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'Quicksilver' Website and Release Date

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the geek-porn dept.

Books 210

EvilBastard writes "Neil Stephenson's next book in the Baroque Cycle, Quicksilver, now has a publishing date of the 23rd of September, 2003. This book appears to follow the Shaftoe, Waterhouse and Root family line back to the early 18th Century. You can find a short extract online."

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210 comments

hello fagboys (-1, Troll)

gasaraki (262206) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919333)

welcome to goatse, fp!

how about i kick you in the balls? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919343)

how about i kick you in the balls?

pwned. (-1, Offtopic)

gasaraki (262206) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919374)

[nt]

Umm... (-1, Troll)

ike6116 (602143) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919344)

Im not sure If I am supposed to know who this guy is (or any of the books he has written for that matter), and if I am stupid for not.

Re:Umm... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919353)

Yup, y'ar. Maybe a little. Stevenson wrote Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash, and In The Beginning Was The Command Line, and others. All highly recommended.

Re:Umm... (2, Informative)

StealthBadger (168482) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919829)

Also Zodiac, which was one of his earliest. Not quite as polished, as funny, and more irreverent than Snow Crash.

He seems to like dry humor, irony, mystical experiences, sex , and underdogs.

Not necessarily in that order.

Re:Umm... (3, Informative)

Divide By Zero (70303) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919405)

I hadn't heard of him until I picked up Cryptonomicon [amazon.com] on a whim. (Borders was running it for 20% off once upon a time) I got it for a trip I took with my girlfriend to California, and I was laughing out loud so much she complained repeatedly. The fact that we were sitting in seats next to the plane's engine at the time should be noted here to give you an idea of just how loud I was laughing. Of his books that I've read, I think Cryptonomicon was his best, followed by Snow Crash [amazon.com] , The Diamond Age [amazon.com] and Zodiac [amazon.com] . They're all worth checking out, and probably owning. They're exceptionally geek-friendly.

don't forget The Big U (2, Funny)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919537)

I alternated between laughing "I know that guy" and shivering "I am that guy".

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919411)

Neal Stephenson, of Cryptonomicon fame. Yes, you are supposed to be able to identify this guy as the author of that book, as well as identify Waterhouse as Lawrence Pritchard (sp?) Waterhouse, crytanalyst during WWII, who stood behind unit 2702, of which Shaftoe and Root were part. You are further suppoed to identify Stephenson as the author of Snow Crash, were you'll find a description of the Metaverse and where you'll learn to fear the pizza delivery boy. Further, you are supposed to identify him as the author of in the begining there was the command line, which according to legend is a book that sprang to life on this very forum.

Re:Umm... (4, Informative)

lysium (644252) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919435)

As a Geek (capital G, mind you), you should be aware of Snow Crash (cyberspace), The Diamond Age (nanotechnology), and the Cryptonomicon (cryptography/privacy/freedom).

IMHO one of the few authors bothering (or able) to extrapolate cutting edge technology and concepts.

-------------

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919805)

The question is not whether you know this guy but why are you too stupid to just go to Amazon or Google and look him up. Typically when I don't know something being discussed I go look it up or keep my mouth shut instead of sounding like an idiot

Huh? (1, Offtopic)

A Proud American (657806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919346)

What's with the two topic icons?

A little indecisive this morning, 'eh boys?

crap (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919348)

but does it run on unix?

afaik it's... (1, Informative)

White Shade (57215) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919349)

Neal Stephenson, At least according to the linked website :)

Next Book? (1)

jimmcq (88033) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919360)

The website says that the Baroque Cycle is about to begin... how is this the "next book"?

Re:Next Book? (5, Informative)

Capt_Troy (60831) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919424)

This is the first book in the timeline. Cryptonomicon is related (as are the characteres therein) but comes after Quicksilver time wise. So this is the prequel to Cryptonomicon basically.

If this thing is half as good as Cryptonomicon, it will be worth reading IMHO...

Re:Next Book? (4, Funny)

Laplace (143876) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919622)

So this is the prequel to Cryptonomicon basically.

