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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  5,619 ratings  ·  333 reviews
From his triumphant debut with Snow Crash to the stunning success of his latest novel, Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson has quickly become the voice of a generation. In this now-classic thriller, he and fellow author J. Frederick George tell a shocking tale with an all-too plausible premise.

There's no way William A. Cozzano can lose the upcoming presidential election. He's a
Paperback, 640 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Spectra (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,619 ratings  ·  333 reviews

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Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, wabookclub
Written 25 years ago, this political thriller also predicted some of the future pretty well. Locations are beautifully described, and ideas are usually introduced with characters (though perhaps one too many). For me, it is a book which was tough to put down, and as fun to read as it was in the 90s.

The book is a collaboration between Neal Stephenson and his uncle, which wasn't well known when first published. Having read a lot of the former, I think I can identify some passages, but overall it f
Marty Fried
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was very entertaining all the way, although not suspenseful - but that's not surprising for this author. However, it was less technical than many of his books, so that normally puts you off, don't let it in this case, although it is slightly technical. But I thought there were some truly interesting characters, with a lot of humor throughout. Unfortunately, the most interesting character was one of the bad guys. I liked him and wasn't sure whether he was a good guy or a bad guy un ...more
Jason Byrne
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
An intriguing read - both for the science and the politics. The science came off as believable, but where this books shines is the dead right tone it gives the politics in the book. I've been working in politics and campaigns for three decades and the window this gives into that world, while not factually correct at all times, is definitely correct in capturing the essence.

And like with all Stephenson books, this delivers memorable characters and settings. There seems to be a bit more humor in
Sep 26, 2010 rated it liked it
The other collaboration between these two authors, Cobweb, was a thriller with a message: the US government doesn't work anymore. "Ordinary" folks are the only people who get things done, usually despite the government.

Interface is also a thriller with a message: Elections don't work anymore, either. This is because of television. It takes a similar technical and stylistic approach; "ordinary" folks turn out to be really important, humour that people will recognise from Stephenson's solo novels,
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I think this was much more of a political intrigue than I ever really want to read - too close to reality, too relevant to political currents from which I would like to run away and hide, even though I know that it is impossible... I am very sadly reminded of how things that were considered relevant to a political campaign in 94, even if in fictional form, are still the same today, 21 years later, and SP even mentions were points of discussion during elections 100 years before that... What does ...more
Juan Hovez
Jan 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Not Bradlay
Started out great, with a fantastic premise and engaging characters. Went out on a bit of a whimper.

That said, I am still gorging my belly on the Neal Stephenson Kool-Aid and know the man can do no wrong. Except, apparently, when he collaborates with relatives.

San Dimas High School Football rules!
Isca Silurum
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
For me this was very hard work. Made worse by authors seeming very smug.
Jan 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
I always think authors who set their sci fi in current times and base it in real technology are, um, courageous? What's wildly bleeding-edge in 1994 sounds lame and antiquated in 2011. I guess that's the real problem with describing actual instead of "near future" technology. Luckily for my commuting sanity, the story here is ok (think mid-grade Crichton?) and knowing the awesomeness that is to come from one half of this writing duo, I can forgive nearly anything for the price of a single Audibl ...more
Miloš Petrik
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Published in 1994. Reads much more modern. Ending a touch too tidy (and optimstic) for my taste.
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I've read a number of Neal Stephenson novels. All have been deep and fascinating. All feature self-contained worlds science fiction fans can get lost in.

"Interface" is an older novel, written with a co-author a couple of years after "Snow Crash." It's science fiction set in a contemporaneous world, based on the social, political, and technological realities of its era, the mid-1990s. Some readers may scratch their heads over the novel's pre-internet technology; those of us who embraced that tech
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful political adventure novel, with a thin vein of science fiction running through it. If all political thrillers were this smart, snappy, funny, and thought-provoking, I would read a lot more of them. Or perhaps Clancy is a real knee-slapper and I just don't remember. But Interface follows an electoral campaign and along the way manages to ask some very profound, fundamental questions about the ethics of self-improvement and the nature of identity and life itself, all while bein ...more
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I like all the things about this that I liked about Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and Reamde, and, in addition, I appreciated the lack of so much "infodump." This is just straight story-line the whole way through. Perhaps that's why it could fit in barely over 600 pages, rather than 1000+. The wry humor here is a bit different from that in Reamde: nothing really seemed implausible, but now and then, I'd find myself smiling at what had just happened or what someone said.

Most of the characters were
Jonathan K
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To say this was an unexpected experience would be an understatement. Stephenson and his colleague put together a story far ahead of its time (1995) filled with extraordinary characters, concepts and plot twists. Given the current dynamic of today's presidential craziness, it raises the question: Is it possible Trump has an implant? Of course not, but the concept of being electronically controlled by groups financed by the billionaire boys club isn't far reaching. The last few chapters get the he ...more
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Furthering my conviction that Neal Stephenson is an amalgam of Tom Clancy, Dan Brown and electronics promotional literature. (Is there part of nerd-culture I'm not familiar with that's really into brand names? I could have done with about 10% of the references to the "Calyx" workstations that everyone sits in front of.)

