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Stephenson's Quicksilver Slated For March 7th

chrisd posted more than 12 years ago | from the hopefully-this-one-ends-less-abruptly dept.

News 114

Swampper writes: "New Neal Stephenson novel Quicksilver is available for pre-order from Amazon UK. It's due out on March 7th. There is also another Stephenson book on the horizon; Interface. It will arrive May 2nd." Actually, Interface was previously offered through the psuedonym "Stephen Bury" Note the discussion of this book and others on the Cryptonomicon site.

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Alan Thick. DEAD, Due to first Post. (-1)

Alan_Thicke (553655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945008)

I just heard the sad news on CBC radio. Comedy actor/writer Alan Thicke was found dead in his home this morning. Even if you never watched his work, you can appreciate what he did for 80's television. Truly a Canadian icon.
He will be missed :(



Show me That Smile (The Growing Pains Theme Song):

Show me that smile again.
Ooh show me that smile.
Don't waste another minute on your crying.
We're nowhere near the end.
We're nowhere near.
The best is ready to begin.

As long as we got each other
We got the world
Sitting right in our hands.
Baby rain or shine;
All the time.
We got each other
Sharing the laughter and love. [goatse.cx]

Re:Alan Thick. DEAD, Due to first Post. (-1)

The BOFH Troll (549884) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945183)

If you're Canadian and you're also a Vancouverite, lets mate. We can make one lovely troll.

Referral ID in Amazon link? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945015)

Uh, is someone trying to make money here? LAME.

F1R5T PR0$T (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945018)

all your base are belong to me

Interface (1, Redundant)

adamjone (412980) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945020)

You can get Interface here [amazon.com] from Amazon [amazon.com] .

Re:Interface (-1)

Pr0n K1ng (160688) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945037)

Hahahahahahahah! Fucker! Referral link in an Amazon link posted on Slashdot? I've never seen that before. You stupid sack of shit.

Re:Interface (1)

vs (21446) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945483)

Why buy at Amazon if you don't have to?

I found that my local dealer (the not so small type, but three shops in three different larger cities around here) offers the same books at about 25-50c(EUR) less for the same service (or you can choose to pick it up in town).

If you go to the site of Libri.de, you can even choose almost any book shop where you want to pick up your delivery.

And afterall, we surely know where to buy books online.

Six million more (-1)

Ralph JewHater Nader (450769) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945021)

All jews must die.

Re:Six million more (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945064)



don't you have anything positive to say?
like maybe you'd like to take a big fat cock in my green party ass, preferrably by a conservative republican?

yeah. that sounds about right.
HAND

Re:Six million more (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945069)

OK, fine. Sure. "All Jews must die." Fair enough. But... will this affect ANAL COX in any way?

. . . Stop me before I post again!

Can't wait (0, Redundant)

NetCAM (40537) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945029)

I loved Snowcrash and Cryptonomicon so I can't wait to read this one and see how good it is.

Cool! Best biking movie of all time! (2, Funny)

Blaede (266638) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945468)

Kevin Bacon MADE that role. Let's hope the book is a good as the flick!

my experience with Quicksilver (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945030)

I had been watching my mother's friend for many years. She was about 52 and
still had a great body that has been the envy of many of her friends. She still
had her looks and a very pretty face. A great ass, excellent tits and I had
always wondered what she looked like nude. Little did I know that I would get my
chance.

She called one day asking to help her move furniture around as she wanted to
steam clean her carpets in her living room. It was a cold day out, she was
wearing a sweater and sweatpants. We moved the recliner from one corner of the
room to the other and continued to move stuff from one side of the room to the
other. After about three hours, we were both in a dripping sweat and were glad
that the work was finally over. She asked if I would like a beer, which I gladly
accepted. I wasn't planning to stay for more than one, but I didn't have
anything planned that evening, so I also accepted her invitation for dinner. She
cooked a great meal and we sat on the sofa and had a few more beers when she
noticed that I was getting hard. She looked down at my cock, and blushed. She
said that she apparently hadn't tired me out enough. I told her that she still
has the power to get me hard. I had known her since I was a teenager and had
many a fantasy about her. She said that she didn't know that I had feelings for
her. I informed her that I had always had feelings where she was concerned. I
told her that I had wanted to make love to her for many years. She said that she
was an old lady and that no one would want her. I told her that I did, and would
be honored to give her love that night. Again, she looked down at my hardening
cock and said, "so I see". She took my hand and led me to her bedroom. Both of
her children were grown and moved out and we had the house to ourselves. She
then told me to strip, which I did slowly. When I got down to my underware, she
stopped me and said this is where she takes over. I stood before her and allowed
her to proceed. She knelt before me and looked at my hard-on still trapped in my
shorts. She placed her mouth over the fabric and started to suck my cock though
my shorts. This about made me cum right there. Then she pulled my shorts down
and began to suck me slowly. I fell onto the mattress and stopped her before I
came. Then we stood up and I began to remove her clothes. She was everything
that I had dreampt about. I removed her sweater and found a beautiful set of
tits. I removed her bra and the nipples were errect and about the size of a half
dollar. She had a little tattoo on the right one. I never dreamed that she would
have a tattoo there, let alone anyplace else. Then I pulled her sweatpants down
and she didn't have any panties on. She had a great ass for a lady her age.
Still firm, no sag and a perfect clit. She even shaved it! Bald Pussy is the
very best to me. She said that I told her one night that bald pussy was great
and she said that it was a night that I was hitting on her because I was drunk.
I have a feeling that she was planning this all along.

