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Preview — The System of the World by Neal Stephenson
The System of the World (The Baroque Cycle #3)
The System of the World, the third and concluding volume of Neal Stephenson's shelf-bending Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver and The Confusion), brings the epic historical saga to its thrilling -- and truly awe-inspiring -- conclusion.
Set in the early 18th century and featuring a diverse cast of characters that includes alchemists, philosophers, mat
So here I am, trying to wrap up the last book of the The Baroque Cycle. This thing has gotten completely out of control. I knew it’d be huge when I planned it, but this story has sprawled everywhere. What the hell was I thinking? Any one of the story threads I’ve had going could be a fair sized novel in itself. Now I gotta gather them all up and try to come up with some kind of coherent ending. I’m not going to have a fan left if I don’t wrap this up ...more
People often asked me what these books are about. Er. It's a story of alchemy (human more than chemical), economics, word origins, English history, history of science, philosophy, bravado, character and a little love. Like all of Stephenson's work thus far, it is large and contains multitudes — co ...more
The Baroque cycle is a massive, epic, depressingly wide reaching body of creative work which, I believe, has made several well respected fantasy/sci-fi novelists give up and go home. If it hasn't, it definitely should. It's just so.... big. And while there are a lot of authors who have written large things (the Lord of the Rings, the Wheel of Time, a Son ...more
It has everything. An around the world sea voyage. The Barbary corsairs. Love triumphing over death. Women trimuphing over men. The beginnings of the Enlightenment. Battles. The formation of the monetary system. A duel with unconventional firearms. Blackbeard. Peter the Great. And a gaggle of mathematicians.
Extensively researched historical fiction, I've been hard ...more
My usual complaint about Stephenson's detail-driven writing does not apply to The System of the World. Perhaps the first two insta ...more
His characters on many levels are extremely profound and complex, except when it comes to th ...more
It's probably best not to think of these books as three huge tomes, but instead like a longer series of eight normal-sized novels (which the three are divided up into, with the complication that nos. 4 and 5 are told in parallel) or like eight seasons of some well-produced TV show. I wish it had been eight volumes, actually. I never would have been stupid enough to try reading an octology straight through.
Like anything that long, there were gre ...more
I don't have too much to say ...more
The basic plot is that of a murder mystery, but comprises many other components. Daniel Waterhouse has completed his epic trip back a ...more
Any Man, when he shall have completed a Taſk, be it one which he has aſsigned to Himſelf, or an Impoſition from ſome external Party, may experience a certain Euphoria. I write here of two such Taſks which have been completed, videlicet, primo, the Exertions of Master STEPHENSON in writing the Series of Romances, commencing with Cryptonomicon and continued in Quickſilver, The Confuſion, and the Volume here under Conſideration; and secundo, my own Expenditure ...more
Stephenson as an excellent but disappointing writer has been the theme of my reviews since - oh, so long ago, my darlings - I began reading him first with the Cryptonomicon and then, in its immediate wake, (or 'aftermath' may here be a better word), headed down the difficult road of reading all three volumes of his B ...more
Ustrój świata podzielony jest na trzy części, każda skonstruowana w bardzo podobny sposób, ze stopniowo rozpędzającą się akcją aż do momentu wielkiego finału. A jak przystało na ostatnią część trylogii, dzieje się naprawdę dużo i to z wielkim rozmachem.
Zakończenie jest cyklu satysfakcjonuj ...more
In this volume, unlike ...more
A 3rd Mountain of a Book to Read. I have just Accomplished the Summit of the 2nd Mountain and I start with this 3rd Trek! Am I Barking Mad? If so, Put a Dog Collar on me, and I'll get a Rabies Shot!! I'm off!!!
Ye Gods! The things this man knows! History, Philosophy, Alchemy Science, Currency,(and the interweaving of these), just to name a few! I fear the man has swallowed an Enclopedia, nay, a Library (Hopefully this is the orifice through which it has been ingested!!!) for the knowle ...more
Certainly the epic is not the most historically accurate account of what happened. But it gets the big idea of it all right, and it is terribly entertaining.
This book tells t ...more
In this final volume, Stephenson's characters (Waterhouse, Shaftoe, Eliza) and the near-automatons-modeled-after-historical-figures they interact with (Leibniz, Newton, Caroline of Hanover, et al) are once again on hand, this time to bid adieu to the Enlightenment and to usher in Modernity. Along the way there's the usu ...more
I was tricked into reading this, but I'm glad because why else would I have started in on this 2700 page trilogy? Years ago Neal Stephenson intrigued and thrilled me with his cyber-punk classic "Snowcrash" so that I could see where he was going with "Diamond Age" a neo-victorian culture in an incredibly futuristic world. By the time I read "Cryptonomicon" I had enough trust in him as an author to take me through a lot of reading involving multiple characters and time periods and to know it was g...more
I have 40+ books sitting on my 'review-soon' shelf that I just don't have time to write proper reviews for, so I'm going to bash ...more
Superb ending - in all senses of the word - to the Baroque trilogy and a must for people who love historical fiction a la Dumas or D. Dunnett. The light sf-nal elements of the trilogy disappointed purists, but so what - the modern world which Mr. Stephenson accurately in my opinion claims that started with Newton and Leibniz is as sf-nal and improbable as any sf novel, so this extraordinary description in 3000 pages of that beginning is a masterpiece.
And of course we get to say farewell to Jac ...more
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"The clock stops, you mean."
"No. Time stops, or so it seems. I do not sense its passage. Then something interrupts me-I become aware that my bladder is full, my mouth dry, my stomach rumbling, the fire’s gone out, and the sun’s gone down. But there before me on the table is a finished clock-" now suddenly a snicker from the mechanism, and a deft movement of his hands. "Or an opened lock.”