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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  41,606 Ratings  ·  4,357 Reviews
Four decades ago, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa family, fled to a wild and lonely mountainous corner of British Columbia to avoid the draft. Smuggling backpack loads of high-grade marijuana across the border into Northern Idaho, he quickly amassed an enormous and illegal fortune. With plenty of time and money to burn, he became addicted to an online fantasy ...more
Hardcover, 1044 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by William Morrow
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Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

Me: la la la I'm sure this will be edifying and weird.

Book: Yes this will be a book about math and philosophy and like, historical dudes J/K actually I am like 14 Die Hards all squished together!

Me: SHut up, I have to stop reading this and actually make a living!

Book: no YOU shut up!!

Me: Seriously, they say people need to sleep occasionally.

Book: Bitch, I am NOT DONE. I will TELL YOU when you can sleep.
Damn, but this book exhausted me. It wasn’t just having to hold up it’s 127 lbs. of bulk while trying to read that wore me out either.

Stephenson hasn’t made it easy on his fans since Cryptonomicon in 1999 with it and every book since being about 27,000 pages long while spanning the late 1600s in Europe to World War II to another world complete with it’s own languages and customs, and each book was also crammed with detailed information about topics like finance and code breaking. When I saw that
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's important for writers to recognize their strengths. With Reamde, it's clear that Neal Stephenson has embraced his: the infodump.

Reamde operates in two gears: infodump and action, which makes for a potent combination. This fusion works because Stephenson has written a thriller. At first, I was surprised, but then I realized that "The Baroque Cycle" was also a thriller, just one set in an unusual period for the genre. Regardless, the infodump and the plot are what the thriller's all about.

Sep 03, 2011 rated it liked it
The fact that this book came out 2 days before I take a 12 hour flight to china is proof that god loves me and wants me to be happy.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I know, I know. When Stephenson writes really smart, I get annoyed while I force myself to finish the book (Quicksilver). When he writes a (sometimes) action-packed crime novel full of terrorists and international espionage and virtual worlds (Reamde), I get stuck near page 100 or 200 and allow myself to be talked into pushing onward, and start regretting it around page 700, and feel annoyed when I finally finish.

Here's the thing. I like a fun crime novel. I read all the Stieg Larsson books. I
Julio Genao
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Remind me never to read reviews written by my most ardent "fans."

This book is great, but it appears #TeamStephenson was expecting the opening of the Ark of the fucking Covenant.

If you want a smart, contemporary, geeky, international action thriller written by someone who just spent 10 years writing an epic about the connections between the tech of the 17th century and the tech of the 21st—in longhand, on, like, parchment, with a fountain pen, the showboating bastard—then read this.

It's fun. And
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought, when I started reading this book, that Stephenson had turned in a classic Great American Novel. By that I mean that the introduction to the main character (although actually this is a seriously ensemble piece, so it’s probably better to think of him as the spine character – the events in the book could not take place without him, even when – as much of the time – he’s out of the room and has no knowledge of what’s going on) is a perfect, serious statement of a particular moment of Ame ...more
Graham Crawford
Nov 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I love Neil Stephenson (most of the time), and I loved this book - most of the time. When He's good he's brilliant, but when he's bad he's mind numbingly dull. This is probably his most commercial/mainstream book yet - It screams please make me into to a Hollywood action movie, or big budget miniseries. For my taste it screams this too loudly.

The best parts of the novel are about the Chinese hacking and Gold Farming scene, the REAMDE virus- all classic slick Stephenson. Once we are back in Ameri
Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I took the week off between Christmas and New Years and decided the perfect book to end the year with was the new woolly MAMMOTH sized Neal Stephenson book. Because we were traveling down to the in-laws house, a 12 hour trip to the ship channel in Texas, I checked out a library copy. With this size of book it is easy to break the spine while reading it and this is a book that actually forces the reader to abuse it to actually read the book. In retrospect, though I was glad I didn't have to tortu ...more
Will Byrnes
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: brain-candy
“Birth and death,” Chet said. “The poles of human existence. We’re like meridians, all beginning and all ending in the same place. We spread out from the beginning and go our separate ways, over seas and mountains and islands and deserts, each telling our own story, as different as they could possibly be. But in the end we all converge and our ends are as much the same as our beginnings
Neal Stephenson has taken the notion of a multi-player, on-line video game as the basis for an action novel
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[Note: longer review now in place. Spoilers may be present.]

So: your starter for 10. Is it Reamde? Remade? Reamed? Read Me?

