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Interface

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  4,655 Ratings  ·  259 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
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Paperback, 640 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Spectra (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Pamela
To all those who knocked stars off of their ratings because the technology in this book is too out-of-date: Congratulations! You've managed to focus on something that really doesn't have a bearing on the story at all! This is called Missing the Point, and you win!

To all those who bemoan the lack of Stephenson's rather trademark convoluted and crammed-with-science-y-stuff style: Sorry! This is not one of those books! The last time I checked, it is neither illegal nor immoral for an author to writ
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Robert
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,
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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!
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
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Brittany
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
Susan
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
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Choko
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
Ytje
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??
A.J.
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.
Paul
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
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Karin
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
Max Nemtsov
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Приятно все же сознавать, насколько мы продвинулись за последние четверть века — вполне на собственной памяти, — читая такие книжки. В нем все «прото-» — прото-нёрды, прото-нанотехнологии, прото-политтехнологии. Читается прям как антропологический экскурс в прошлое. Но потом догоняет и накрывает Пинчон-паранойей, и на текст подсаживаешься, хотя (а может, и потому, что) роман скроен по лекалам и рецептам коммерческого чтива: главы умоподъемной длины, сцены чередуются в своем алгоритме, фигуры умо ...more
Taueret
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
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
Alan
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
Mark
Aug 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
If'n you like Neal Stephenson you'll probably like this book. It seems a little lighter on the technology than his usual books (there aren't so many passages describing the inner workings of some obscure technical concept): the book is basically a political thriller.

The basic premise is that William Cozzano, the wildly popular and down to earth governor of Illinois, suffers a stroke and loses some motor and verbal ability. Meanwhile, the President of the USA decides to quit paying any interest
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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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Otis Chandler
Sep 04, 2006 rated it it was ok
Shelves: geek, fiction
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...
Greg Swan
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you love Stephenson and politics, you'll enjoy this novel. Maybe those conspiracy theorist, tin-foil hat kooks were right all along. I saw a few of the plot lines coming, which is rare in a NS book, but was still a great read. Especially loved the pre-neuromarketing-era quantified self tracker technology used for always-on focus grouping.
Margaret Oliver
Nov 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Enjoyed reading this story, found the adventures of Mary Catherine and Eleanor Richmond fascinating. Ogle's fate made me laugh. Quite an engaging cast of memorable characters.
Lady
Dec 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashley
Why can't Neal Stephenson be our President? This is another brilliant novel in which Stephenson and George explore the intersections between politics, financial elites, and medicine. A secret network of the wealthiest and most powerful individuals conspires to correct an economic crisis brought on by an American President by creating a computerized medical device that can correct for mental and physical damage following a stroke. When an Illinois governor planning to run for President has a stro ...more
Ralph
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
3.5 out of 5 -- Early (1994) Stephenson with the usual memorable characters and a great premise.

Dr. Radhakrishnan is a brilliant neurosurgeon who is conducting cutting-edge research that could lead to treatments for those whose brain has been damaged.

Meanwhile, a medical emergency threatens to curtail Illinois Governor William A. Cozzano's plans to run for President of the United States. But we have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, more appealing to the mass
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Tracy Strombotne
Sep 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the story - it felt topical, not dated. It is a little slow to start, and much of the character development is a little drawn out and leaves you wondering how this will all tie together, but it is interesting and absorbing, as well as thoughtful. There are some stretches that make you think - this would never really work in the real world, but despite that, there is significant content to make you think.
Rob
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
For Neal Stephenson completionists only. Awkwardly written, unbelievable, predictable. No Stephenson flair.
Belarius
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
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Danny Leybzon
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
At the beginning of this book I was worried that, like with "Reamde", Neal Stephenson would be stepping too far away from his strong suit and had tried to write a book entirely about American politics. I wasn't interested in a book about the American political system at the turn of the millennia, I wanted a science fiction book in which Neal Stephenson took me just beyond the scope of reality and into the plausible-but-fictional. But I kept reading and it turned out that "Interface" is exactly w ...more
Geo
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
The summary on the back page says "A modern day Manchurian Candidate". I do think there are elements that are similar. I'm also *usually* not a fan of books that are written by more than one author. That approach, while interesting, sometimes leaves me feeling like I'm just been through some kind of discordant processed experience. It either falls more "flat" than normal with both authors attempting to normalize their style to what they think the other is/does, or the two are so disparate in sty ...more
tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
I read Stephenson's "Quicksilver" w/in the last yr & was very impressed. His fictionialized acct incorporating real historical characters (many of them likely to be known only to scholars) was thoroughly worked out. It was over 900pp long & took me at least a mnth to read. Now I've just read his collaborative political/medical thriller cowritten w/ J. Frederick George & I'm less impressed. While "Quicksilver" might've been somewhat comparable to something by John Barth &/or Rober ...more
Andrea
Aug 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Andrea by: Adam
I have been a fan of his ever since I read “Snow Crash” years ago. He has a great talent for taking existing technology and science and taking it just a little further; almost Sci Fi but it doesn’t take a lot of convincing to make you believe this could actually happen. In that way he’s a lot like Michael Crichton. I remember reading Jurassic Park and thinking this could happen...

But I digress. The book’s main focus is following an independent presidential candidate (William Cozzano) during an
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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.
More about Neal Stephenson...

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“right now my mind is full of images, an overwhelming flood of memories and ideas—you have any idea how many memories are buried in the mind? Fishing for bluegill on Lake Argyle with my father, the hook caught in his thumb, forcing it through the other side and cutting it off with wirecutters, the severed barb flying dangerously into the air spinning its cut facet gleaming in the sun and I jerking back for fear it would plunge into my eye, squinting protectively, opening my eyes again it is mud, all mud, a universe of mud and the mortar shell has just taken flight, my fingers jammed into my ears, the smell of the explosion penetrating my sinuses making them clench up and bleed, the shell exploding in the trees, a puff of white smoke but the trees are still there and the gunfire still raining down like hailstones on the cellar door on the day that the tornado wrecked our farmhouse and we packed into my aunt’s fruit cellar and I looked up at the stacked mason jars of rhubarb and tomatoes and wondered what would happen to us when the glass shattered and flew through the air like the horizontal sleet of Soldier Field on the day that I caught five for eighty-seven yards and put such a hit on Cornelius Hayes that he took five minutes to get up. God, I can see my entire life!” 1 likes
“What do you mean by values?” “They were code words like honesty, hard work, self-reliance . . . myths, actually, to motivate the people to accept the natural inequities found in a market system.” 0 likes
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