William Winkle's Reviews > Reamde

Reamde by Neal Stephenson
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Oct 29, 12

Read from September 11 to October 28, 2012

There's no getting around that practically any Neal Stephenson is a great read. _Reamde_ has all the requirements of a fun adventure tale: exotic locales (both real and virtual), international terrorists, violence, mayhem, laughs, a little romance... The trouble with _Reamde_ is it's just too damned long. The story splits into several threads, each of which could have almost been a novel in their own right. I read the audio version, and at 32 discs, it's a monster. About half-way through, I found myself asking, "Did we really need all that?" I don't want to sound like Salieri complaining about "too many notes," but...there were too many notes. By the time I finished the book and glanced at the cover, I had an odd moment when I thought, "Oh, right. The virus, Reamde. That was how this whole thing started." It had been pertinent to the story so long before that I'd almost forgotten.

If you want to get lost in a story, _Reamde_ is a terrific candidate. But don't look for any mind-blowing concepts like in _Snow Crash_; there aren't any. The characters are fun, but could we have focused on fewer of them and shed 200 pages? Perhaps. Would the tale have been better or worse for the contraction? I'm betting on the former, but your opinion may be different.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Tracy Beatty I keep thinking about ditching this story, the narrator is putting me to sleep. The micro detail puts me in such a trance I will "wake up" a half hour later and not remember a thing! (Not good while driving). Mostly I haven't missed much, so I don't bother to rewind! I'm gonna keep plugging along for now.


William Winkle Tracy wrote: "I keep thinking about ditching this story, the narrator is putting me to sleep. The micro detail puts me in such a trance I will "wake up" a half hour later and not remember a thing! (Not good whil..."

I'd like to tell you that this gets better, but it doesn't. The story is just too diffuse and meandering. I'm reading Stephen King's _Under the Dome_ right now and am feeling much the same thing. I don't *want* to know everyone in the town and their long histories. Maybe I'm just getting old and too busy, but my patience for such ornate world building is wearing thin these days. It worked for me in _11/22/63_, perhaps because the character roster was so focused. And it's not that _Reamde_ has a huge character diversity; it's that it has such a sprawling plot diversity. Same problem, different side of the coin.


Tracy Beatty Agreed, Under the Dome did get tedious at times, but SK knows better when to stop! I just bought Ken Follett's Fall of Giants, I do like my saga's. I need more other world, alternate universe stuff any recommendations? I'm still trying to unzip Cinder, getting closer.


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