Just working out the title can be a complication in itself. But then that’s what you should expect with Neal Stephenson’s books. It’s a well known adage in the genre that if you read Neal Stephenson’s books, you’re there for a long journey.

And so it goes with this one: over 1000 pages of small text, over 2 inches/6cm thick. (I measured it!)

For what is typical of Neal’s wo
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
By the time I was about three-fourths of the way through, I found myself wondering why Stephenson had bothered to write this book. Aside from The Big U I've read all of his other works, and in each of those he used his skills — his knowledge of math and computers, his understanding of how computer engineers and programmers handle information — to build a compelling world and tell a meaningful story (often with social commentary) from a unique perspective. In Reamde Stephenson clearly stepped far ...more
Skott Klebe
Nov 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
REAMDE reads as though he started to write an interesting novel about massively multiplayer online gaming business and frauds, and inadvertently stumbled into writing an irritatingly conventional thriller novel about Islamic terrorists when the MMPORG novel turned out not to have enough action in it. I wonder, actually, if this is his 9/11 book, delayed somehow by nonliterary circumstance. Cardboard villains seen up close to be mere dark-skinned cartoons of inexplicable evil, heroic northwestern ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Neal Stephenson's Reamde is over a thousand pages long. ONE THOUSAND PAGES. In the same way that I avoid movies over 130 minutes (especially if they're historical costume drama, egads) my self-diagnosed ADD usually keeps me away from books over, say, 500 pages. Exceptions exist, of course, and this novel caught my eye because 1) I had read and liked/loved Stephenson's The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Cryptomicon, and 2) I was experiencing one of those uncomfortable “I don't know what to read” st ...more
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle_fiction
Great book!! Not my usual fair at all. This was a thriller with online gaming undertones. I actually learned quite a bit about the role playing games. Interesting tangents. Characterization was very good. You understood what was in the minds of everyone (except the jihadists. How could the author or anyone sane possibly know what goes on in the minds of jihadist.../sarcasm). This novel had everything I like. Strong characters both male and female, humor and lots of it (particularly around T'Rai ...more
Oct 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, lit-fiction, 2011
i have absolutely no interest whatsoever in video games. i have never played a video game on my tv,on my computer, or on my phone. the last time i played a video game was when pac-man was the cutting edge.

so karen sends me a signed copy of this book (she's so awesome), and i was really looking forward to getting it, having read stephenson before,so even though it's a very big book, i started reading it the day it arrived at my place.

so i start reading it, and initially, much to my disappointment
Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it
I was so excited about this book, but it slowly slipped from a 5 at the beginning to a 3 by the end. This book was over the read like Ian Fleming was alive and forced to write an action movie with Tom Clancy. A 6 hour long action movie. That over the top. Just as with any over-the-top action movie, you have to suspend disbelief to enjoy it, and it was certainly fun. Unfortunately, there was just too much schmaltz for the action alone to carry it. To be fair, I also had high expectations ...more
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pot smugglers, gold farmers, Russian mafia, jihadists, Christian isolationist gun nuts
I used to really, really like Neal Stephenson. I read all of his earlier books (even Zodiac and The Big U). But somewhere along about the Baroque Cycle, I fell out of love with him -- not that he stopped being a good storyteller, but man those books were long and took forever to get anywhere.

Anyway, I picked up Reamde hoping to get some of the old Stephenson cyber-thriller love again. And Reamde is a very good tale, action-packed and filled with a ton of interesting characters in a plot that wen
This thriller represents a nice reprise of a the fun, excitement, and imagination of Stephenson’s sci fi thriller Snow Crash and techno thriller Cryptonomicon,. Though some criminal indiscretions of her boyfriend, a young woman gets sucked up in a very few steps as a tool and a hostage by some very powerful bad guys, initially by the minions of a rogue Russian gangster and later by a group of jihadists led by a particularly ambitious terrorist spawned in Wales. I don’t want to spoil the ingeniou ...more
Megan Baxter
Aug 16, 2014 rated it liked it
In my head, this book is very much lumped together with the recent Greg Bear book, Vitals, that I read. Both are by authors that I have previously enjoyed. (Well, my reading relationship with Stephenson started out a little rocky, but it's gotten better of late.) They are both authors whose previous works have thrown off ideas like candy, been provocative and engaging. And they both turned in books in this round of reading that are mere technothrillers. Well-written technothrillers, but I want m ...more
Thomas Frank
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Absolutely loved everything about the virus, T'Rain, and the hackers. Really wish the book would have focused more on that than (view spoiler). With that, my attention was definitely held - but mostly because I wanted to see the conclusion of the story.