I knelt before her and began to kiss her thighs. She pressed my head toward her
pussy. She smelled like sweat, which was fine by me. I would have sold my soul
to lick the sweat from her thighs. She let me do just that. Then my tongue found
it's way to her pussy. I told her to lay on the bed and we could do a 69. I
thought that she wouldn't go for that, but was surprised when she got on top to
initiate it. I proped my head up on some pillows to get a better shot at it. She
lowered herself onto my face and I lapped up her juices like an animal. She must
have came about ten times. In the meantime, she was giving my cock the loving
care that it had needed for sometime. I was in seventh heaven. Again, she
stopped before I came and turned and sat on my cock and rode me every so slowly.
I reached up and kneaded her tits and pinched the nipples and she moaned like a
cavewoman. She was cumming again and I was cumming for the first time that
night. She milked the cum out of my balls for what seemed like forever. We both
came and she laid on top of me, both of us soaked in sweat. She looked at me and
started to laugh. I asked what was funny. She said that she was living a fantasy
too. Apparently, she had wanted to make love to a younger man for a long time.
She had lots of men her own age, but always wanted one that was younger than
herself. I was flattered that she choose me for that. She then wanted to take a
shower. I asked if I could join her. She said, "I was hoping that you would! Get
your ass up and in here now, young man!" I couldn't wait to get in there to help
her get cleaned up.

The shower was great. We sucked and fucked some more in the shower and went back
to bed for more sex. This time, she told me what she wanted. She wanted me to
eat her out and to come on her tits so she could like it off.

Who am I to say no?

MOD PARENT UP (-1)

Frank White (515786) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945048)

The parent post will probably get modded down, but I feel it is insightful and thought-provoking. This is just another example of the censorship going on at Slashdot every day.

Recommendations (2, Informative)

ZaBu911 (520503) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945032)

For anyone who isn't familiar with stephenson, he is the popular author of novels such as Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash.

Cryptonomicon is great for any "security"-minded or interested person. It's a great read. Snow Crash I liked, but it was a bit confusing in the beginning. Once again, recommended for the typical slashdot reader.

I expect Quicksilver to be equally interesting

Re:Recommendations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945347)

Buggy perl code. Flashbacks. Flashforwards. Math. Homosexual sex. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person writing all rolled into one. Computers.

Yeah folks, it's time for Neal Stephenson to release his latest book.

Re:Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2946056)

Interesting thing I read about cryptonomicon
before I read it was in Newsweek. In the
short article Stephenson indicated that
he wrote the book entirely on Linux.
He indicated at the time that it may be
the first novel written on the OS.
Cool

Re:Linux (2)

disappear (21915) | more than 12 years ago | (#2947254)

[Stephenson] indicated at the time that [
Cryptonomicon] may be the first novel written on the OS.

I have him beat by a year or two. But his novel has the advantage of having been published, while mine is collecting dust on a shelf. :-(

Re:Linux (1)

theNeophile (238938) | more than 12 years ago | (#2948014)

Yes, it's absolutely the first book about the OS. Partly because "the OS" is Finux (which is a fictional Linux alike (which he used so he could do what he wanted with it and not worry about people saying 'You fool, thats v. 2.57 of FOO, it can't do multiconfigubar' (or some such))).

You know (0)

Polytechy (550710) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945038)

It's one thing to have a link directly to the place where the book can be purchased (sellouts) It's another to not provide a link to an encrypted version of this. Q

THIS POST IS ONTOPIC (-1)

dadaist (544022) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945278)

The cow says:
decrypt the following post for extra credit: Ae239dfDhEF3;&54f [well.com]

In fairness... (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945948)

They did quash my posting of an article on the upcoming and pre-release sale of Douglas Adams final writings, Salmon of Doubt, due May.

The big Sell Outs:

Amazon.com (book) [amazon.com] (tape) [amazon.com]

Amazon.co.uk(book) [amazon.co.uk]

I'm a bit miffed that something as interesting to many /. readers isn't news but Stephenson is. Ok, it's subjective, the choices, but they did run articles earlier about the works possibly being recovered from his Adams' computer and eventually seeing print. Seemed natural to run the article, but I wonder if /. has an exclusive contract with fatbrain and won't run articles without links to them, so once fatbrain confirms they'll have the books then /. will run the story? That would certainly be a sell out.

That there is actually cover art and a look at Harmony Books [harmonybooks.com] bears this up, it's coming out, one year after his death.

Felchmale!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945042)

Does anyone here know how to use FELCHMALE? I can't get it to work, it doesn't like my POP server!! Maybe ANAL COX knows how? He wrote it, didn't he?

Re:Felchmale!? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945049)

No, Eric. S. Raymond wrote it. The little punk with the gun fetish to compensate for the lack-of-cock problem. Anal Cox -- er, Alan Cox -- wrote the TCP/IP stack that you're using to post your slop to Slashdot.

. . . Stop me before I post again!

Re:Felchmale!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945796)

What do you compensate for your little shriveled devil dog with?

Amazon UK has had this for a year now... (3, Insightful)

Nilatir (179045) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945047)

Amazon.co.uk has had Quicksilver in their data base for a year now. I'd want more info then just a pre-order from Amazon.

Re:Amazon UK has had this for a year now... (2, Informative)

spacehug (547909) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945215)

Yes, seriously - is this the only basis for reporting this? Somebody just now discovering it on Amazon.co.uk, when it has been there for months? That is the ONLY place any kind of date has been announced, and it hasn't changed there in a loooong time. Not likely - perhaps SOME sort of checking on this should have been done?

so? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945050)

I just wanna know when the next harry potter comes out....

