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Reamde

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  27,010 ratings  ·  3,415 reviews
Four decades ago, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa family, fled to a wild and lonely mountainous corner of British Columbia to avoid the draft. Smuggling backpack loads of high-grade marijuana across the border into Northern Idaho, he quickly amassed an enormous and illegal fortune. With plenty of time and money to burn, he became addicted to an online fantasy...more
Hardcover, 1044 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by William Morrow (first published 2011)
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Jenne

Me: la la la I'm sure this will be edifying and weird.

Book: Yes this will be a book about math and philosophy and like, historical dudes J/K actually I am like 14 Die Hards all squished together!

Me: SHut up, I have to stop reading this and actually make a living!

Book: no YOU shut up!!

Me: Seriously, they say people need to sleep occasionally.

Book: Bitch, I am NOT DONE. I will TELL YOU when you can sleep.
Ryan
It's important for writers to recognize their strengths. With Reamde, it's clear that Neal Stephenson has embraced his: the infodump.

Reamde operates in two gears: infodump and action, which makes for a potent combination. This fusion works because Stephenson has written a thriller. At first, I was surprised, but then I realized that "The Baroque Cycle" was also a thriller, just one set in an unusual period for the genre. Regardless, the infodump and the plot are what the thriller's all about.

Wit...more
Dan
The fact that this book came out 2 days before I take a 12 hour flight to china is proof that god loves me and wants me to be happy.
Kemper
Damn, but this book exhausted me. It wasn’t just having to hold up it’s 127 lbs. of bulk while trying to read that wore me out either.

Stephenson hasn’t made it easy on his fans since Cryptonomicon in 1999 with it and every book since being about 27,000 pages long while spanning the late 1600s in Europe to World War II to another world complete with it’s own languages and customs, and each book was also crammed with detailed information about topics like finance and code breaking. When I saw that...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I know, I know. When Stephenson writes really smart, I get annoyed while I force myself to finish the book (Quicksilver). When he writes a (sometimes) action-packed crime novel full of terrorists and international espionage and virtual worlds (Reamde), I get stuck near page 100 or 200 and allow myself to be talked into pushing onward, and start regretting it around page 700, and feel annoyed when I finally finish.

Here's the thing. I like a fun crime novel. I read all the Stieg Larsson books. I...more
GHOULIO™
Remind me never to read reviews written by my most ardent "fans."

This book is great, but it appears #TeamStephenson was expecting the opening of the Ark of the fucking Covenant.

If you want a smart, contemporary, geeky, international action thriller written by someone who just spent 10 years writing an epic about the connections between the tech of the 17th century and the tech of the 21st—in longhand, on, like, parchment, with a fountain pen, the showboating bastard—then read this.

It's fun. And...more
Nick
I thought, when I started reading this book, that Stephenson had turned in a classic Great American Novel. By that I mean that the introduction to the main character (although actually this is a seriously ensemble piece, so it’s probably better to think of him as the spine character – the events in the book could not take place without him, even when – as much of the time – he’s out of the room and has no knowledge of what’s going on) is a perfect, serious statement of a particular moment of Ame...more
Graham Crawford
I love Neil Stephenson (most of the time), and I loved this book - most of the time. When He's good he's brilliant, but when he's bad he's mind numbingly dull. This is probably his most commercial/mainstream book yet - It screams please make me into to a Hollywood action movie, or big budget miniseries. For my taste it screams this too loudly.

The best parts of the novel are about the Chinese hacking and Gold Farming scene, the REAMDE virus- all classic slick Stephenson. Once we are back in Ameri...more
Mark
[Note: longer review now in place.]

So: your starter for 10. Is it Reamde? Remade? Reamed? Read Me?

Just working out the title can be a complication in itself. But then that’s what you should expect with Neal Stephenson’s books. It’s a well known adage in the genre that if you read Neal Stephenson’s books, you’re there for a long journey.

And so it goes with this one: over 1000 pages of small text, over 2 inches/6cm thick. (I measured it!)

For what is typical of Neal’s work is that when you buy i...more
Jeffrey Keeten
I took the week off between Christmas and New Years and decided the perfect book to end the year with was the new woolly MAMMOTH sized Neal Stephenson book. Because we were traveling down to the in-laws house, a 12 hour trip to the ship channel in Texas, I checked out a library copy. With this size of book it is easy to break the spine while reading it and this is a book that actually forces the reader to abuse it to actually read the book. In retrospect, though I was glad I didn't have to tortu...more
Geoffrey Cubbage
Let's start with the good stuff: Reamde is an entertainingly-plotted book. The threads all cross and re-cross in exciting (if occasionally improbable) ways, and the ending leaves less loose ends dangling than your average Neal Stephenson.

So Reamde should be a really good read.

But a person can only take so much really creepy "women secretly like to be tied up" subtext before it starts to distract from the text, mainly with a desire to put the text down and wash one's hands.