I heard that he wants to make the prequel kid-friendly, and is introducing a large-eared sidekick that has an amusing Jamacian accent. I'm really looking forward to this one.

Kid friendly? (1)

chefbimbo (637251) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920169)

You mean we won't see anymore plots of people's productivity in relation to the last time they had an orgasm? Doooh.

Enoch again? (1, Interesting)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919366)

sure seems to like the name Enoch.

Re:Enoch again? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919390)

Presumably, as the other two main characters from the blurb on the site have the surnames Waterhouse and Shaftoe, we're talking some sort of 18th Century prequel to Cryptonomicon somehow.

And I'm just dying to find out how, as I love that book.

Re:Enoch again? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919515)

Spoiler space.
.
a
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i
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m (lame junk filter)
n
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It might be possible that we are talking about Enoch Root, not only a relative with the same name, but the same person who appears on Cryptonomicon. It's been hinted a few times in several places, Cryptonomicon included. Stephenson himself said that there's a "SciFi" turn in Cryptonomicon which will become more evident in Quicksilver.

Re:Enoch again? (2, Insightful)

djkitsch (576853) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919668)

I assumed that the fact that Enoch Root in Cryptonomicon would, logically, have been much older than he in fact was when meeting Randy Waterhouse was one of those "don't ask too many questions" situations...
Perhaps that hints at this interesting theory, too?

Re:Enoch again? (3, Interesting)

duct_tape_n_wd40 (523724) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919523)

Presumably, as the other two main characters from the blurb on the site have the surnames Waterhouse and Shaftoe, we're talking some sort of 18th Century prequel to Cryptonomicon somehow.

Presumably the Waterhouse and Shaftoe characters are ancestors of the characters in Cryptonomicon. Whether "Enoch" is an ancestor to Root in Crypto, or is (ahem) something entirely different remains to be seen.

Re:Enoch again? (1)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919995)

Whether "Enoch" is an ancestor to Root in Crypto, or is (ahem) something entirely different remains to be seen

Well, there was certainly a fair bit of indication that Enoch in Crypto wasn't quite... normal... and even in this brief excerpt there's a line that could be read to mean the same.

I'm willing to see where he's going with this, but rather wary at the same time. Is a Lazarous Long type character really necessary?

Re:Enoch again? (4, Interesting)

indole (177514) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919776)

As this page reminds [ibiblio.org] , Enoch died in cryptonomicon and came back later on.

I knew that wasn't a plot hole.

Interesting indeed.

For those of you who don't know who this is... (4, Informative)

TheOneEyedMan (151703) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919373)

He wrote:
Snow Crash
Diamond Age
Crytptonomicon
In the Beginning was the Command Line
Zodiac plus two more books under a pen name.
Great author of a few geek clasics, with great insight into modern issues.

Re:For those of you who don't know who this is... (0, Troll)

Eric Savage (28245) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919406)

Insight into modern issues I might agree with. Great author? In short spurts maybe (like first 1/3 of Snow Crash) but often writes as if he's just trying to get the damn thing done (third 1/3 of Snow Crash). His stuff is good, and I read it, but seriously, this guy will be completely forgotten in 30 years.

Re:For those of you who don't know who this is... (1)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919430)

No he won't, be forgotten that is. In any case you are right he needs to work on endings but he is still young and will become just plain great.

Re:For those of you who don't know who this is... (3, Interesting)

cygnus (17101) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919576)

Insight into modern issues I might agree with. Great author? In short spurts maybe (like first 1/3 of Snow Crash) but often writes as if he's just trying to get the damn thing done (third 1/3 of Snow Crash). His stuff is good, and I read it, but seriously, this guy will be completely forgotten in 30 years.
my girlfriend's parents are both literature professors and editors of a prominent literature anthology, and they teach Snow Crash in class. so i beg to differ.

Re:For those of you who don't know who this is... (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919605)

Yeah. I've had Snow Crash mentioned by three different professors in four different univ. classes. It might seem trite now, but it was quite different when it came out.