Re:so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945266)

Me too! That's what I was looking for when I stumbbled upon this. Love NS, but addicted to JKR.
-Swampper

What about The Cobweb (2nd Bury book)? (4, Insightful)

kubrick (27291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945051)

I already have Interface, but never saw the second Stephen Bury book for sale anywhere here (serves me right for not living in the US, I guess).

Is that flagged to be re-issued as well? Given that copies of Zodiac have popped up again here recently, I'd imagine The Cobweb would be stocked more widely with the Stephenson name on the cover.

I'm looking forward to Quicksilver, of course -- all that detail combined with amusing narrative :)

Re:What about The Cobweb (2nd Bury book)? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945576)

Honestly, The Cobweb really sucked. I think his later work was several orders of magnitude better. I own The Cobweb simply for collector's sake, but I'll never read it again *shudder*.

In The Beginning Was The Command Line (5, Interesting)

adamjone (412980) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945053)

For anyone who has not read Neal Stephenson, In The Beginning Was The Command Line [artlung.com] is an essay he wrote dealing with the evolution of the UI from the command line to windows based. It is a funny and interesting rant on how the graphical widgets we use today have softened us.

Re:In The Beginning Was The Command Line (-1)

dadaist (544022) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945274)

Here's a link to more information: PD's hall of shame [slashdot.org] and Neal Stephenson's webpage: here [well.com]

Re:In The Beginning Was The Command Line (1)

eduardo (23915) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945919)

You're right, this is a great read.

I downloaded this (http://www.memoware.com/b/commandline.pdb) [memoware.com] and read it from my PDA. It provided a couple/few hours of reading enjoyment during the slow times onboard my submarine....I'll bet Mr. Stephenson could've never foreseen his work being read in a weirder place than under the sea!

Anyways, I wonder if he will add an epilogue that covers the changes brought about by MacOSX.

Why? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945061)

Why does this matter? Unless there are GAY HOMOSEXUAL GEEKS FUCKING EACH OTHER in the link, I really don't care that much. That's what this site is for, right????

. . . Stop me before I post again!

Interface saved my mother's life. (3, Interesting)

farrellj (563) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945078)

I know it sounds like a Tabloid Headline...but it's true. _Interface_ was written by Stephenson and Dr George F. Jewsbury. It's accurate description of the physiological problems and experiences of a person who has undergone a stroke and that they may have potential blood clots clued me into something that happened to my mom just before I visited. Based upon what I had told my mom that she had probably experienced a minor stroke and should go to the hospital, and that the stiffness & hardness in her calf was probably a blood clot. She and my dad didn't think it was all that serious...Well, within 24 hours, she was in the hospital, and stayed in the hospital for nearly 3 months...she had all the major artories between her heart and her legs replaced because they were so clogged...probably from 30+ years of smoking. She hasn't smoked since she went into the hospital

I got to thank Mr Stephenson in person a couple of years ago at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy 2000 conference held in Toronto. I sort of made a fool of myself since I only briefly said thank you and explained why...then ran off since a few tears started, and having some claim to being a little bit macho, didn't want him to see me cry.

So thanx again Neal and George!

ttyl
Farrell

p.s. The two of them also wrote another novel called The Cobweb, which seems a little prescient considering Sept. 11!

Wirth saved my father's life!! (1)

sinserve (455889) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945148)

My father was a big follower of Nicholas Wirth's
(actually, many CS professors in europe.) teachings.

During the Vietnam war, he returned from europe
to the US, and he was required to join the armed
forces and fight.

The man was an emaciated grad student, and failed
every physical exam they threw at him. During the
2nd day of try-outs, he developed asthma and a long
list of other illnesses and complexes.

USMC knew they will support this man to the grave
if they ever enlist him, so they decided to save
the public money from an evidant premature medicare.

As soon as they certified him "unfit", he returned
healthy and kicking -- back to terminal radiation,
and eliminating left recursion.

AOL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945086)

AOL user says hi!

Huzzah! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945090)

How much money did Slashdot just make with that direct Amazon link? Maybe you guys can stop sucking advertising-banner executives' penises now that you're sucking Bezos' cock, and concentrate on something like journalistic integrity! And fixing the wide-page post problem.

Thank you.

. . . Stop me before I post again!

Stephenson talks about Quicksilver (4, Interesting)

tds (128757) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945108)

This a brief interview in which Stephenson talks about Quicksilver. "related -- loosely -- to "Cryptonomicon". I won't say it's part of a trilogy, but it's a somewhat related work. It's a historical novel, set farther back in time, about 300 years ago, and it deals with a lot of the same themes" http://www.onmagazine.com/on-mag/reviews/article/0 ,9985,46833-1954,00.html

List of Books (3, Informative)

theMacDude (132844) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945114)

FWIW- Here are the books that Neal Stepehnson has written:

* The Big U (1984)
* Zodiac: The Eco-Thriller (1988)
* Snow Crash (1992)
* The Diamond Age (1995)
* Cryptonomicon (1999)
* Quicksilver (2002)

He has also written two books under the psuedonym of Stephen Bury:

* Interface (1994)
* The Cobweb (1996)

Cryptonomicom (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945116)

Absolutely the worst f*****g book I have read. Content and story are fine his belabored style and over indulgent descriptions make the book unbearable. He could have written the same story in 300 pages. I wish you would stop adoring him. It was originally because of a slashdot article that I wen't out and bought the book. He is an absolutely terrible writer.

Re:Cryptonomicom (1)

NEOGEOman (155470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945129)

I found Cryptonomicon to be a long and often arduous read, but I think it was more than enjoyable.

Personally I think you're confusing your opinion as fact. Clearly there are different viewpoints here.

Lawrence.

