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Cryptonomicon

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  56,416 ratings  ·  3,154 reviews
W roku 1942 Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse - geniusz matematyczny i młody kapitan Marynarki Wojennej USA - zostaje przydzielony do Jednostki 2702. Ta formacja jest tak tajna, że o jej istnieniu wie zaledwie garstka ludzi; niektórzy z nich noszą nazwiska w rodzaju Roosevelt czy Churchill.

Misja Waterhouse'a i Jednostki 2702 dowodzonej przez żołnierza piechoty morskiej Bobby'
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Paperback, 703 pages
Published 2001 by Prószyński i S-ka (first published January 1st 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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sckenda
Mar 21, 2014 sckenda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Badass Nerds
“Cryptonomicon” is War and Peace for nerds. Being a stupendous badass nerd, myself, I refused to allow 1,168 pages containing a modest amount of STEM to intimidate me. I hooked both spurs in the girth and settled down for a long ride, determined not to let it throw me, and Neal Stephenson rewarded my Hobbit's courage with a rollicking and humorous adventure that intertwines the tales of the fighting nerds of World War II with the entrepreneurial nerds of the of the 1990’s.

How do I describe this
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Kemper
One of the problems when reviewing Cryptonomicon is that you could easily end up writing a short novel just trying to summarize it. Here’s my attempt to boil the story down to its essence.

During World War II, Lawrence Waterhouse is a genius mathematician who is part of the effort to break Japanese and German codes, and his job is to keep them from realizing how successful the Allies have been by faking events that give the enemies reasons other than compromised codes to pin any losses on. Marine
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Aubrey
Disclaimer: Had Mr. Stephenson been more skillful in his prose/characterization/writing in general, I would not have paid nearly as much attention to the following issues. I read a lot of old dead white guy type literature, and am pretty forgiving so long as it's good. If it isn't, well, this happens. That is all.

Do not be fooled by the static nature of the star count above. If I had my way, it would be a roiling maelstrom of a typhoon crashing into lava, erosion and explosion steaming and spill
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Conrad
My friend Stuart's reading this and I stupidly started spoiling one of the best lines in the book (it pops up as Shaftoe's motto) and he was mildly irritated with me. Fortunately for him, he is vastly smarter than me so while he was quite generously acting annoyed he was probably thinking to himself, "Maybe one day I will spoil math and engineering and the details of Riemann zeta functions for Conrad." Now I'm rereading it out of sympathy and it's even better than I remembered.

Anyway, while I ha
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Russell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Coco Prato
I'm shocked by the critical acclaim this book received in the sci-fi category but I suppose even a turd can float. Two stars is really pushing it. Maybe a star for the number of laughs I got per 100 pages. This is the work of a technically inept egomaniac. He does have some technical background (he drops Unix hints and anagrams the name of a supposed deity who dies and then later comes back w/ no explanation??) However, it's not enough “savoir faire” for any of the content to make sense. It migh ...more
Chris McLane
One day I went out shopping for a book. My list of unread, prepurchased titles sat neatly in a stack by my disused fire-place and none of them set me alive with anticipation. I don't know what I wanted really, but I had a vague idea that there was a black book with numbers on the front that was a New York Times bestseller, and I quite fancied something clever related to code breaking or numbers. So I hopped on the subway, rode into Union Square and strolled over to B&N on 17th street and fou ...more
Brooke
*Re-reading this book, started early January 2009

Note: This review is from my blog, circa 2005.

I finished reading Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson about a week ago. It took me over a month to finish, not because it wasn't great and exciting, but because it was 937 fucking pages long!

I have to say that Neal Stephenson is one of the most interesting and unique authors I have come across in some time now. The book had three main characters/story lines, and each of them had it's own strongly indepe
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Clouds

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became
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Erez Schatz
Jul 24, 2008 Erez Schatz rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no-one in particular
Greenspun's Tenth Rule of Programming says, that any sufficiently complicated C or Fortran program contains an ad hoc informally-specified bug-ridden slow implementation of half of Common Lisp. (Including Common Lisp, added Robert Morris)
Lisp, to qoute L. Peter Deutsch, can make you realise that software could be close to executable mathematics.