But seriously, this is high-tech genre fiction: one-dimensional characters, perfunctory dialog and a by-the-numbers plot. I guess maybe it's good beach reading if you're into that
Otis Chandler
Sep 04, 2006 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, geek
Neal Stephenson is one of my favorite authors (snow crash, cryptonomicon), but he didn't deliver in this one. Maybe because it was co-authored. The premise was interesting, and the first half of the book was actually pretty good, but then it just skipped ahead and I didn't love the ending... ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and am surprised that it hasn't been made into a movie yet. It's a well-written, gripping combination of media manipulation, abuse of power and the fight of a small band of decent people trying to overcome the big guys. With a side order of intelligent humour. I had a hard time putting it down in the last two days. ...more
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A riveting, comical and biting read. If people in power -in reality- could get away with rigging the game in this enormous way, they probably would. This book has not dated one bit.

The only problem I have with this book is that it contains an embarrassing amount of spelling- and type errors. Where was the editor??
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Boy, has this book aged badly.

Its premise, "a group of shadowy rich men decide to run a third-party candidate to take over the US to ensure it pays its debt" is just so needlessly complex, when the reality of US history was that "a group of shadowy rich men bought themselves all of the Republican party and most of the Democratic party". It also ignores the immense power of tribalism and first-past-the-post electoral system combined with the electoral college (a "US presidential elections" book
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an exciting story, entirely plausible. It's about how to use implant technology to help stroke victims. I don't think the technology is quite there yet, but I suspect it's not that far off. Once it is here, this book talks about the essential problem of whether that technology can be used to control the person its implanted in. There are some interesting ideas here. See if you agree with them, or not. ...more
Jim Leckband
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Internet Age's Manchurian Candidate where instead of unreliable brainwashing by Communists we have brain implants directly manipulated by a Karl Rove-like puppet master. I gave an extra star from what would probably be a three star book because of the cynicism about the political process. ...more
Jan 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Hardcore Political Junkies
Neal Stephenson & J. Frederick George teamed up to write Interface in 1994, and the result is unquestionably a product of that era of American politics. Seen from the modern perspective (as is often the case with "outdated" science fiction), Interface tells us a great deal more about the era in which it was written than it does about the future.

Very early in the book, during the rising action, campaign strategist Cy Ogle (a James Carville/Karl Rove/Fu Manchu hybrid) says the following, which cap
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-2019
4.0 Stars
Even a watered down Stephenson book would still be considered a career best by other authors.

It's probably 200 pages too long and the there's arguably too many characters but the excellent writing and a really nutso climax really make up for the slower pace of the middle section.
Feb 26, 2018 marked it as did-not-start  ·  review of another edition
Did not start. This is a casualty of my loss of enjoyment for Neal Stephenson's books. My original enjoyment of his books came from a shared fetish for science and technology. The techno-utopian view of the scientist/engineer prevailing with technology against a political/bureaucratic organisation is an easy sell to young people interested in technology. I no longer hold this kind of fetish and so a Neal Stephenson book to me now is just an intellectual adventure story with a simplistic world vi ...more
Bob Jamieson
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Stephen Bury" Neal Stephenson is seriously underrated. That was a lot of fun. ...more
William Cozzano is a popular governor, who following a stroke become the perfect presidential candidate because after surgery installing two biochips in his head to help him regain use of the areas damaged by the stroke, he is, unbeknownst to him adn most people, being fed the mood of the electorate so he knows what to say, do and act. Basically he's been controlled by people working for a group who ensures their candidates win elections, but this time with new technology. There are a number of ...more
Matt Hartzell
Mar 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Most People
Shelves: sci-fi
I have mixed feelings about this one. I've never before read any Stephenson, and this book was given to me as a gift. I think the behind-the-scenes look at politics was interesting, and the sci-fi / technology bend carried it along. However, I thought that the book was very slow to start, and took a long time to get to where it was going. Things finally picked up by the very end, but then the story finished rather quickly and abruptly. As far as structure and pacing goes, I think things could be ...more
Chris Esposo
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1994, and probably written at least a few years before that, Neal Stephenson’s “Interface” shows some remarkable prescience with respect to our contemporary political era in presidential politics (circa end of 2020), which for me on that merit alone, adds an extra point in the ratings.

It’s a story that involves an unpopular incumbent president, and a presidential election, where the “come-from-behind” frontrunner is an elderly politician who just suffered from a stroke (kept secre
Jun 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Collaborative novels rarely in my experience enhance the gifts of a talented author. At the risk of being tedious, I refer to Sven Birkerts essay " 'The Fate of the Book' ", which ponders the future of discourse as we move from a literary culture to a mass-media culture. Mass-media (film, radio, etc) are never the products of a singular voice, but the products of collaboration, cooperation, and compromise. As we see more and more collaborative works of fiction, we can be sure that the act of rea ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is an older book, 1994, by Stephenson and Frederick George. It deals with politics. It is in the best interest of certain multibillionaire international figures if the President of the US is not an idiot. The current president threatens to default on the national debt, which would not be good for those who hold the debt. Therefore, when he comes up for reelection, the hidden powers come up with a scheme which will guarantee the election of their chosen candidate. After the governor of Illin ...more
Mad Russian the Traveller
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-version
Entertaining book that captures the socio-political zeitgeist of the USA for the last ten years.

For me, this book falls into the "mainstream fiction" category; a category of books that I don't often read. And with this expectation I embarked upon this novel and have been enjoying the mind candy aspect. But throughout this book I often found myself chuckling at the so very true social commentary. Great entertainment and great gallows humor as we all get to experience the decline of American civil
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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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