Just got through Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and man what a fun ride this book has been. Not really sure how I ended up with this book in the first place - it's really not the sort of thing I usually read as I usually chew through Sci-Fi or non-fiction, but this is one hell of a ride that made me crack up hard more than few times... It's not often I get such a kick out of a book <s>...
by Neal Stephenson
Avon (November 1, 2002)
The book's convergence of several stories that mix present day and World War 2 yarns about cryptology and a treasure hunt for sunken (in more ways than one <s>) gold. Sounds like an unlikely combination and that's part of what makes this such a fun read - this book is deep in details and both serious and hilarious at the same time, because a lot of it is written with an inner ear voice - characters thinking out loud basically. And the stuff that comes out is damn entertaining. The modern end of the story deals with setting up a high tech data haven in a remote part of the world that gets side tracked by a discovery of World War 2 treasure. The World War 2 story runs several characters through rather interesting adventures all over the world. Sharks and canibals are involved in one story - need I say more? <g>
What is cool with this book is the tone - it's written by an obvious geek with appreciation for the obsessive compulsive geek behaviors and all <s>, but also with a WTF attitude to the way the world (both of 'em works) - something I can identify with, he he.
I also find it fascinating to read about World War 2 and the chaos that went on during those years. It's just incredibly hard to understand the mood of those times and this book puts you in the middle of it from various very different perspectives, yet without being a 'war' book as it captures the mood and the chaos of the period. I feel like a complete wimp when I think about the people that put their life on the line a 100 million times over. I just cannot picture myself in that era being uhm, heroic in any way, which is a bit humbling. I just hope we don't have the opportunity to have to find out - in that way - what we're made of. (and yeah, that's a point the book gets into too <s>).
This book is big - and its kind of a slow read as you have to pay attention to the details <s>. So if you have a week (or three) to kill this book is a good way to waste it...
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