Tim Lepczyk's Reviews > Cryptonomicon

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
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's review
Oct 28, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: techno-thriller, needs-an-editor, good-at-first-loses-flavor-like-gum
Read from October 10 to 28, 2010

Perhaps, in 1999, when Cryptonomicon came out, it was a cutting edge techno-thriller.  Eleven years later, it's laughable, because the world which Stephenson is writing about is so far in the past.  Gather round kiddies, let me tell you about this thing called the Internet. Also, for good measure, I'm going to through in some UNIX commands and reference hacking every chance I get.

The book is 1100+ pages and should have been cut to between 300-400 pages. The reader doesn't need to know everything about the characters. Watch as Randy uses the bathroom and thinks about work. Why?

The other thing that bothered me about this book is the unbelievability of it. The novel takes place in the present, circa '99, and during World War II. There's a conspiracy between the World War II characters, and it just so happens that their offspring meet up in the present to deal with the same issue: Nazi and Japanese gold.

Stephenson manages to write in a way that keeps the reader wanting to know what happens. The problem is that most of the pages are worth reading. This is a book to skim. But is it worth it? Short answer: no. Stephenson has brought us along for pages and pages. That much time demands a worthy ending. Stephenson takes a short cut, and leaves the reader where the first stage on action ends. Do we know how everything turns out? Nope. We just know that everything has changed.

There are moments of humor, mainly from the Randy's point of view. However, the humor isn't enough to carry the book, especially when complete filler is thrown in. For instance, Randy's budding relationship with Amy Shaftoe. What does this add?

I've been told by friends, that Stephenson's novel Snow Crash is worth reading, but I'm not sure I'll check it out. Cryptonomicon is novel that owes its success to the time it was published. Take that away, and you're left with a bloated book best left on the shelf.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Tim (last edited Nov 01, 2010 06:53AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tim Lepczyk Just because a book is long doesn't mean it's an epic.

ep·ic Adjective /ˈepik/

adjective: heroic
noun: epos, epopee
Of, relating to, or characteristic of an epic or epics
England's national epic poem Beowulf
Heroic or grand in scale or character
his epic journey around the world
a tragedy of epic proportions

ep·ic Noun /ˈepik/

epics plural
A long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation
The genre of such poems
the romances display gentler emotions not found in Greek epic
A long film, book, or other work portraying heroic deeds and adventures or covering an extended period of time
a Hollywood biblical epic

message 2: by Kat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kat Hagedorn Snow Crash is much better than Cryptonomicon. I am now among your friends recommending it.

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