Definitely my least favorite Stephenson book. I can see why he tried to disown it. The satire was too over the top to really work for me. The plot wasDefinitely my least favorite Stephenson book. I can see why he tried to disown it. The satire was too over the top to really work for me. The plot was unnecessarily convoluted. I can deal with a complex plot, but it irritates me when plots are made to look more complex than they really are. If I weren't going for my 100% Stephenson Completion achievement I probably would have bailed.
There were a few bits that were borrowed by Anathem. One of those was a major plot twist and I'd rather not spoil Anathem. Another room in the library included the names of several main characters (Erasmus and Archibald are the two I can remember). I wonder if Stephenson knowingly recycled them or if his naming scheme needs more entropy....more
And I thought I was sick of fantasy. Well, maybe I'm sick of fantasy for fantasy's sake, but this is just straight up good writing. I actually enjoyedAnd I thought I was sick of fantasy. Well, maybe I'm sick of fantasy for fantasy's sake, but this is just straight up good writing. I actually enjoyed reading about how magic works and that's never happened before.
My only complaint is the adverbs. Specifically adverbs attached to said. There's no need to say things slyly, gingerly, pointedly, menacingly, or with a grin. It comes off as amateurish. I realize this was Rothfuss's first novel, but I'm surprised the editor didn't cut the adverbs out thoroughly.
Holy shit that was tedious. "That" being the whole serious. And this is coming from someone who made it through The Silmarillion twice.
System was defiHoly shit that was tedious. "That" being the whole serious. And this is coming from someone who made it through The Silmarillion twice.
System was definitely my favorite book in the series. It brought together all the story I thought was just wankery. I'm curious to see how it goes for a second read through, but no.
I'm not sure that this changed my opinion of Stephenson at all. He manages to be funny and dead serious at the same time. He's the only author I've encountered who can do spatial descriptions in an interesting and concise (for values of concise appearing in a three thousand page series) manner, which does wonders for melee combat scenes. He even managed a decent ending! Actually that's a new observation. Neal is known for abrupt endings that in true academic fasion leave the epilogue as an exercise to the reader. Seeing Baroque Cycle and Anathem receive proper endings indicates to me that he's finally learned how to do endings.
Anyway over the course of the last several years I've debated on numerous occasions whether this series is worth it. I think so, but only if you're a big Stephenson fan. I've never said this about a book before, but an abridged version might have been an improvement....more
I was indecisive about how to rank this one. The Baroque Cycle has been my least favorite of Stephenson's works, but that still leaves it above everytI was indecisive about how to rank this one. The Baroque Cycle has been my least favorite of Stephenson's works, but that still leaves it above everything that isn't GRRM. I ended up bumping it to a 4 because the end made me cry a little (though it could have been the combination of the end and Rush's rendition of Heart Full of Soul coming on at just the right moment) and that was a first for one of Neal's books.
Anyway, this shit is dense, yo. There's a lot going on and the language is as tedious as anything I've ever read. Stephenson continues his habit of slowly emerging plots rather than making them explicit for your convenience. Normally I like this method, but it was made difficult by the language. Eventually I gave up on trying to parse everything and the book actually got easier because I was keeping track of less of it. Counterintuitive but it worked for me.
In spite of the 4 star rating, I can only recommend this series in good faith if you're a huge Stephenson fan. There's a lot of good stuff floating around in here but a lot to wade through too, and if you don't absolutely love Neal's other books you'll drown. It's basically The Silmarillion....more
This was disappointing. I'll cut Vonnegut some slack though, as this was his first book (I wasn't aware of this fact till I came here to post about itThis was disappointing. I'll cut Vonnegut some slack though, as this was his first book (I wasn't aware of this fact till I came here to post about it and saw the other reviews).
It touched on a lot of interesting ideas but failed to visit them in any great depth. I think that's why I found it disappointing. The book primed me to go off in so many directions and then didn't. It was like it was showing me what could have been.
