Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Interface” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  4,314 Ratings  ·  244 Reviews
There's no way William A. Cozzano can lose the upcoming presidential election. He's a likable midwestern governor with one insidious advantage. An advantage provided by a shadowy group of backers. A biochip in his head hardwires him to a computerized polling system. The mood of the electorate is channeled directly into his brain. Forget issues. Forget policy. He's more tha ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 5983 pages
Published May 28th 1997 by Signet. (first published 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Interface, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Interface

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Otis Chandler
Feb 25, 2009 Otis Chandler rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: geek, fiction
Neal Stephenson is one of my favorite authors (snow crash, cryptonomicon), but he didn't deliver in this one. Maybe because it was co-authored. The premise was interesting, and the first half of the book was actually pretty good, but then it just skipped ahead and I didn't love the ending...
Jan 26, 2008 Belarius rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hardcore Political Junkies
Neal Stephenson & J. Frederick George teamed up to write Interface in 1994, and the result is unquestionably a product of that era of American politics. Seen from the modern perspective (as is often the case with "outdated" science fiction), Interface tells us a great deal more about the era in which it was written than it does about the future.

Very early in the book, during the rising action, campaign strategist Cy Ogle (a James Carville/Karl Rove/Fu Manchu hybrid) says the following, which
Juan Hovez
Mar 07, 2008 Juan Hovez rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not Bradlay
Started out great, with a fantastic premise and engaging characters. Went out on a bit of a whimper.

That said, I am still gorging my belly on the Neal Stephenson Kool-Aid and know the man can do no wrong. Except, apparently, when he collaborates with relatives.

San Dimas High School Football rules!
I read Stephenson's "Quicksilver" w/in the last yr & was very impressed. His fictionialized acct incorporating real historical characters (many of them likely to be known only to scholars) was thoroughly worked out. It was over 900pp long & took me at least a mnth to read. Now I've just read his collaborative political/medical thriller cowritten w/ J. Frederick George & I'm less impressed. While "Quicksilver" might've been somewhat comparable to something by John Barth &/or Rober ...more
Feb 25, 2009 Andrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrea by: Adam
I have been a fan of his ever since I read “Snow Crash” years ago. He has a great talent for taking existing technology and science and taking it just a little further; almost Sci Fi but it doesn’t take a lot of convincing to make you believe this could actually happen. In that way he’s a lot like Michael Crichton. I remember reading Jurassic Park and thinking this could happen...

But I digress. The book’s main focus is following an independent presidential candidate (William Cozzano) during an
Matt Hartzell
Mar 26, 2009 Matt Hartzell rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Most People
Shelves: sci-fi
I have mixed feelings about this one. I've never before read any Stephenson, and this book was given to me as a gift. I think the behind-the-scenes look at politics was interesting, and the sci-fi / technology bend carried it along. However, I thought that the book was very slow to start, and took a long time to get to where it was going. Things finally picked up by the very end, but then the story finished rather quickly and abruptly. As far as structure and pacing goes, I think things could be ...more
Aug 05, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If'n you like Neal Stephenson you'll probably like this book. It seems a little lighter on the technology than his usual books (there aren't so many passages describing the inner workings of some obscure technical concept): the book is basically a political thriller.

The basic premise is that William Cozzano, the wildly popular and down to earth governor of Illinois, suffers a stroke and loses some motor and verbal ability. Meanwhile, the President of the USA decides to quit paying any interest
The other collaboration between these two authors, Cobweb, was a thriller with a message: the US government doesn't work anymore. "Ordinary" folks are the only people who get things done, usually despite the government.

Interface is also a thriller with a message: Elections don't work anymore, either. This is because of television. It takes a similar technical and stylistic approach; "ordinary" folks turn out to be really important, humour that people will recognise from Stephenson's solo novels,
I always think authors who set their sci fi in current times and base it in real technology are, um, courageous? What's wildly bleeding-edge in 1994 sounds lame and antiquated in 2011. I guess that's the real problem with describing actual instead of "near future" technology. Luckily for my commuting sanity, the story here is ok (think mid-grade Crichton?) and knowing the awesomeness that is to come from one half of this writing duo, I can forgive nearly anything for the price of a single Audibl ...more
Nov 13, 2011 Geo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The summary on the back page says "A modern day Manchurian Candidate". I do think there are elements that are similar. I'm also *usually* not a fan of books that are written by more than one author. That approach, while interesting, sometimes leaves me feeling like I'm just been through some kind of discordant processed experience. It either falls more "flat" than normal with both authors attempting to normalize their style to what they think the other is/does, or the two are so disparate in sty ...more
Jason Byrne
Jul 30, 2011 Jason Byrne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing read - both for the science and the politics. The science came off as believable, but where this books shines is the dead right tone it gives the politics in the book. I've been working in politics and campaigns for three decades and the window this gives into that world, while not factually correct at all times, is definitely correct in capturing the essence.