Re:Cryptonomicom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945159)

Certainly it is my opinion but one that is founded on a library of more than 400 books by at least 70 authors. When I tell you he suck's it is an educated opinion. I do not think any of the other authors in my collection suck.

What a waste (1, Insightful)

GCP (122438) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945126)

I keep waiting for somebody to take the breathtaking implications of things like nanotech, hacking matter, hacking biology, quantum computing, AI, the Internet, etc., and weave them into a breathtaking, serious novel.

[flame suit on] Instead, all we get are comic books. William Gibson is just goth mood music in print with a little tech thrown in for effect. In person, he admitted as much, but said that was fine with him. It was all about the style, nothing deeper.

Stephenson starts to get imaginative regarding tech, then throws it all away with goofy comic book plots. Lots of ideas I thought were clever enough to build intelligent novels around -- but no such luck.

(All I've read of his have been Snow Crash and Diamond Age, but that left me uninterested in trying again. Maybe Cryptonomicon is different....)

And don't get me started on Speilberg and AI!

The implications of what we can reasonably assume we'll be able to do within a few decades are mind blowing. Surely there must be someone who can bring it to life, to put us there and make it feel real, without wimping out and turning it into just a big joke.

I don't think I have the talent to do it myself, but I can't believe that nobody else does either.

Instead, we have a wasteland of black leather and sunglasses, of elves and trolls, of light sabers and aliens that all look like humans with lumpy heads....

Where is the "2001" for our age?

Re:What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945145)

Quit your whining. There is no '2001 for our age' we have superceded the romanticized outlook on life. What planet are you living on and how old are you?

Re:What a waste (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945163)

OK, I'll write it.

Check back in a year.

Re:What a waste (1)

travail_jgd (80602) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945198)

I keep waiting for somebody to take the breathtaking implications of things like nanotech, hacking matter, hacking biology, quantum computing, AI, the Internet, etc., and weave them into a breathtaking, serious novel.



Try Greg Bear's "Slant", "Queen of Angels", and "Moving Mars".

Re:What a waste (2)

kubrick (27291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945321)

Try Greg Bear's "Slant", "Queen of Angels", and "Moving Mars".

I enjoyed all those, but they didn't feel all that serious to me. Moving Mars, especially, flew off into comic-book level speculation at the end...

Bear's a good writer but he has an unfortunate tendency to the epic (IMHO).

Re:What a waste (4, Interesting)

Murdock037 (469526) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945205)

I agree with a lot of what you say, but I think you may be asking a bit much.

All the truly valuable science fiction-- which I've heard referred to as the most interesting genre being used today, although I'm not sure I'd go that far-- deals with man's relationship with society and technology (which grew, on a side note, out of the western, which dealt with taming the frontier, or the big scary world; the next natural step was to ask where we go from there).

But you're right, there's nothing out there (with which I'm familiar) right now that's utterly breathtaking. A few reasons for this, in my mind:

1. Sci-fi has been disregarded in pop culture, despite the "rise of the geek," as fetishistic and childish. Because it's not respected, respectable people don't stick up for it.

2. The sci-fi we get is utterly commercial-- Star Trek, movies passing themselves off as sci-fi, etc.-- and so the money behind it doesn't want to tackle weightier issues.

But some things to ponder:

1. Stephenson's doing a pretty fine job. He's examining important ideas in a still-relevant medium, the novel, and he does so in a way that gets him at least a modicum of notice out in the real world. He'll be remembered down the line as one of the people that really gets it.

2. Sci-fi was pretty silly to start with, you know. The B-movies of the fifties-- giant bugs and such-- had the subtext of fears of communism and the dangers of atomic power, but they were still movies with GIANT BUGS AND SUCH. There are gems that we do get these days-- Stephenson, Spielberg's "A.I." (and sorry, folks, like it or not, it wasn't a BAD movie by any means, no matter how misdirected the ending)-- that are just as good, if not better, than anything from the bygone eras.

3. You can't expect a new "2001" every few years because there is nobody out there now operating at the level of Kubrick in 1968. He was, at his peak, probably the finest filmmaker in the world, and "2001" was his opportunity to indulge in his grandest delusions. If he wasn't such a genius, it would have been an atrocious movie. As it stands, it's the byproduct of one of the medium's greatest creators, and something like that's not going to come along every day.

There's talent out there capable of doing wonderful things. You've just got to sift through the rest.

Sorry pal, but AI WAS a very bad movie (0)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 12 years ago | (#2948589)

Unless you like movies about seemingly perveted obsessions with your mother.........

Re:What a waste (4, Interesting)

Muggins the Mad (27719) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945298)

> The implications of what we can reasonably assume we'll be able to do within a few decades are mind blowing. Surely there must be someone who can bring it to life, to put us there and make it feel real, without wimping out and turning it into just a big joke.

In that case I'd recommend Greg Egan.
http://www.netspace.net.au/~gregegan/

As can be seen from his web site, he's a geek too :)

Pretty much any of his books rock, but I especially like Diaspora and Axiomatic. He puts
a lot of his short stories online so you can even try before you buy.

Of course, as with anything like this, it's up to personal taste, so YMMV.

- Muggins the Mad

Re:Greg Egan rocks... (2)

CyberDruid (201684) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945318)

I'd say he is the (objectively ;) best scifi writer currently active. Man... To come up with a novel like "Permutation City" - plain genius.

Re:What a waste (2)

spiro_killglance (121572) | more than 12 years ago | (#2948549)


He's more than a Geek, he's a published physicist
and as you can see from the web site with stories
like the plank dive, is not a afraid to put really
heavy physics in to his hard sci-fi stories.

Re:What a waste (2)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945351)

All I've read of his have been Snow Crash and Diamond Age, but that left me uninterested in trying again. Maybe Cryptonomicon is different....)