Re:For those of you who don't know who this is... (1)

mikedaisey (413058) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920039)

"my girlfriend's parents are both literature professors and editors of a prominent literature anthology, and they teach Snow Crash in class. so i beg to differ."

Well, that may be true but folks also teach Emily Dickenson, so there's no accounting for taste.

In other words, just because they are teaching it does not ipso facto make something great.

I enjoyed Snow Crash a lot.

Re:For those of you who don't know who this is... (3, Informative)

ATucker (200614) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919421)


Plus The Big U which was re-released a couple years ago after being super hard to find. Its his first book, and a great read.

The books he wrote with his uncle under the pseudonym Stephen Bury are Interface and The Cobweb.

Re:For those of you who don't know who this is... (3, Informative)

E-prospero (30242) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919452)

I can't belive you missed "The Big U" out of that list. Recently reprinted, it's different from Neal's more recent fare, but for anyone who has seen university politics up close, it's fantastic.

Interface and Cobweb are the two books written under the pseudonum of Stephen Bury.

Russ %-)

Re:For those of you who don't know who this is... (5, Informative)

oldmildog (533046) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919479)

BTW, "In the Beginning was the Command Line" can be downloaded for free (yes, legitimately) from his website [cryptonomicon.com] .

Re:For those of you who don't know who this is... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919599)

He's massively over-rated, but the nerds all love him! Pick and book and read it (maybe Snow Crash), and forget about the rest.

Re: ..and more (1)

Blackbrain (94923) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919813)

Don't forget the two books he wrote under the pen name Stephen Bury:

The Cobweb
Interface

Both well worth checking out.

If you're into this kind of thing... (5, Informative)

A Proud American (657806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919376)

I recommend the following:

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson

Signal to Noise by Eric S. Nylund

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

Re:If you're into this kind of thing... (1)

neurostar (578917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919425)

# Signal to Noise by Eric S. Nylund

Did the sequel to that ever come out?

neurostar

sequel to nylund's _signal to noise_ (5, Informative)

kcm (138443) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919485)

yes, it's called _A Signal Shattered_ [amazon.com] , and it was jus as good if not better. wish he'd do another..

sounds interesting (5, Interesting)

I Want GNU! (556631) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919403)

I heard Stephenson give a lecture at Carnegie Mellon University on Thursday of last week, where he discussed this novel. It sounded very interesting, albeit a departure from his normal science fiction type novels. He discussed what he considered to be the "soap opera" of the Newton-Leibniz controversy regarding the invention of calculus, which spread to other areas. Eventually this led up to a description of Leibniz's ideas metaphysics, which he regards as highly relevant in regards to computer science, cellular automata, and quantum physics. His descriptions of these events were slightly convoluted but that was part of their charm, and while I expected some type of discussion of technology or Snow Crash / Cryptonomicon type topics, I was pleasantly surprised to hear his 18th century tangent. He's a very talented and fascinating man.

On a side note, he mentioned that he only speaks about once every five years and that he's very anti-social. He said his books are not a social process and come entirely from him, as opposed to including feedback from others. Still, I'm glad to have this man off in his little corner of the world thinking and researching about fascinating topics, broadcasting his findings to the rest of us.

I hope it's shorter than Crypto... (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919407)

That was one long, dull, trudge. I thought it might have made a good 300pager but it had more padding than story. What's his other stuff been like?

TWW

Blatant Flamebait (-1)

WeenisMonster (664473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919455)

You insolent tard, just because your pixel-burned eyes can't focus well enough to make it all the way through one of the greatest metaphysical novels of our time doesn't give you the right to be a critic. STFU

Re:I hope it's shorter than Crypto... (1)

Enry (630) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919467)

IIRC, you could stun small woodland creatures with Snow Crash, but it was fun reading. Zodiac and Diamond Age were moderately-sized but also fun reading. I think Crypto is the size of all the rest of his works put together.

The biggest complaint of his books is he doesn't know how to end. You're reading along and then the book ends. It's far too sudden.