This is a recurring pr...more
RandomAnthony
Neal Stephenson's Reamde is over a thousand pages long. ONE THOUSAND PAGES. In the same way that I avoid movies over 130 minutes (especially if they're historical costume drama, egads) my self-diagnosed ADD usually keeps me away from books over, say, 500 pages. Exceptions exist, of course, and this novel caught my eye because 1) I had read and liked/loved Stephenson's The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Cryptomicon, and 2) I was experiencing one of those uncomfortable “I don't know what to read” st...more
Kim
I was so excited about this book, but it slowly slipped from a 5 at the beginning to a 3 by the end. This book was over the top...it read like Ian Fleming was alive and forced to write an action movie with Tom Clancy. A 6 hour long action movie. That over the top. Just as with any over-the-top action movie, you have to suspend disbelief to enjoy it, and it was certainly fun. Unfortunately, there was just too much schmaltz for the action alone to carry it. To be fair, I also had high expectations...more
Will Byrnes
Neal Stephenson has taken the notion of a multi-player, on-line video game as the basis for an action novel and has raised it to the next level. The characters in his story each have dangers and goals and must make use of available resources and allies, while avoiding or killing obstructions or enemies. Unlike their in-game counterparts, the novel’s characters only get one life and must struggle to hang onto it against an assortment of unpleasantries, including Russian gangsters, storms at sea,...more
Moira
OK, look. I routinely go into small bookshops and badger clerks to recommend a giant, sprawling, poly-thematic novel, ideally one that takes place in multiple far-flung locales and features kick-ass women. Which is to say, I have read all of Neal Stephenson's novels, most of them two and three times over. I am a big fan, and just like any partisan, I am somewhat unsuited to anything aside from gushing or howling.

But honestly, I can't do either. REAMDE a good, long, and involving read. It fails...more
Bill
i have absolutely no interest whatsoever in video games. i have never played a video game on my tv,on my computer, or on my phone. the last time i played a video game was when pac-man was the cutting edge.

so karen sends me a signed copy of this book (she's so awesome), and i was really looking forward to getting it, having read stephenson before,so even though it's a very big book, i started reading it the day it arrived at my place.

so i start reading it, and initially, much to my disappointment...more
Skott Klebe
REAMDE reads as though he started to write an interesting novel about massively multiplayer online gaming business and frauds, and inadvertently stumbled into writing an irritatingly conventional thriller novel about Islamic terrorists when the MMPORG novel turned out not to have enough action in it. I wonder, actually, if this is his 9/11 book, delayed somehow by nonliterary circumstance. Cardboard villains seen up close to be mere dark-skinned cartoons of inexplicable evil, heroic northwestern...more
Michael
This thriller represents a nice reprise of a the fun, excitement, and imagination of Stephenson’s sci fi thriller Snow Crash and techno thriller Cryptonomicon,. Though some criminal indiscretions of her boyfriend, a young woman gets sucked up in a very few steps as a tool and a hostage by some very powerful bad guys, initially by the minions of a rogue Russian gangster and later by a group of jihadists led by a particularly ambitious terrorist spawned in Wales. I don’t want to spoil the ingeniou...more
Lori (Hellian)
O happy day, just started, don't want to do anything else except read it.

10/1 This isn't even sf, it's a return to Cryptonomicon and even the Baroque series in that it is historical fiction except it's taking place in the here and now. There's a long wind-up til the action comes, but that's just fine because the characters are intelligent and courageous, and yet like you and me in different circumstances. The set-up pays off and then the action begins, that I'd call political and geek thriller....more
Rob
Executive Summary: While not as enjoyable as some of his other books, I found this pretty enjoyable. I suspect everyone won't feel the same however.

Audio book: Malcolm Hillgartner is a pretty good narrator. He does a few voices/accents for some of the characters that adds a bit to the story. I will say clocking in at 38.5 hours this is a long one that most people can probably read faster themselves unless you listen to it sped up. I don't like to do that, so this one took me about 10 days to get...more
Jake Rideout
Ho. Ly. Shit. HOLY shit. Is there anything Neal Stephenson can't write?

REAMDE begins with Richard Forthrast: draft dodger, marijuana smuggler, Iowa farmboy, and most recently, CEO of Corporation 9592, which created the online world of T'Rain. He's a workaholic making a halfhearted attempt at retirement when a virus called REAMDE wreaks havoc among the T'Rain community. Caught up in the drama is Richard's niece Zula. The story skips and weaves among the many characters whose lives tangle together...more
Davis
By the time I was about three-fourths of the way through, I found myself wondering why Stephenson had bothered to write this book. Aside from The Big U I've read all of his other works, and in each of those he used his skills —his knowledge of math and computers, his understanding of how computer engineers and programmers handle information —to build a compelling world and tell a meaningful story (often with social commentary) from a unique perspective. In Reamde Stephenson clearly stepped far o...more
Duffy Pratt
Thrillers tend to suffer from weak characterization. Often, characters become nothing more than components in an overwrought plot. Stephenson, in his earlier books, has frequently been accused of having thinly drawn characters. So here he decided to confound his critics and the genre at the same time, by making a character driven thriller. With the sympathetic characters, he succeeds brilliantly. There are a host of well drawn, living and breathing people in this book. He did especially well wit...more
Hank Mishkoff
Very clever and engaging premise, but very broad and sloppy execution. I'm a huge Stephenson fan, he's on my short list of best writers on the planet, so Reamde was huge disappointment to me.