For what it's worth, I've read all three of the above books, and Cryptonomicon is by far the best of the three. I agree that Snow Crash and Diamond Age were both comic-book-like, but I didn't think Cryptonomicon was at all. Give Cryptonomic a chance, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Re:What a waste (2)

Emil Brink (69213) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945352)

Hm, not an exact match for what you want, but still: try "The Collapsium" by Wil McCarthy [sff.net] if you haven't read it. It's a bit silly, too, in places, but not when it comes to the core ideas (programmable matter, matter made out of tiny black holes, and stuff). I enjoyed it.

Re:What a waste (1)

cyberon22 (456844) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945463)

I agree with you about Stephenson. THE DIAMOND AGE is probably the best thing he has written, but half-way through it becomes a cliched pot-boiler. CRYPTONOMICRON and SNOW CRASH spill into geek-boy fantasy. I am not Asian, but the way in which his novels characterize Asian cultures irritates me tremendously.

I think you're being too hard on "A.I." though. The film lacked a clean ending (the "failed quest"... succeeded because man can create God in his own memory????) but it was probably the most thought provoking film of 2001. From the very opening shot (of cascading waves) we're ushered into a realm of complex visual symbolism. Everyone picked-up on the Pinnochio aspects because the heavy-handed script hammered them home, but the film was more a treatise on reality, and used fairy tales as a general vehicle for commenting on stories as giving life meaning....

Anyone else catch the Sleeping Beauty references? Hint: listen for the Tchaikovsky....

Re:What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945845)

Read Blood Music by Greg Bear
Read Moving Mars by Greg Bear
Read the Hyperion series by Dan Simmons.

There are many, many books dealing with things like the implications of nanotech, the implications of AIs, the implications of large communications networks.

If you think that Neil Stephenson is the only author who has written about these thing then you are pretty poorly read.

Re:What a waste (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2946068)

I agree that early Stephenson was intentionally absurd, or "comic book"-like as you say. However, Cryptonomicon isn't like those at all, nor do I expect Quicksilver to be. However, if your definition of "science fiction" must deal with the future, then perhaps you won't like it. It's science fiction in the sense of fiction about science -- Cryptonomicon had two ongoing stories one about WWII codebreakers, and one about modern dot-commers setting up a data haven. Cryptography plays a major role in the book and unlike most fiction about the subject, it is clear that Stephenson actually has done some background research.

Quicksilver is going to be about the author of a Renaissance treatise about cryptography -- a sort of fictionalized version of Johann Trithemius.

Re:What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2946567)

Take a look at L E Modesitt Jr.

Adiamante
Gravity Dreams

Gravity Dreams is more towards what you ask
for. Adiamante deals with some interesting
ideas on social impact. Both are a good read.

Re:What a waste (1)

entr00pi (519471) | more than 12 years ago | (#2946868)

vernor vinge. a deepness in the sky.

Re:What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2946908)

It's called "Transmetropolitan," by Warren Ellis. Oh, shit, wait a second... it's a comic book!

Re:What a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2947492)

>Where is the "2001" for our age?

John Brunner already wrote it, in 1975!
Shockwave Rider

Stephenson has a sense of irony... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2948565)

From what I've read of Stephenson- Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, Zodiac, and Cryptonomicon- I can say he has the sense of humor that Gibson lacks.

Namely, Gibson takes himself seriously; at least, he did when writing Neuromancer, and kept himself isolated from reality to do it. (Note the braggadocio about writing it on a manual typewriter...)

Stephenson knows what's up. He knew how dissociated cyberpunk was from reality, and made fun of the cliches in Snow Crash. The Diamond Age had a fairly decent plot, riffing off anime for mood- beyond a few hooks, that was a fairly serious extrapolation of technology as the consumer economy demands it, and an exploration of trends in 'edutainment.' (I notice the Pokemon/Digimon scene taking a similar 'primer' tactic, and, in a way, he predicted China's adoption of Linux.)

If you asked him about Zodiac, I imagine he'd say something about the struggle of making a tree-hugger interesting, much as he's said of Cryptonomicon (he wanted to see if he could make a sysadmin interesting)...

For classically epic SF, you'll have to look elsewhere, but if you think Stephenson suffers Gibson's rectocephalic inversion, you've been missing the jokes. He shares something with Vonnegut, who mixed terribly cliche 'SF' into his works to get the point across- but in Stephenson's case, it's more about showing attitude (in the perhaps-now-cliche '90s sense) and a little less about grand plans for world harmony, as Vonnegut leaned. As he says, he's comfortable watching either side in an argument- so his writing is more proof he's paying attention and thinking, than carrying an agenda.

As to epic SF, Cherryh's not bad (though perhaps her skill is more about giving weight to 'comic-book' plots, in golden-age fashion; the Chanur series had some seriously complex battles/political struggles)... I find most 'epic' authors (Clarke included) to be writing from a Gibson-style bubble, so it's a matter of taste.

new site for crapflooders (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945131)

100 times better than a gaping asshole

http://www.cheesythighs.com/metoday.jpg [cheesythighs.com]

everyone commit that to memory and write it down and whatnot. mirror also.
br. --vladinaton

Re:new site for crapflooders (-1, Offtopic)

sinserve (455889) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945191)

This is the greatest thing to set afoot on /. since
the penis bird.

Thanks a million, applepie.cx will be up soon.

Re:new site for crapflooders (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945231)

Thank you. I would like to thank the homies at ars technica, especially PeterB, who unknowingly gave me the link.

Original thread: http://arstechnica.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?a=tp c&s=50009562&f=34709834&m=6470991463 [infopop.net]

Not really vlad BTW. I just wanted to take the opportunity to rag on him at this juncture.

