Sean's Reviews > The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
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's review
Jul 19, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: sci-fi
Read in September, 2008

I read this the first time when I was a young, impressionable, repressed, closeted Mormon boy. (Oh, god, so many of my reviews seem to start this way.) Stephenson's vision of a future shocked and titillated me, and years later I still found it returning to haunt me. Yet I don't think I ever truly understood the story, and certainly not the ending.

Now I think I do. In a future where synthetically assembled diamond is as ubiquitous as glass, where almost anything can be designed and created atom by atom, where the poor are wretchedly poor and the rich are bored and stodgy, and where cultures have come massively adrift from their geographical moorings but have grown ever more rigid and and closed off from each other, one young girl from the ghetto is handed a dangerous, subversive, life-changing book called A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. This book is that book. It is also the story of that girl's journey from childhood to maturity, of an audacious theft and a bungled robbery--both with world-changing consequences--and of a young interactive actress's growing relationship with a child she had never seen.

This is a more mature work than Stephenson's earlier Snow Crash . I can't wait to continue on and read the books that made him really famous.
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