Re:I hope it's shorter than Crypto... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919551)

your opinion is junk! you have been apathized by you prolonged exposer to blogs, and sound bites. Stories are just padding. learn to read and enjoy the padding, rather than teh cliff notes

Re:I hope it's shorter than Crypto... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919592)

I have a very short interest span, however Cryptonomicon was able to keep my attention throughout the entire story. It wasn't a bad book by a longshot, and I am definately looking forward to his new book.

On another note its kind of sad seeing these classic cyberpunk authors moving away from science fiction.

Re:I hope it's shorter than Crypto... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919875)

I agree. If a book is longer than 20 pages and doesn't have big pictures of furry bunnies I can't handle it either. I recommend anything by Dr. Suess.

Not his best (2, Insightful)

frenchgates (531731) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920155)

I have to agree, I found Snow Crash and Diamond Age hard to put down, but Cryptonomicon hard to pick back up.

I actually abandoned it about 3/4 of the way through, finding it, as you said, just too long for the content and a little silly.

One of my biggest complaints about SnowCrash and Diamond Age is that he starts with great characters and premises and then crashes them into these global apocalyptic endings that are a bit ludicrous.

Hmmmm..... (0)

ideonode (163753) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919415)

From the article
Daniel, Jack, and Eliza will traverse a landscape populated by mad alchemists, Barbary pirates, and bawdy courtiers, as well as historical figures including Samuel Pepys, Ben Franklin, and other great minds of the age. Traveling from the infant American colonies to the Tower of London to the glittering courts of Louis XIV, and all manner of places in between, this magnificent historical epic brings to vivid life a time like no other, and establishes its author as one of the preeminent talents of our own age.


It doesn't sound too good, does it? 'Magnificent historical epic'? I hope it doesn't end up like the literary equivalent of a Kevin Costner movie.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919442)

Read the whole thing, and perhaps the opening sentence or two of the preview. With that additional info, everything falls into place. Its not a Kevin Costner movie, its Cryptonomicon pulled up by the roots and dropped back a couple of hundred years. As I absolutely adore the first one, this should be fun.

magnificent historical epic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919553)

or bill and ted's excellent adventure....

Don't ya just love it... (-1, Flamebait)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919417)

...when an article gets posted and it's written in a way that you're expected to know exaclty what the heck the obscure topic is about? If you're writing the Matrix or Star Trek, it's a safe bet that people have heard about it. This obviously isn't as "big," so what the hell is this about and why should I care. This isn't a troll; I'm serious. I'm sure it's a good book, or movie, or whatever it is, but a little background would be nice.

Re:Don't ya just love it... (5, Insightful)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919496)

Sorry, but in this crowd, Neal Stephenson is just as big, if not bigger, than Star Trek or The Matrix.

eh (5, Insightful)

stego (146071) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919539)

Things shouldn't have to be 'People Magazine' big before its safe to assume that thay can be mentioned on Slashdot w/ out a preamble. As far as current sci-fi or techie writers go, NS is huge. He may not be William Gibson, but he's certainly not obscure.

Given the tools available to you [google.com] , there isn't really room to complain about not having heard of someone or something.

It is better to be silent, and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

Re:Don't ya just love it... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919575)

Try trying "Neal Stephenson" in that search box thingie at http://www.google.com/ (a search engine, just in case you haven't heard of it either). You might be surprised at the result.

Re:Don't ya just love it... (1)

billnapier (33763) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919658)

This obviously isn't as "big," so what the hell is this about and why should I care.

Have you ever heard of this little thing called Google? You can type in phrases and stuff and they will (usually) bring back a list of websites about that phrase. You should try it sometimes. For those of us who know who he is and love all of his works, this was great news and I'm really happy that I didn't also have to read a short history of his works

Obscure like...? (2, Insightful)

krysith (648105) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920009)

Yeah, he's pretty obscure:

Number of Linux users as of today (source: the Linux counter, http://counter.li.org/): 134107

Sales figures of Cryptonomicon, as of 3/19/01 (source Publisher's Weekly (http://publishersweekly.reviewsnews.com), sorry figures are so old, I don't have time to search for new ones):116,330

Yep. I agree. We ought to cover Star Trek and The Matrix, and not obscure stuff like Linux and Neal Stephenson. That stuff is for nerds!