The premise (and I don't think this is a spoiler) is the intrusion of a MMORPG (a massively multiplayer online role-playing game) on real life in unexpected (and potentially disastrous) ways -- not in a Tron-like player-gets-absorbed-into-the-game sense, but in a way that strikes me as so realistic (although...more
Sean Mcguire
In Reamde, Stephenson has written a really very amazing book. Unfortunately I'm not certain he finished that book, and he took it and mixed it with one other book of far, far lower quality.

There were times, during the reading of this book, that I stayed up far past my bedtime just to find out What Happened Next. But about 90% of the way through the book, I just... stopped really giving a shit, as things seemed to drag on, and on, and on.

The most interesting thing about the book, to me, was the i...more
Kasey
First I should disclose that I am a huge Neal Stephenson fan. I plow through his books as soon as I can get my hands on them. I should also disclose that I am in the camp who think his more recent books are better than his earlier ones.

This book is a pretty big departure from his more recent books and is in many ways a throw back to his pre Baroque Cycle books. Virtual worlds, plucky tech company survivalists, special forces hard cases, and the northwest portion of the US all play major roles. I...more
Marc Weidenbaum
The novel Reamde is named for a computer virus, but it might as well be named for any other aspect of its story, since we learn more about physical exercise, video games, plasma torches, guns (especially guns), drug trafficking, private jets, the Canadian-U.S. border, Chinese ports, international espionage, hiking, and Philippines sex trade, among other things, than we do about this virus.

I found the book disappointing. I say that as someone who's read Stephenson's Cryptonomicon three times and...more
Stefan
It’s becoming increasingly clear that throwing all expectations overboard whenever Neal Stephenson releases a new novel is a good idea. Throughout his somewhat dizzying career, the man has rarely stayed within the same sub-genre for more than one book in a row. I was going to start this review with a brief overview of everything he’s written so far, but quickly abandoned that idea because, even just looking at the major novel-length works, it’s hard to pin these books down with just a few words....more
Emily
I really wanted to like this book more. I've read everything Neal Stephenson has written and I work in the video game industry, so I thought this sounded like the best book ever, and was thrilled to be able to borrow an advance copy. But unfortunately it was nowhere near the standard of 'Snow Crash'. It wasn't even very much about the online game described in the book blurb; it was really a quasi-techno thriller about spies, terrorists, long-drawn out shoot-outs, and international intrigue that...more
Michael
I don’t normally read books that are over 1000 pages and after reading Reamde, I’m a little reluctant to read something this big again. Not that there was anything wrong with this book; but sitting at over 1100 pages, it was a big task chipping away through this book. Neal Stephenson provides a story full of nerdism, thrills and a lot of action, dipping into aspects of organised crime and terrorism. My first thought of this book was the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) gam...more
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HELP! Tavern: Pete/Wallace meeting 6 106 Dec 07, 2013 08:52PM  
Reamde to be adapted as a TV series 23 299 Nov 13, 2013 09:22AM  
The Sword and Laser: Readme on Audible! 10 172 May 28, 2013 04:40PM  
Title? 8 125 Jan 14, 2013 05:38PM  
The Dapper Gentle...: Reamde (Spoilers) 36 26 Sep 08, 2012 11:23AM  
Live Video Chat with Neal Stephenson 463 270 Sep 01, 2012 02:49AM  
  • Rule 34
  • Kill Decision
  • Zero History (Blue Ant, #3)
  • Fuzzy Nation
  • This Is Not a Game (Dagmar, #1)
  • The Quantum Thief
  • The Ware Tetralogy (Ware, #1-4)
  • The Dervish House
  • Thirteen (Th1rte3n)
  • Rainbows End
  • Existence
  • Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
  • Embassytown
  • Memoirs Found in a Bathtub
545
Neal Town Stephenson is an American writer known primarily for his science fiction works in the postcyberpunk genre with a penchant for explorations of society, mathematics, cryptography, currency, and the history of science. He also writes non-fiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired Magazine, and has worked part-time as an advisor for Blue Origin, a company (funded by Jeff...more
More about Neal Stephenson...
Snow Crash Cryptonomicon The Diamond Age Anathem Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle, #1)

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“The GPS unit became almost equally obstreperous, though, over Richard’s unauthorized route change, until they finally passed over some invisible cybernetic watershed between two possible ways of getting to their destination, and it changed its fickle little mind and began calmly telling him which way to proceed as if this had been its idea all along.” 16 likes
“In a manner familiar to anyone who had ever packed a car for a family trip, genial confusion gave way to impatience, then furious ultimatums, then ill-advised snap decisions.” 10 likes
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