Justin Hampton's Reviews > Reamde

Reamde by Neal Stephenson
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M_50x66
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Jan 25, 12

Read in January, 2012

Let's face it: Neal straight up jumped the shark with The Diamond Age. Immediately after people began hailing him as a visionary (and rightfully so) for a pretty impressive run with DA and Snow Crash, Neal started developing some bad, self-indulgent habits with Cryptonomicon, and it doesn't seem like anybody around him has enough pull or inclination to speak truth to power. Still, the argument could be made that Stephenson's digressions, while superfluous, were still quite entertaining and worthwhile in their own right. But I think it's time people stopped doing this, because Reamde is showing that the charm and goodwill is starting to wear off.

First off, Stephenson seems far too concerned with illustrating the proper way to remove a Makarov from a shoulder holster than he does in creating a realistic female character. He asks us to believe that an Eritrean refugee/foster child (Zula Forthrast, who spends 90% of her book as a largely passive damsel-in-distress) can grow up after a hellish childhood in the middle of Iowa and suffer virtually no identity crisis whatsoever. And in a manner similar to Clancy, Stephenson creates a Manichean world of quirky-yet-lovable spooks, gamer geeks and survivalist right wingers vs. murderous Muslim terrorists and their office-drone sympathizers.Small wonder, then, that a blogger on Breitbart's Big Hollywood site embraced this tale. But it's telling for the rest of us to see Stephenson's blind spots - not to mention those of his followers - splayed out writ large against the backdrop of the modern world.

If you're looking for a high-tech thriller/MMORPG commentary done right, I would suggest reading Daniel Suarez's Daemon, as he does everything Stephenson tries to do here in half the time.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Paul Could not agree more Justin, although I gave it 2 stars.


Justin Hampton I may have given him 2 stars if he had kept it under, say, 750 pages. The one is revenge for having wasted my time.


Andrew Boer I actually got the impression that Daemon came out and forced Neal to change direction.


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