Cryptonomicon is surprisingly similar to the previous paragraph, both as an analogy to the book, and for the useless use of computer-based qoute, just fo
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Clif Hostetler
Aspire for fluency in geek speak? Is "Big Bang Theory" your idea of reality TV? Then I recommend this Moby Dick of nerd novels. Jay Clayton in his book Charles Dickens in Cyberspace calls this book the “ultimate geek novel” (pg. 204-211) and draws attention to the “literary-scientific-engineering-military-industrial-intelligence alliance” that produced discoveries in two eras separated by fifty years, World War II and the Internet age. That's a good concise summary of the book.

Stephenson write
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Michael
My four-star rating will likely puzzle those friends of mine who have had to listen to me piss and moan about this novel for the past six months. My progress as a reader was, shall we say, embarrassingly slow. (In Stephenson's defense, I tended to put his novel aside after every 200 or so pages and read other things; the book actually moves pretty swiftly considering its size.) But the four-star rating is sincere: I did enjoy this very much, for the most part, and I intend to at last read Snow ...more
Krissa
May 09, 2012 Krissa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: geeks
Recommended to Krissa by: Conrad, Stuart
Shelves: favorites
I mean, FINE, okay, this is one of the most engrossing books I've ever read. I don't really mean "best" or "best-written", necessarily. I mean, it's a messy sprawling epic that's almost too clever by half and full of hilarious characters and history just-so tweaked to accommodate them and also pure unadulterated geekiness. So it's not really for everyone but boy did I lap it up and then eat my huge slices of humble pie for everyone in my life that's been bugging me to read it for about four year ...more
Rob
Though Snow Crash will probably remain my all-time favorite Neal Stephenson novel, Cryptonomicon might take the crown as his best.[†:] As I write this review, I wrapping up my third reading of this novel.

BRIEF ASIDE REGARDING THE TIMING OF THIS THIRD READING: It is probably worth noting my mental state when I cracked the spine on this one for the third time. Stephenson's Anathem had just come out and I could not quite bring myself to drop the cash on the hardcover. But I was overwhelmed with t
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Andrei Alupului
I usually roll my eyes at blurbs on books, especially when they're as reductive and simple as the ones I'm about to cite, but "electrifying" and "a hell of a read" seem like the two most fitting ways to summarize my opinion on this book. I had a tough time putting this down. It's not a challenging book, but it's also not a stupid book and I was surprised to find how "literary" it actually is. Outside of that, and really most importantly, it's an absolute blast to read.

Clearly a lot of research w
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Phil
Aug 08, 2007 Phil rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: geeks, history buffs, and literary enthusiasts
I'm an English major. I've read a lot of books. This one, is -- hands down -- my favorite modern fiction novel. I've read it twice, recommended it to others, and I'm sure I'll read it again. There is so much to appreciate here.

It is a semi-historical adventure, so there's something for fiction and non-fiction fans.

The writing is justly verbose at times, and conversationally abrupt at other times. In essence, you find yourself wholly in the minds and bodies of the characters while reading every s
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Stephen
4.0 stars. I am glad I finally got around to reading this as I had read so many sterling reviews and I am a big fan of Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash and The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer being two of my "All Time Favorite" novels). While not enjoying this as much as the two aforementioned books, there is no doubt that Stephenson can write and write well. The plot is complex, taking place in two time-lines (World War II and today) that eventually tie together, and containing a ...more
Sean
Neal Stephenson is brilliant. Quite obviously so. And one of his strengths lies in writing books that make abstruse, convoluted niche subjects feel approachable and exciting to the average reader. His attention to detail and his playful tangents, asides and divagations are charming, witty and often fascinating.

Unfortunately this does not always translate into well-written and well-structured narratives. To put it mildly, Cryptonomicon drags. It meanders. Occasionally it stops completely dead. Mo
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Apatt
This book took me over a month to read, with a couple of short books sandwiched in between. It is not a good sign for me when I need to take two breaks to finish a book. However, this is not a book that I can dismiss regardless of whether I like it. I have several friends who love Cryptonomicon to bits and they are smart, discerning readers. I remember when I finished reading Twilight I was kind of glad that I didn't think it was very good. Had I found it to be an amazing classic I would have no ...more
El
It's probably safe to assume Neal Stephenson is some sort of freakish genius, along the lines of David Foster Wallace or someone. I felt at times while reading Cryptonomicon that I was reading Infinite Jest again, which isn't really a good comparison since the books have nothing to do with one another. Except this is my review and this is how I roll. Both authors can cram an exorbitant amount of information in less than 2000 pages, and to read it all makes ones head hurt, but in a good way. Like ...more
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon is a lengthy historical fiction set during both World War II and the late 1990s with much of the action taking place in the Philippines. In the 1940s, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse, colleague of Alan Turing, is hired by the U.S. Navy to help break Axis codes. Meanwhile, Marine Sergeant Bobby Shaftoe, who's too enthusiastic and courageous for his own good, doesn't realize that his troop's job is to make it look like the U.S.
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Keely
Neal Stephenson likes to throw weird shit together and see if it sticks. The more recent his book, the more likely it is to resemble a schizophrenic's curio cabinet. Your average Phillip Pullman will add a little wacky trepanning to his fantasy trilogy for that refined edge of esoteria.