This was also the only Vonnegut book I've read that was told in chronological order. The others take a birds eye view of a series of events and let you piece together what happened (kinda like Pulp Fiction, but over a much longer span of time). I'd always wondered if maybe his books only seem interesting because of all the extra effort you have to put into sorting out the timeline. Maybe this one would have been more interesting out of order. Maybe not....more
I wouldn't have read this if I didn't enjoy Stephenson quite a bit. What I appreciate about his writing is that he can be deadly serious and hilariousI wouldn't have read this if I didn't enjoy Stephenson quite a bit. What I appreciate about his writing is that he can be deadly serious and hilarious at the same time. Oh and he researches everything to death.
Anyway I'm on a Stephenson kick and had just finished Anathem and Diamond Age. Confusion (Baroque Cycle #2) was up next, but Quicksilver (Baroque Cycle #1) kicked my ass pretty badly. I wanted something a little lighter.
If you're a computer nerd, this is not particularly informative. I already know why I prefer linux (although Stephenson does help explain why a command line is more powerful than a GUI in better words than I'd ever conjured). I've even tried BeOS. I might suggest this for my technically inclined but not so ambitious windows power user friends, if only so they can learn some appreciation for a command line. For anyone else, this will either go way over their heads, or simply rehearse what they already know, and either way it'll be 10+ years out of date.
The bottom line is that I like Neal's writing a lot. I wouldn't call In the Beginning ... was the Command Line personal, but it was non fiction coming straight from Stephenson. It was the closest thing to a blog I'll get out of the guy. ...more
I enjoyed it, but way less than Stephenson's other books.
The problem is that the plots were too spread out. This is the opposite problem that CryptonoI enjoyed it, but way less than Stephenson's other books.
The problem is that the plots were too spread out. This is the opposite problem that Cryptonomicon had, where you had three plots in different timelines where people just happened to bump into each other's ancestors and it was a little too coincidental to be taken seriously. Without that coincidence though, it's easy to lose track of what's going on. I was paying attention to Judge Fang and then he just stops mattering because Nell is busy learning to be a Victorian. And I thought I'd missed something important when the Drummers showed up and I was completely baffled about who they were and what they were up to. I think the book would have benefited from another 50-100 pages if only to say "meanwhile back at the ranch..." and occasionally check in with other plots and characters.
That said I'm glad I read it, but I probably won't ever reread it....more
The first 200 pages were tedious, but the rest was great (provided you find quantum mechanics and philosophy AT THE SAME DAMNED TIME to be worthy of gThe first 200 pages were tedious, but the rest was great (provided you find quantum mechanics and philosophy AT THE SAME DAMNED TIME to be worthy of greatness)....more
**spoiler alert** So this book has been in my queue for longer than anything. I think I originally meant to read it in middle school, but kept putting**spoiler alert** So this book has been in my queue for longer than anything. I think I originally meant to read it in middle school, but kept putting it off.
My reaction to the first third of the book was that it would have been better in middle school, when I could have related to such an angry protagonist. The language was fun for a while, but once I got over the gimmick of it, it was just tedious.
But, by the end Alex had my complete sympathy. That's why I rate the book so highly. I knew how the author was going to manipulate me, saw him doing it, and still fell for it. Towards the end when Your Humble Narrator refers to himself as "your old droog, Alex," I thought to myself, "yeah, he's my droog."
Biggest complaint would be the controversial last chapter. I did not like it. I probably would have complained about being left hanging if it weren't there, but I think I'd rather have had that. It just seemed dismissive of the book. It was like he said all that ultra violence was okay because teenagers are animals. But they grow out of that phase, so no harm no foul. Wtf? If that's how you're going to end it, why write the book?...more
I liked this book but I don't think I'll be reading any more of Gaiman's stuff. Too much of it was a tour of the man's imaginary dreamscape. That sortI liked this book but I don't think I'll be reading any more of Gaiman's stuff. Too much of it was a tour of the man's imaginary dreamscape. That sort of thing just doesn't do it for me anymore. I'd also like to know where a book is going. This one was ... cloudy.
I did enjoy his writing though. A lot. I'd be very curious to see Gaiman write a book under a pseudonym. If he wasn't living up to the Neil Gaiman name, maybe it would turn out a little less dreamy and I'd be able to enjoy it more....more