Will we find out about Enoch Root? (3, Interesting)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945172)

One of my first questions after finishing Cryptonomicon was whether Enoch Root was indeed human or wasn't some sort of angelic presence sent to meddle in human affairs. Since Cryptonomicon depicts Enoch as seeming to not age very fast, and this book is set almost 300 years ago, it will be interesting to see whether Enoch is still alive and the same age at that time.


For more about the Enoch Root, click here [everything2.com] to read a little essay written by my colleague, e2 Glowing Fish.

Re:Will we find out about Enoch Root? (1)

Dan Hon (17145) | more than 12 years ago | (#2946065)

Three hundred years ago? Are you completely mad? Have you actually read the book? The narrative switches between that set in the first world war and that which is set _now_.

Re:Will we find out about Enoch Root? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2946837)

Have you read the thread? Quicksilver is reported to take place 300 years ago.

Re:Will we find out about Enoch Root? (2)

K. (10774) | more than 12 years ago | (#2947549)

Actually, it's partly set in the second world war.

And if Enoch Root was 20something in WW2 it's not
unreasonable that he should be knocking around in
the 90s.

Re:Will we find out about Enoch Root? (2)

K. (10774) | more than 12 years ago | (#2947557)

I'm referring of course, to Cryptonomicon, not Quicksilver.

Re:Will we find out about Enoch Root? (2)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 12 years ago | (#2948109)

Well, it is not unreasonable. Enoch does seem to be pretty active for a man in his mid-seventies. Of course, it is nothing that requires a supernatural explanation, but it does perhaps suggest one.


In any case, we will find out.

The Publisher (1)

Wise Dragon (71071) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945189)

I find it odd that the book is being published by Heinemann [heinemann.com] , who doesn't publish any other fiction. I wonder if Mr. Stephenson is going to get a bigger cut of the profits from Quicksilver.

Re:The Publisher (1)

Aanallein (556209) | more than 12 years ago | (#2946450)

Heinneman seems to be expanding its field a bit. They also published a volume containing Douglas Adams' two Dirk Gently novels last year.

Lets see if I get censored if im logged in (0, Troll)

mbonet (5774) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945192)

Absolutely the worst book I have read. Content and story are fine his belabored style and over indulgent descriptions make the book unbearable. He could have written the same story in 300 pages. I wish you would stop adoring him. It was originally because of a slashdot article that I wen't out and bought the book. He is an absolutely terrible writer.

Re:Lets see if I get censored if im logged in (2)

kubrick (27291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945322)

wen't

He is an absolutely terrible writer

Troll? Or just a terrible abuser of the apostrophe?

Re:Lets see if I get censored if im logged in (1)

peripatetic_bum (211859) | more than 12 years ago | (#2946174)

I've been thinking about this for a bit,
Is Neal a bad writer?

well there is evidence to point that is not a bad writer, take fer instance the first chapter of Snow Crash, when he writes about the pizza deliverator. That more than anything else made his reputation and deservedly so,

Now, I will the first to admit that what Neal dosent have, and this may be explained by his almost graphic need to write a academic tome, is the ability to pace. He doesnt really have the ability to explain big things clearly, but then again this is hard to do. I gave as an examply the last chaptors of The diamond Age, clearly what he watned to indicate was large, spontaneously reacting, events but it ends up being read as a bit of mash, it took me several times to read it, because I get the feeling that while Neal knows whats going on, he himslef doesnt quite have a good handle on it.

Another way to think of this is to say, that you can tell if you dont have a good handle on a subject when you see how you explain it to someone else. If you explanation of the idea is muddled, then your grasp on the idea is as well muddled.

Perhaps, what we see is that when neal really has a good grip on a thing (the pizza scence) he writes SF as well, and with as much imagery, as anyone else, but
when he doesnt have a good grasp, he will still plow ahead (and good for him!) into more difficult subjects, but its clear he is still struggling.

anyway thanks

Re:Lets see if I get censored if im logged in (2)

kubrick (27291) | more than 12 years ago | (#2946264)

He doesn't know how to end his books. He has great fun with a running narrative, but eventually he tends to drop everything and the plot goes splat. (Diamond Age was a pretty good example of this phenomenon, but his other books share it to some extent.)

However, this is improving -- Cryptonomicon showed evidence of writing *towards* a definite ending, which is more than you can say of most of his work. (Interface was quite tight in that sense as well -- maybe that was his uncle's influence? :)

Neal's a great writer, and I don't want to begrudge him not being perfect because what he has given us has been so good. There aren't many writers who can give that much detail without it sounding like a travelogue/instruction manual/training video -- he communicates massive amounts of information in a readable and very entertaining fashion. I thought Cryptonomicon was the best thing he'd done so far, so I have high hopes for his future works...

not true (-1, Flamebait)

Neal Stephenson (126410) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945201)

This is some kind of a mistake. I have not even finished writing it yet. So it can't be published on March 7th. A more likely pub date would be March 2003.

I have failed to deliver the book on time. Consequently the pub date has been changed more than once. From the looks of things, the publisher's and Amazon's databases have gotten out of synch.

There is probably no harm in pre-ordering the book but please know that the wait will be a long one.

Re:not true (2, Flamebait)

enneff (135842) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945240)

*ahem* How retarded are you moderators?

You really think Neal Stephenson posts to Slashdot? He's a professional author: use your brain, for christs sake.

Or, better yet, have a look at his web site [well.com] , where he explains why he doesn't answer email:

"All of my time and attention are spoken for--several times over. Please do not ask for them."

And I seriously doubt he means he's too busy posting to slashdot.