Will it have a good ending? (3, Insightful)

1984 (56406) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919419)

OK, so this is pretty close to trolling, but will the wrap up of the story and finale be done well this time round?

In Snow Crash, The Diamond Age and Cryptonomicon there was a sense of something epic building all the way through that didn't really pay off. More of shame because he spins such an excellent yarn, and his writing is very engaging. But don't (please) pop the balloon just to bring the book to a conclusion.

Re:Will it have a good ending? (1)

SandSpider (60727) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919611)

Whenever I suggest that someone read one of his books, I warn them, "Nobody has ever accused Neil Stephenson of being able to finish a book well."

How's the editing this time around? (2, Insightful)

GGardner (97375) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919436)

I don't expect much in the way of correct spelling, good grammar, and typos here on slashdot, and I make plenty of these mistakes myself. But when I'm paying north of $20 for a hardback book, like Cryptonomicon, I really expect to see the work of a professional editor. This book was filled with typos and even spell-checker kinds of errors (e.g. cannon vs canon). Never mind the perl code in the book which lost all newlines. It appeared that the manuscript had just been run through a spell checker, then sent to the printer. Can we expect better for this go around?

Re:How's the editing this time around? (1)

RainbowSix (105550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919557)

I agree. I just bought Zodiac, and while it was a good read, there were several cases of misspellings (Bone instead of the character Boone) and a few places where words were simply dropped. I find that mistakes like that detract from the flow of the story because I have to go back and reread the paragraph to see if I had simply parsed the sentence incorrectly. When that happens, my mind had already lost the flow of the previous pages.

Common problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919652)

Dune has been out for ~40 years now, and they still havent bothered to correct the typos, repeated lines, and FONT SIZE CHANGES in it. The repeated line has been in every printing Ive ever seen, with the 2 lines in different font sizes in every one of the printings.

There is a Larry Niven novel (I think A Gift from Earth but it could be a different one) where a character's name changes for a couple of paragraphs. Very confusing. I assume he changed the name and didnt catch all of the uses.

Re:How's the editing this time around? (1)

jshare (6557) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919818)

I've been reading OCR'd books on my Zaurus. Once you do that, and get used to seeing (and reading correctly) stuff like "dean" instead of "clean", you realize how much redundancy there really is in English.

No wonder it compresses so well.

So don't be whinging to me about a missing "o". :)

How many times have you reported errors? (1)

tjwhaynes (114792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920073)

I don't expect much in the way of correct spelling, good grammar, and typos here on slashdot, and I make plenty of these mistakes myself. But when I'm paying north of $20 for a hardback book, like Cryptonomicon, I really expect to see the work of a professional editor. This book was filled with typos and even spell-checker kinds of errors (e.g. cannon vs canon).

Its rare to find a book without at least half a dozen typos, spelling errors or bad typesetting. And yet for all the years I've been reading, I've never bothered to make a note of where and what and send it to the publishers. We moan about the lack of accuracy but how many of us actually try and improve later editions? Like all the postings about how many eyes make bugs shallow, maybe we should submit corrections to the publishers a little more often... At least then the next printing stands some chance of improvement.

Has anyone sent corrections to a publisher? Were they well received? Did they get applied?

Cheers,

Toby Haynes

From what I hear... (5, Funny)

Repugnant_Shit (263651) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919446)

Even in the the 1700s the Shaftoes were some bad mutha-

Re:From what I hear... (4, Funny)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919473)

Shut yo' mouth!

Re:From what I hear... (5, Funny)

spookymonster (238226) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919578)

Jus' talkin' 'bout Shaftoe...

Re:From what I hear... (4, Funny)

stinkwinkerton (609110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920106)

I can dig it.