Meanwhile, Stephenson will have an exiled member of Italian royalty who works in 'demolition real estate' and knows Escrima thanks to an intense trepanning session with Horace Walpole, Duke Orford. Which I believ
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Jeff
I read this book and I really liked it.

I liked the book a lot, but things about it have made me develop a whole speil. The story was great, interesting historical/thrill fiction. But! He could have easily cut a good 1/3 out of the book and it would have been fine. Mr Stephenson loves taking a long way around to describe things, and to compound the problem, his characters like to take the long way around to say things too. So you have this recursive loop of masturbation.

For example in one chapter
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Ben
Though I'm giving this book four stars, I am a little disappointed in it. For the first time, Stephenson's wordiness got to me. At first, it is all fun and "character building" and enjoyable to read. But after working through 700 pages and still hitting long stretches about Randy's fascination with dust devils as a kid or how he had really bad wisdom teeth years earlier, I got a little frustrated. I had the feeling he was striving for length instead of letting the story dictate the number of pag ...more
Fiona
I am FINIIIIIISHED! I thought it didn't have an ending! I thought Neal Stephenson kept sneaking to my house and inserting more pages in the back while I was asleep! I thought he would never be appeased until I begged him to stop with a deck of cards, morse code and a wide variety of pleading looks!

This is a massive boy book. A MASSIVE boy book. It's got overwhelmingly male characters, and they do really boy things, like coding, and shooting things, and drawing logarithmic graphs about the last t
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Eric_W
This is a book about cryptography, among other things. Lawrence Waterhouse Price is a brilliant mathematician whose peculiar talents are discovered on a routine military test. He is assigned to a very secret project known initially as Detachment 2071 until Price remarks about the unrandom nature of the group’s name, “2071 is the product of two primes. And those numbers, 37 and 73, when expressed in decimal notation, are, as you can plainly see, the reverse of each other.” Randomness is important ...more
Shelly
I am a big fan of Neal Stephenson. I previously gave Snow Crash, The Diamond Age and Anathem each 5 stars, and include the first two among my favorite science fiction stories. That is why, I was so disappointed that I didn't love this. I didn't even really like it.

There are parts of this novel that are brilliant, and the scope of it is impressive, but it just seemed to drag on for too long and in too many spots. Great writing, great characters and even a great story, but it was just too slow to
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Nicholas Karpuk
Sep 25, 2009 Nicholas Karpuk rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cryptology Dorks, Fantasy Roleplayers, People I Don't Like Talking to For Extended Amounts of Time
Shelves: surrendered
This is a failure on several levels.

Firstly, I did that This American Life offer with Audible so I could try it for a few weeks and get a free book out of the deal.

First off, Audible isn't particularly good. Though one credit generally will get you a book a month, their definition of a book can mean the first 4th of a Stephen King novel. You also lose all access to these DRM encrypted files when you drop the service, so I doubt I'll be keeping it.

The second issue is that the version of "Cryptono
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Michelle
it took me a month to get through this book. amazing, considering my usual speed with the written word, but quite true. this behemoth refused to be devoured in my usual hours-at-a-time fashion, nope. more like very high quality cheesecake, in that it's so rich you can only take a few bites before you need to assimilate.

part of the story is about a WWII GI, who happens to be so gung-ho and talented at both completing difficult missions successfully and staying alive at their completion that he ge
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Matt
I stake the claim that this novel is the "Catch 22" of the new millennium. Smacking of Heller and borrowing somewhat from Pynchon, this novel also stakes new ground and weaves an engaging yet intricate plot. There are also many asides which encompass basic cryptographic theory, History and mechanics of modern finance and economics, Hacking methods including "Van Eck Phreaking" and EMP pulses, Music Theory, and speculations upon the future and impact information will have.

The novel weaves togethe
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  • Zero History (Blue Ant, #3)
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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
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Snow Crash The Diamond Age Anathem Reamde Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle, #1)

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