Re:not true (0)

Ozx (529611) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945282)

Especially given that that's his only fucking post... Slashdot attracts such idiots, and then grants them power over one another... Simply retarded...

Re:not true (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945420)

Hell, anything's possible; look at how many writers lurk on rec.arts.sf.written.

It's just very unlikely, of course.

Re:not true (1)

peripatetic_bum (211859) | more than 12 years ago | (#2946154)

Actually, from reading that and from other interviews, I would imagine him to acutally read slashdot, and occasionally post to explore some thoughts, of course, im sure he has better ways of doing this, but it is not an impossibility, perhaps "astronomicall improbably"

Quicksilver! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945242)

Yes, I remember them [penncen.com] well. What? You mean the book isn't about them?

Seriously though (-1)

dadaist (544022) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945259)

Hasn't everyone given up on Neal Stephenson after he wrote
My film agent is


Richard Green
United Talent Agency
9560 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
phone: 310 273 6700
fax: 310 247 1111
e-mail: GreenR@unitedtalent.com
http://www.well.com/user/neal/?

Stephenson Online (2, Informative)

nanotech (34819) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945267)

You can read [wired.com] a good essay by NS in Wired's archive.

New Stephenson (1)

Brit Aviator (542593) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945328)

Thank God! When I heard that he had said he was planning to write the novel after Cryptonomicon with a fountain pen, I didn?t know whether to laugh, cry, or go find him in order to strangle him. Stephenson is a great author and all of his books deserve to be read multiple times. Thus far, Cryptonomicon has been my favourite, I can only hope that these new book(s!) will be as good.

I think I have an idea for his next novels though. It?s a story that involves joy and despair, victory and defeat, and an intense struggle between a man and the technology that enfolds the world....and that was just me trying to connect to a damned server to download some files. My attempt at upgrading my glibc files and the subsequent realisation that they were perhaps somewhat important to the system as it crashed, are ample fodder for at least another book or two.

Re:New Stephenson (2)

Emil Brink (69213) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945358)

Imagine the fundraising potential of that hand-written manuscript on eBay... ;^)

first fag ousting post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2945332)

QuantumG eats man-ass!!

Writing style. . . (2, Interesting)

stevarooski (121971) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945360)

I know many people who consider Neal Stephonson a visionary, but as far as authorship goes I wasn't too impressed with his work.

'Daimond Age' was required reading in a politcal science class here at the U, and I borrowed it from a friend who said it was good but confusing. I quickly arrived at the same conclusion. I loved the nanotech and the detail lavished on describing this technology. He had some great ideas on how it would work in our society--I especially liked the 'reactives' and the 'toner wars'. Oh, and I can't forget the ten terabyte nano hardrive. Can you imagine? 'Oops, I just dusted the entire library of congress off my left shoulder.'

Meanwhile, while much of the book was brilliantly creative, I have to say that I hated the splintered plot that only made sense in the last few pages. There were many aspects of the story that I'm still unsure about. For instance, 'Cryptnet' sounded like a great plot idea that simply died off unexploited. Likewise for the 'drummers'.

At any rate, if you haven't read any Neal Stephenson, please do! Especially if you like visionary works of dark futures, or are especially fascinated by nanomachine technology. I hope is later books will be a bit more cohesive, but I'm sure they'll still be good reads.

Thoughts On N.Stephenson's Real Concerns (4, Insightful)

peripatetic_bum (211859) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945369)

I just had re-read his books recently (except Zodiac and Cryptonomicon, but I read Cryptonomiocon recently enough to remember it well) and I have to say that (in reply to the "what a waste" post among others) that N.S and William Gibson's and actually many other really good SF writers main concerns have never really been about the technology itself. It is true that whats gets them noticed is the exciting imagery that the describe new possibilities of tech but really what I have noticed and what keeps peopoe coming back is they are really concenred with the effect of all this tech, and they are concerned with it in a surprisingly humanistic way (which makes it very surprising to me that they are held in great regard by geeks as elite 'tech' type writers)

I'll stick with Neal S. for now, but having read his most all his book, you can detect even way back in Snow Crash that Neal believes that what technology is really doing is making it clear that what really makes people different is not race (remember, the Protangonist, "Hiro" is a black/asian) not race, or genetics, but the culture that they acquire (the software that is written into the bio-Hardware, if you will).

In a A lady's Illus. primer I was surprised that this book really was a modern versioin of many philosophical tracts that were popular in the 18/19th centuries. IN A.L's.I.P, N.S. is really concerned with what is key about education, what is key about a culture that makes it successful. While his grip on his understanding culture seems to be (from reading) kind of unsophisticated, I have to give them man extreme props for even trying to tackle what seems to be the most contentious issue of our times. He directly attacks "cultureal relativity", "the dumbing down of society", "The real reason for poverty", and in both A.L's.I.P and in "..The Command line" Essay, he tries to describe what is about cultures and even sub-groups of the cultures (Hacker, vs, End_user, for example).

What I am trying to say that Neal is using tech as a way to strip away the mere happenstance that makes people a certain way and is trying to understand fundamentally what is going on with culture and where it is heading.

I look forward to his new book, and will not be surprised if I see these same themes play out, once again.

I would appreciate hearing you comments on what you guys think Neal's real themes are ( and no they arent about what new tech thing is coming up, btw :)

Thanks for reading

Just rereading interface this week... (2)

Black Art (3335) | more than 12 years ago | (#2945557)

I have been rereading Interface.

It is an enjoyable book. It is not one that you read for the plot, however. it is one that you read for Stephenson's screeds on opinion polsters, politics and the like. It does have some interesting things to say, as well as some very interesting and satisfying momments. The end it telegraphed way in advance, but the writing is enjoyable enough that you don't really care.