Why I like Cryptonomicon so much: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919469)

It's probably because of things like this (excerpt from the linked website):

Daniel Waterhouse possesses a brilliant scientific mind -- and yet knows that his genius is dwarfed by that of his friends Isaac Newton, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and Robert Hooke. He rejects the arcane tradition of alchemy, even as it is giving birth to new ways of understanding the world.

just the imagine of this guy, who is friends with Newton or Leibniz (or like his grandfather, who is friends with Turing and von Hacklheber), and telling turning events of history from his point of view. Stephenson delivered a great performance on Cryptonomicon and I'll itching to get my hands on Quicksilver...

Forget that crap, read: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919480)

Paul Bowles

Kobo Abe

William Gaddis

Vladimir Nabokov

Herman Melville

E.A. Poe

At least that way you don't wake up the next
morning not remembering anything and feeling
dirty...

Re:Forget that crap, read: (1)

platypus (18156) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920056)

At least that way you don't wake up the next
morning not remembering anything and feeling
dirty...


The joys of literature ...

I love their clothing line... (-1, Offtopic)

XplosiveX (644740) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919483)

QuickSilver is a lining of clothing that I wear all the time when I go surfing... it r0x0rz my b0xoRz.

Re:I love their clothing line... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919536)

"Surfing" ... more like "web surfing", you silly nerd. You probably still wear your inflatable wings when you go in the wadding pool, you dummy.

Man, you must get your ass kicked all the time.

What about privacy? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919511)

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Neal Stephenson's short fiction (3, Informative)

tskirvin (125859) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919561)

In case you're interested, I've also got a page up of Neal Stephenson's short work [killfile.org] , fiction and non-fiction.
BTW, this book is the first book of three in Baroque Cycle, and they'll be released at six month intervals. So says HarperCollins.

Re:Neal Stephenson's short fiction (2, Interesting)

AAron the Weird (409891) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920037)

That's because Stephenson wrote a several thousand page monster of a manuscript, and the folks at HarperCollins had to cut it down to a marketable length. I read an 1100 page version of Volume 1 last fall. Like Cryptonomicon, it's got some great bits, fascinating characters, and some interesting digressions, but the overall structure of the story needed some editing to make it more coherent. I'm curious to see what the 'final' product is like this September.

I always find that their clothes are nice (1)

noogle (664169) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919570)

but overpriced for what they are, and don't wanna be a wicked cool skata boy that bad.

Re:I always find that their clothes are nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5920128)

Ha! I had one of their shirts what...a decade ago in the third grade. Had a dog riding a missile. It was one of my favorite shirts!

stephenson keynote in june (4, Informative)

thedude13 (457454) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919589)

fyi, he's speaking at the Usenix [usenix.org] Technical Conference on June 12th as the keynote speaker. he's going to talk about this new book and some other things. luckily, i'll be there =)

Better a "cycle" than an immense tome (3, Insightful)

Sabu mark (205793) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919626)

Three thoughts:

1. The "period-ness" of the novel may surpass the "geek-ness." This is a tad disappointing.

2. I'm rather indifferent to the genealogical links between these characters and Cryptonomicon's. I mean, the characters in Cryptonomicon were pretty good, but it's not as if they were so fabulously conceived that I said "Goddamn, I wish I could read an entire cycle of books about their ancestors!" But Stephenson obviously has affection for them, so whatever helps him write is okay by me.

3. I also suspect the idea of a "cycle" of books arose from his experience writing (and attempting to end) Cryptonomicon. I suppose it's easier to write an ending if it needn't be the ultimate ending. And also, if he found himself generating more than a thousand pages once again, it was probably better to partition them into several volumes and write as much as wanted, rather than form the immense tome that Cryptonomicon became and be forced to cut the story off somewhat abrupty.

Re:Better a "cycle" than an immense tome (1)

Llyr (561935) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920055)

2. I'm rather indifferent to the genealogical links between these characters and Cryptonomicon's. I mean, the characters in Cryptonomicon were pretty good, but it's not as if they were so fabulously conceived that I said "Goddamn, I wish I could read an entire cycle of books about their ancestors!" But Stephenson obviously has affection for them, so whatever helps him write is okay by me.