One thing that did impress me, though, was the care that was put into ensuring the characters (good and bad ones) made logical decisions. None of Stephenson's characters here are stupid, and it was satisfying
Oct 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
OK, look. I routinely go into small bookshops and badger clerks to recommend a giant, sprawling, poly-thematic novel, ideally one that takes place in multiple far-flung locales and features kick-ass women. Which is to say, I have read all of Neal Stephenson's novels, most of them two and three times over. I am a big fan, and just like any partisan, I am somewhat unsuited to anything aside from gushing or howling.

But honestly, I can't do either. REAMDE a good, long, and involving read. It fails
Executive Summary: While not as enjoyable as some of his other books, I found this pretty enjoyable. I suspect everyone won't feel the same however.

Audio book: Malcolm Hillgartner is a pretty good narrator. He does a few voices/accents for some of the characters that adds a bit to the story. I will say clocking in at 38.5 hours this is a long one that most people can probably read faster themselves unless you listen to it sped up. I don't like to do that, so this one took me about 10 days to get
Hank Mishkoff
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Very clever and engaging premise, but very broad and sloppy execution. I'm a huge Stephenson fan, he's on my short list of best writers on the planet, so Reamde was huge disappointment to me.

The premise (and I don't think this is a spoiler) is the intrusion of a MMORPG (a massively multiplayer online role-playing game) on real life in unexpected (and potentially disastrous) ways -- not in a Tron-like player-gets-absorbed-into-the-game sense, but in a way that strikes me as so realistic (although
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
4 Stars

This book wore me out. I loved it and I hated it. I felt like it could have been 400 pages shorter; but in the end, I would not change a word of it.

Incredible story of how a simple computer virus could be the start of international spy games, espionage, mercenaries, murderers, Jihadists, geeks, and even love?? Great story, characters; and a story that never seems to peak. Many times I wanted to put this book down, but there was always something happening and I just had to know what was go
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
O happy day, just started, don't want to do anything else except read it.

10/1 This isn't even sf, it's a return to Cryptonomicon and even the Baroque series in that it is historical fiction except it's taking place in the here and now. There's a long wind-up til the action comes, but that's just fine because the characters are intelligent and courageous, and yet like you and me in different circumstances. The set-up pays off and then the action begins, that I'd call political and geek thriller.
Duffy Pratt
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Thrillers tend to suffer from weak characterization. Often, characters become nothing more than components in an overwrought plot. Stephenson, in his earlier books, has frequently been accused of having thinly drawn characters. So here he decided to confound his critics and the genre at the same time, by making a character driven thriller. With the sympathetic characters, he succeeds brilliantly. There are a host of well drawn, living and breathing people in this book. He did especially well wit ...more
Justin Hampton
Jan 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
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 worth ...more
Althea Ann
Nov 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I sure do love Neal Stephenson.
Here's my new and revised list of his books, in order of how much I like them:

Snow Crash (1992)
The Diamond Age (1995)
Anathem (2008)
Cryptonomicon (1999)
Reamde (2011)
Zodiac (1988)
Interface (1994) & The Cobweb (1996)
The Big U (1984)
The Baroque Cycle (2003-2004)

I considered bumping Reamde up past Crytonomicon, but then decided, no, I really can't, because although Reamde is non-stop fun, Cryptonomicon was more interesting and in-depth, as far as its subject ma
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
In Reamde, Stephenson has written a really very amazing book. Unfortunately I'm not certain he finished that book, and he took it and mixed it with one other book of far, far lower quality.

There were times, during the reading of this book, that I stayed up far past my bedtime just to find out What Happened Next. But about 90% of the way through the book, I just... stopped really giving a shit, as things seemed to drag on, and on, and on.

The most interesting thing about the book, to me, was the i
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Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem, and the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World), as well as Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
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“The GPS unit became almost equally obstreperous, though, over Richard’s unauthorized route change, until they finally passed over some invisible cybernetic watershed between two possible ways of getting to their destination, and it changed its fickle little mind and began calmly telling him which way to proceed as if this had been its idea all along.” 22 likes
“Humans needed water or they would die, but dirty water killed as surely as thirst. You had to boil it before you drank it. This culture around tea was a way of tiptoeing along the knife edge between those two ways of dying.” 14 likes
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