And like with all Stephenson books, this delivers memorable characters and settings. There seems to be a bit more humor in
Feb 05, 2015 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an older book, 1994, by Stephenson and Frederick George. It deals with politics. It is in the best interest of certain multibillionaire international figures if the President of the US is not an idiot. The current president threatens to default on the national debt, which would not be good for those who hold the debt. Therefore, when he comes up for reelection, the hidden powers come up with a scheme which will guarantee the election of their chosen candidate. After the governor of Illin ...more
Mad Russian the Traveller
Entertaining book that captures the socio-political zeitgeist of the USA for the last ten years.

For me, this book falls into the "mainstream fiction" category; a category of books that I don't often read. And with this expectation I embarked upon this novel and have been enjoying the mind candy aspect. But throughout this book I often found myself chuckling at the so very true social commentary. Great entertainment and great gallows humor as we all get to experience the decline of American civil
Dec 26, 2011 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful political adventure novel, with a thin vein of science fiction running through it. If all political thrillers were this smart, snappy, funny, and thought-provoking, I would read a lot more of them. Or perhaps Clancy is a real knee-slapper and I just don't remember. But Interface follows an electoral campaign and along the way manages to ask some very profound, fundamental questions about the ethics of self-improvement and the nature of identity and life itself, all while bein ...more
Feb 02, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like all the things about this that I liked about Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and Reamde, and, in addition, I appreciated the lack of so much "infodump." This is just straight story-line the whole way through. Perhaps that's why it could fit in barely over 600 pages, rather than 1000+. The wry humor here is a bit different from that in Reamde: nothing really seemed implausible, but now and then, I'd find myself smiling at what had just happened or what someone said.

Most of the characters were
Jan 15, 2012 A.J. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and am surprised that it hasn't been made into a movie yet. It's a well-written, gripping combination of media manipulation, abuse of power and the fight of a small band of decent people trying to overcome the big guys. With a side order of intelligent humour. I had a hard time putting it down in the last two days.
To all those who knocked stars off of their ratings because the technology in this book is too out-of-date: Congratulations! You've managed to focus on something that really doesn't have a bearing on the story at all! This is called Missing the Point, and you win!

To all those who bemoan the lack of Stephenson's rather trademark convoluted and crammed-with-science-y-stuff style: Sorry! This is not one of those books! The last time I checked, it is neither illegal nor immoral for an author to writ
EJD Dignan
Nov 09, 2015 EJD Dignan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: neal-stephenson
A tightly crafted, fast-paced story in Neal's best form. Cliff-hangers, suspense, near-misses, and completely believable villains.
I missed it originally perhaps as it was released under Stephen Bury pseudonym.
If it was published today it would be on-topic and current.
For a book released in 1994 it is strikingly prescient, to be expected of Neal.


Having completely enjoyed this romp through conspiracy theory, now I have to take the authors to task a bit. The trope of a hidden network of u
Nov 24, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To try and get their money back from the US government, an organization known as the Network plans on infiltrating the government. How? By implanting a biochip into the brain of the president. When William Cozzano has a stroke and becomes unable to speak and move as he once did, he agrees to have a chip planted into his brain to fix the damage so he can run for president, ignorant of the darker purposes of the organization. Mel, his closest advisor, and Mary Catherine, his daughter, are the only ...more
Michael Murdoch
Jul 12, 2015 Michael Murdoch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

From his triumphant debut with Snow Crash to the stunning success of his latest novel, Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson has quickly become the voice of a generation. In this now-classic thriller, he and fellow author J. Frederick George tell a shocking tale with an all-too plausible premise.