There's more potential links to Cryptonomicon than just the genealogical ones. Leibniz links to Rudy's obsession with the Leibniz-Archiv, and we should get more about Societas Eruditorium. I'm definitely with you on the "if Stephenson wants to write it, fine" reasoning too, though there is more backstory that I'm interested in as well.

As for subdividing into volumes, I hope there's good creative reasons behind it rather than a publishing stunt to get us to pay more.

Question RE: Stephenson and Gibson (2, Interesting)

ARR0 (443660) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919627)

I read Cryptonomicon a year or so ago and loved it, and also really liked Snow Crash. So I went to check out one of William Gibson's books and found that Idoru was the only one at my local library. I checked it out, but after a couple of chapters I gave up. It just didn't impress me.

My question is, is Idoru considered to be among Gibson's best work? If not, what's the best introduction to his style?

Re:Question RE: Stephenson and Gibson (1)

djkitsch (576853) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919711)

Generally, if you ask around most people seem to agree that the earlier stuff such as Neuromancer is his better work. Personally, I thought that Idoru was more of the same - good writing, but nothing new.

My local bookstore's taking ages to get Pattern Recognition in stock, but apparently William Gibson's back on form. Go try it out - you might like it more than Idoru.

Also, of course, Idoru was the second in a trilogy, and you might have unknowingly had problems following the plot...check this [antonraubenweiss.com] out for more info.

Re:Question RE: Stephenson and Gibson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919904)

Truthfully the books in Gibson's Trilogies have almost exactly nothing to with each other. I preferred the first and last books in the Bridge trilogy to Idoru (the 2nd). But thats probably because I have a thing for bike messengers.

Re:Question RE: Stephenson and Gibson (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919757)

Best examples of Gibson from best to, well, not best. He wrote more, but these are really his identifying works:

Neuromancer
Mona Lisa Overdrive
Count Zero
Burning Chrome

Re:Question RE: Stephenson and Gibson (1)

indole (177514) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919885)

Idoru is the second book of Gibson's "Bridge Trilogy". (Virtual Light, Idoru, All Tomorrows's Parties)

On its own, I imagine a reader would be somewhat lost.

As a whole, I think the trilogy is stellar.

Re:Question RE: Stephenson and Gibson (1)

BitHerder (180499) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920058)

I had the same response to Idoru. Ditto Neuromancer and The Difference Engine. He has interesting ideas, boring prose. And everything seems to fall apart near the end.

The sky is falling! (2, Funny)

xmutex (191032) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919656)

OMFG, the /. editors let a misspelling of NEAL Stephenson through.

Heresy!

Shaftoe!!!! (1)

Roofus (15591) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919721)

In Cryptonomicon, Bobby Shaftoe was the fucking man! I think my favorite part of the book was after Shaftoe was injured on one of the beaches in the Pacific, and he was being interviewed by Ronald Reagan after receiving a medal (this is from memory so be gentle):

Reagan: So do you have any advice for young Marines who might want to follow in your footsteps?

Shaftoe: Yeah, always kill the guy with the sword first.

Reagan: Ah, because they're the officers!!

Shaftoe: No, YOU KILL THEM BECAUSE THEY HAVE FUCKING SWORDS! Have you every had somebody charge at you with a sword?!

And he then starts mumbling something about the giant lizards that attacked the Japanese soldiers.

lone genius I.S.O. editor (3, Insightful)

drwho (4190) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919754)

Stephenson has a great mind, no doubt. The mind is backed by a tremendous ego. This is important for a writer, otherwise they become too hash of a self critic and no book ever sees the press. However, and editor is usually the devil's advocate against the writer's ego, challenging and filtering concepts so what comes out the end doesn't seem like a long UseNet pos. I don't know who is doing Stephenson's editing, but they need to be a bit more foreceful with him: for one, cutting out more. How many pages were spent describing breakfast cereal in Cryptonomicon? This is up there with John Galt's forty page speech in Atlas Shrugged, in terms of Too Much. It's a difficult task, writing less, it is like writing really tight, optimized code. It's a skill that Stephenson, or his editors, need to acquire. Along with better proofreaders for spelling and grammar.

