Look at all the good stuff you’ve queued up onto your Kindle or iPad. But don’t you think we deserve some good escape fiction after all that work stuff? We’re going to end our summer reading series with a novel that has almost nothing to do with knowledge management.
Reamde: A Novel. Neal Stephenson. (@nealstephenson)
A lovable Russian Mafioso working with an insane Russian Mafioso. A plucky heroine and her weaselly boyfriend who gets what he deserves. An international jihadist organization that unwittingly shares a building with an international hacking ring, with poor results for everyone. The hacker with a heart of gold who hooks up with the hawker with a heart of gold. The game entrepreneur with a hidden past, saddled with the world’s most impossible creative team. The buttoned-down Asian-Canadian intelligence agent who is the only one surprised by her own lust.
In other words, Neal Stephenson’s back.
Look, if you loved his recent historical fiction, I admire you. He’s a really smart guy, and I appreciate (in principle) his ability to…do whatever he was doing in Quicksilver and the Baroque Cycle. I tried three or four times, and never got past page 200 of the first volume, and let me tell you, at page 200 you’re just getting started.
No, I prefer the still sprawling but still tightly plotted Stephenson of Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, and The Diamond Age, and that’s the Stephenson on display in Reamde. He creates wonderful characters and then designs these wonderful Rube Goldberg plots that you know will inevitably cast them together, but you’re not really sure how or where. Except you know that when they get there, there will be some big explosions, some good hacks, and—most of the time—the good guys will end up doing OK.
OK, that’s enough summer reading for this year. What great books did we miss?
ps – this is a work-free page. No marketing ps this time.
(I said “ps.” Sheesh.)