a story out there just for me.
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Reviews
nydiaale
Another great novel by Stephenson. Dragged a little in the middle, but a rip roaring read.
email0096
Really liked it but you should read it before some of the jargon gets more outdated.
Mreynolds
This may be the only one of its kind that I will read...
carpenoctem182
Slow to start but grabs you later. Fun read.
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