It is one I recommend.

I have not read "The Cobweb". The description did not interest me that much. Maybe I do need to go back and read it.

Re:Just rereading interface this week... (1)

Nightpaw (18207) | more than 12 years ago | (#2946890)

The Cobweb is at least as good as Interface. And funnier.

It's really quite simple (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 12 years ago | (#2946254)

If you want a big book with lots of narrative and detail, Stephenson. If you want well written, Larry Niven. If you want implications Robert L. Forward or Rudy Rucker (physicist, mathemetician respectively). I read them all and enjoy each in a different manner.

The Cobweb (1)

andrewdm (168107) | more than 12 years ago | (#2946628)

It can't be that hard to find, as I picked up a copy within the last two years or so, sorry I can't remember where. Expect it to be republished very soon in light of its "prescience" with respect to middle eastern-types infiltrating the US and working on biological weapons. Be forewarned though, it really is an early work and not nearly as well written as the larger releases (Snow Crash, Diamond Age, Cryptonomicon, etc.) but it is FAR better written than The Big U, which was just horrible. That being said, the plot and premise are compelling, even if the characters are a bit flat.

If it helps your search, I have a US edition Bantam Spectra published in September 1997; ISBN: 0553575457

BTW, if you're doing a search for other works by Stephen Bury, don't get thrown off by the Head of of Modern English Collections, Stephen Bury, who has a book coming out this month.

Cobweb not early (1)

extra88 (1003) | more than 12 years ago | (#2947261)

The Cobweb was co-written by Stephenson after Snow Crash, Interface and Diamond Age (see theMacDude's bibliography in message #2945114 [slashdot.org] ). The Cobweb is an OK read, but I'd recommend reading any other book first, except The Big U of course. If you read the other books an like them, read The Cobweb.

Fountain Pen (1)

Bomb Regardless (216103) | more than 12 years ago | (#2946650)

IIRC, Mr. Stephenson was writing (by now it'ld be 'wrote') this novel with a fountain pen, to keep himself from being long-winded. At the time I read that comment, however, he said it wasn't working.

As a sidenote, this is perfect timeing: I read Cryptonomicon two years ago & loved it, & I read Zodiac I liked that, but I just started reading Snow Crash last week -- I've barely put it down since. It is a little comic-book -ish, but to me that only helps it. (I.e. I found the one Gibson novel that I read too serious.)

Stephenson and Pynchon (1)

wagadog (545179) | more than 12 years ago | (#2947111)

My copy of Cryptonomicon has a blurb that briefly compares it to Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow , though in truth I think that the flow of the story line makes it a little bit more like V , since both follow several different dramas unfolding at different times in history, all related to the same mystery--one story-line being placed during the war, the other in modern times (which at the time, was the early 60's).

In anticipation of Quicksilver , however, I've finally gotten around to reading Pynchon's Mason & Dixon . Why? Because it, too, is a potboiler of an historical novel "set about 300 years ago" Mason & Dixon's focus, like Gravity's Rainbow is science, instrumentation, and man's relationship with his tools and mechanical creations--similar themes to Quicksilver and Cryptonomicon, except rather than the focus being on mechanical creations, the focus is on digital creations.

The number and variety of historical, scientific, engineering and philosophical references is one aspect that make Pynchon's V , Gravity's Rainbow and Mason & Dixon so fascinating--as well as Stephenson's Snow Crash , The Diamond Age, Cryptonomicon , and from it's description alone, I would surmise Quicksilver . The characters in these books are intimately involved with the pursuit of understanding some scientific or technological challenge, and their discoveries of different parts of the puzzle challenge their personal philosophies and relationships, as well as having some pivotal but largely underrecognized impact on the historical events unfolding around them.

What I love about these books is that they're not about "A Great Man Of Science" or "The Mad Scientist That Saves The Day". All of them place scientists and engineers where we normally sit -- in our own little world of fascinating details and connections -- and rather than the scientific process being depicted as "The Big Breakthrough"--it's rather depicted more like it really is: a lot of false leads, mistakes, insights, going over the same ground again, tangled up with personal crises both major and minor which are related to which ideas and lines of reasoning are pursued -- and tangled up with each character's family history. Eventually a few of the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together, which tend to make the pieces that don't fit look curiouser and curiouser.

Pynchon originally studied mechanical engineering, "dropped out" into liberal arts and went on to write technical documentation (aAARGH!) for Boeing prior to publishing his first novel. Likewise, Stephenson did quite a lot of programming before, and during, his literary pursuits. Their backgrounds play no small part in their characterizations of the concerns and daily lives of scientists, engineers and programmers -- in academic and military research contexts as well as in amateur pursuits. Far more realistic than the breathlessly admiring "Great Man Of Science" characterizations of Scientists by science journalists and popularizers.

If you like Stephenson, you might want to give Pynchon a whirl, particularly V , Gravity's Rainbow and Mason & Dixon .

Interesting... (1)

Slarty (11126) | more than 12 years ago | (#2948058)

I got Interface a couple of years ago (at a bargain bin in Wal-Mart, IIRC). It was not a bad read but I remember that after I finished, I remember thinking that overall, the novel seemed... well, flat, somehow.

Very interesting to find out that was Stephenson after all! I loved Cryptonomicon, loved Snow Crash even more (what a mind job!), thought Diamond Age was weird, and so on. Cryptonomicon is divided up into two time periods (WWII and the present-ish), and the best compliment I can give it is that, while I was reading each section, I didn't want it to end and go back to the other one.

It'll be interesting to see how he follows that one up.
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