In spite of all this criticism, I do enjoy his works.

Re:lone genius I.S.O. editor (1)

drwho (4190) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919787)

Yeah, I know, _I_ need an editor/proofreader. Two typos, I guess my fingers aren't hitting the keys hard enough:

s/too hash/too harsh/
s/UseNet pos/UseNet post/

On the other hand, at least you don't have to pay for my far from perfect wordsmithery.

Re:lone genius I.S.O. editor (1)

d3kk (644538) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919887)

I actually enjoyed the large chunks of pages that seemed to stray off course. It's something I always found absolutely hilarious in his books. Remember the section where Randy and a few others read about 10 pages of a document where one of his co-investors talks in detail about his stocking fetish?

Sure, it might not have much to do with the big picture, but in my opinion it adds a nice touch to a story.

Re:lone genius I.S.O. editor (1)

Nihilanth (470467) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920131)

i loved things like that as well, i guess some people prefer their fiction terse and to the point, but compare the targeted meandering in cryptonomicon with a lot of the "useless" things you can do in the game Deus Ex (reading people's emails, datacubes, etc), that give you the feeling that you're immersed in a world instead of consuming a media product.

Re:lone genius I.S.O. editor (1)

yorkrj (658277) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919937)

How can you not like the cereal passage?! That was one of the more ammusing scenes in the novel. Highly methodical savory premeditated breakfast rituals? What's not to like about that?

And what's this about not knowing who Stephenson is? Who are these cretons who call themselves nerds? I lobeth a magic missile in their general direction!

Re:lone genius I.S.O. editor (1)

BitHerder (180499) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919967)

I agree that Stephenson needs and editor and a whole team of proofreaders, but I thought the breakfast cereal scene was hilarious. Along with the Eschaton chapter in Infinite Jest, it's one of my favorite comedy pieces in literature.

Re:lone genius I.S.O. editor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5920013)

the eschaton chapter in Infinite Jest RULES!!!!!!!

I also love the part involving the grief therapist. ^_^

Shucks (2, Funny)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 11 years ago | (#5919819)

..Neil Stephenson's next book in the Baroque Cycle...

And here I sit, out of Monet.

Baroque of course, from trying to keep up with all the excellent books by David Drake (Hammers Slammers fame)

java/c# (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5919858)

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Can you tell me where the waves are? (2, Funny)

PhillC (84728) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920027)

I almost thought there was a story about surfing on /.

http://www.quiksilver.com/

You know, water, sand, sun and all that outdoors stuff.

I did some work for him on this book (5, Informative)

Jack Wagner (444727) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920052)

Neal's research staff contacted me two years ago and I did some minor work for him, via email (I never met him so don't go all crazy and ask for details) and was paid very well, considering it was research for a book.

Neal's a pretty sharp guy but he outsources a lot of his research to proffesionals (makes sense) and has several staff people help him put the pieces together, as it were.

I offered my services as part of the FTEST (final tech editing service team) but Neal didn't want a computer pundit as much as he was looking for science pundits. Ah well, at least now I'm in his rolodex and hopefully I'll get more chances to work with him.

Warmest regards,
--Jack

about crypto's length (3, Insightful)

ilsie (227381) | more than 11 years ago | (#5920146)

The first time I read "Cryptonomicon", I was slightly put out by how long and drawn out many of the passages and descriptions were. So I ended up reading the whole thing but sort of skimming over some of what I thought was less important stuff.

Imagine my suprise when, two year later, I picked up the book and decided to read through it again. I can't believe how much I missed the first time through. Sure, not all of it has everything to do with the storyline, but it's all entertaining, and quite funny in many places.

The best example I can (sorta) remember is when the younger Waterhouse is at the estate of his newly deceased grandmother, and all the relatives are trying madly to get the best inheritance. Waterhouse devises a formula that gets him what he wants. The whole scene had very little to do with the storyline, but it was great to read, and I'm glad he put it in there.

If you want short and to the point, go see a movie. Also, you dont know long and drawn out unless you've read the unabridged "Les Miserables."
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