**There's no way William A. Cozzano can lose the upcoming presidential election. He's a likable midwestern governor with one insidious advantage—an advantage provided by a shadowy group of backers. A biochip imp

Greg Swan
Jul 16, 2014 Greg Swan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love Stephenson and politics, you'll enjoy this novel. Maybe those conspiracy theorist, tin-foil hat kooks were right all along. I saw a few of the plot lines coming, which is rare in a NS book, but was still a great read. Especially loved the pre-neuromarketing-era quantified self tracker technology used for always-on focus grouping.
Nov 07, 2014 Ytje rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A riveting, comical and biting read. If people in power -in reality- could get away with rigging the game in this enormous way, they probably would. This book has not dated one bit.

The only problem I have with this book is that it contains an embarrassing amount of spelling- and type errors. Where was the editor??
Max Nemtsov
Aug 11, 2015 Max Nemtsov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Приятно все же сознавать, насколько мы продвинулись за последние четверть века — вполне на собственной памяти, — читая такие книжки. В нем все «прото-» — прото-нёрды, прото-нанотехнологии, прото-политтехнологии. Читается прям как антропологический экскурс в прошлое. Но потом догоняет и накрывает Пинчон-паранойей, и на текст подсаживаешься, хотя (а может, и потому, что) роман скроен по лекалам и рецептам коммерческого чтива: главы умоподъемной длины, сцены чередуются в своем алгоритме, фигуры умо ...more
Sep 06, 2015 Choko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I think this was much more of a political intrigue than I ever really want to read - too close to reality, too relevant to political currents from which I would like to run away and hide, even though I know that it is impossible... I am very sadly reminded of how things that were considered relevant to a political campaign in 94, even if in fictional form, are still the same today, 21 years later, and SP even mentions were points of discussion during elections 100 years before that... What does ...more
Dec 28, 2015 Lady rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2016 Gwen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I didn't like this as much as I usually love Neal Stephenson's books, but it was very timely!
Sep 29, 2016 yumi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rip roaring fun. The ending let me down a little (partially I didn't want it to end) and slightly sloppy writing, but still great fun overall, and sometimes that's all you need. Perfect fun read for the current season, and especially if you know DC, it's really refreshing to read a pretty accurate description of town.
Jordi Salazar
Me ha parecido algo flojo. Me esperaba más.
William Cozzano is a popular governor, who following a stroke become the perfect presidential candidate because after surgery installing two biochips in his head to help him regain use of the areas damaged by the stroke, he is, unbeknownst to him adn most people, being fed the mood of the electorate so he knows what to say, do and act. Basically he's been controlled by people working for a group who ensures their candidates win elections, but this time with new technology. There are a number of ...more
Oct 08, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is a great primer on how strategist look at political campaigns. It's all about images and emotions. It doesn't really count what the candidates say, but how they look like when saying it. The plot is exciting, but only secondary.

It doesn't really matter if a brain chip to control politicians really exists. A candidate who wants to win has to follow his advisors anyway as having a chip implanted.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Distraction
  • Freeware (Ware #3)
  • Fools
  • Spin Control
  • All Tomorrow's Parties (Bridge, #3)
  • Broken Bulbs
  • Redrobe
  • Halting State (Halting State, #1)
  • Fairyland
  • Eclipse (A Song Called Youth, #1)
  • Terminal Café
  • Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“What do you mean by values?” “They were code words like honesty, hard work, self-reliance . . . myths, actually, to motivate the people to accept the natural inequities found in a market system.” 0 likes
“right now my mind is full of images, an overwhelming flood of memories and ideas—you have any idea how many memories are buried in the mind? Fishing for bluegill on Lake Argyle with my father, the hook caught in his thumb, forcing it through the other side and cutting it off with wirecutters, the severed barb flying dangerously into the air spinning its cut facet gleaming in the sun and I jerking back for fear it would plunge into my eye, squinting protectively, opening my eyes again it is mud, all mud, a universe of mud and the mortar shell has just taken flight, my fingers jammed into my ears, the smell of the explosion penetrating my sinuses making them clench up and bleed, the shell exploding in the trees, a puff of white smoke but the trees are still there and the gunfire still raining down like hailstones on the cellar door on the day that the tornado wrecked our farmhouse and we packed into my aunt’s fruit cellar and I looked up at the stacked mason jars of rhubarb and tomatoes and wondered what would happen to us when the glass shattered and flew through the air like the horizontal sleet of Soldier Field on the day that I caught five for eighty-seven yards and put such a hit on Cornelius Hayes that he took five minutes to get up. God, I can see my entire life!” 0 likes
More quotes…