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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  3,795 ratings  ·  214 reviews
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
ebook, 640 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Spectra (first published 1994)
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To all those who knocked stars off of their ratings because the technology in this book is too out-of-date: Congratulations!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
Juan Hovez
Mar 07, 2008 Juan Hovez rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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!
Anthony Howarth
Interface. Another 600 pages of extraordinary and brilliant writing and thinking by Neal Stephenson.

I will admit that I sometimes think Stephenson is mad, certifiably crazy. But that, as the historical record shows, often doesn't mean the books are anything less than works of genius!

Written in the early 1990s this book might then have been future fiction. To day it is more contemporary documentary than fiction. It is the kind of thing the juveniles from Google or Apple would get up to "just bec
Jason Byrne
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
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
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,
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
Max Nemtsov
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
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
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
Matt Hartzell
Mar 26, 2009 Matt Hartzell rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Greg Swan
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.
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
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??
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.
Ian Ballard
Another great read from Stephenson. He does an amazing job of developing complex, intelligent characters on both sides of a futurist issue, and pitting against each other in an engaging way. While the idea is a little more outlandish than you get in many of his novels, he makes it believable by walking us through the thought processes, political and economic machinations of the players behind the players.

I would definitely recommend this book, particularly for how deftly it twists your feelings
I read this book because it was available at the library and nothing I wanted to read was. Also, it's by Neal Stephenson, so it couldn't be that bad. It wasn't really what I was in the mood to read, and you kind of have to put yourself back in a 1990s mindset, but overall I was interested and entertained. The whole politics thing is not what I would have expected from Stephenson, but he pulled it off well. A decent enough read, just not something I would have picked as my first choice because po ...more
Michael Murdoch

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

I didn't think there were any Neal Stephenson books pre-him going off the rails I hadn't read. I own Zodiac, I've read The Big U. But, there was this.

It's about a presidential campaign, but it's really about media consultations, shadowy conspiracies, and nanotechnology's ability to help stroke victims.

Despite the fact that it was written in the mid-90s, there were only two parts that seemed really dated - using floppy disks to load an OS, and the presidential campaign not kicking off until Labo
The Governor of Illinois has a stroke during the State of the Union address, just after the President says he expects the a portion of the national debt to be forgiven. The Network, a group of savvy investors, decides in needs to protect its interest. A neurosurgeon is doing research on fixing brain damage with computer chip implants, a young software genius who has desired a way to read emotions, and many others are caught up in the intrigue of "fixing" the Governor and electing him as Presiden ...more
Roger Bailey
This is a novel about how bourgeois political campaigns manipulate the electorate. The technology does not currently exist for the manipulation to be carried out exactly the way it is in this book, but it is actually pretty close. Nevertheless, this does illustrate the cynical way these politicians and their campaign consultants view the voters. It can be seen in the real world too. Just how often is such a campaign based on any issues that the people care about? They are based instead on image ...more
Collaborative novels rarely in my experience enhance the gifts of a talented author. At the risk of being tedious, I refer to Sven Birkerts essay " 'The Fate of the Book' ", which ponders the future of discourse as we move from a literary culture to a mass-media culture. Mass-media (film, radio, etc) are never the products of a singular voice, but the products of collaboration, cooperation, and compromise. As we see more and more collaborative works of fiction, we can be sure that the act of rea ...more
I liked the writing style of Interface a lot, the book was a fast read. Many scenes were constructed very well and I really liked how evocatively the writer(s) managed to describe many seemingly mundane things and actions. The science was acceptable to me and, being a avid follower of politics and a political history geek, I also enjoyed the theme. The plot did have some plausibility problems, especially towards the end.

But what really irked me was the pacing of the book: out of a novel of six h
Jan 26, 2008 Belarius rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
A story about a presidential candidate who has an electronic chip implanted in his head which (unknown to him) allows his handlers to influence what he says. On the surface this is to allow immediate response to the mood of the electorate, but there is, of course, somewhat more sinister motives as well.

This book is somewhat more slyly humorous than I expected, poking quite a bit of fun at the people who run presidential campaigns and the press and pundits who cover it. Having read this immediate
If you had a massive stroke, and lost the use of most of your mobility, coordination, and speech, what would you be willing to do to get it all back? That doesn't sound like a story by Neal Stephenson, does it? But our protagonist had just announced his presidential campaign when the stroke hits, so he makes a deal. He'll have a chip implanted in his head, which not only gives back what he lost, but it allows info from polls, campaign aides, and news to be pumped directly to his brain. Of course ...more
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
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
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Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem, and the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World), as well as Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
More about Neal Stephenson...
Snow Crash Cryptonomicon The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer Anathem Reamde

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“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
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