Lando asked:

I have not read a Stephenson book yet, should I start off with this one? :)

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Neal I don't recommend starting with Cryptonomicon. Snow Crash or The Diamond Age are natural places to start. Cryptonimcon is crazy dense and full of nerdisms and references to science that some people might not get.
Tim it was my 1st book by him and I loved it. what's with all the wussy overwhelmed readers?
Susan (Sue) Neal is probably right about starting with something else, though in reading Snow Crash (my first), Neal Stephenson became my new favorite author!! I've LOVED every book of his I've read so far!!

I'm about 350 pages into Cryptonomicon now, and already I want it to never end... :-)

If you love computers, math, technology and history -- sprinkled with plenty of laughs, Cryptonomicon is for you!!

James Bishop I would also recommend Snow Crash.
Gabriel I started with Snow Crash. I recommend SC first as it is not as long. It will give you a chance to get used to his style, which is awesome. This guy paints some really good pictures in your head. Crypto is pretty darn go so far. I'm really digging it.
Bill I'd recommend Zodiac as a good starting point -- it's a shorter, faster read than his other books, and I feel like it doesn't "wander off" onto tangents as much as his other books do. It does have a lot of key elements of his work, though -- particularly the smart, quirky, stubborn protagonist type and applied science.
John Larson I just grabbed Crypto and thought it was an awesome read. I might move onto some of his other works, but definitely recommend this book.
Jeremiah Johnson Absolutely. Though Snow Crash is also a great one to start out with.
Laura This is an old question, but maybe someone new to the thread can benefit: I see absolutely nothing wrong with having Cryptonomicon be your first Stephenson book. It was mine, and it remains my favorite (though to be fair, the only other books of his I've read or am in the process of reading are Snow Crash and Quicksilver, which is a Cryptonomicon prequel of sorts). Yes, it has much talk of advanced mathematics and cryptography, but you don't necessarily need to be able to follow all of it to enjoy the story. It probably helps to be able to latch on to some of the explanations of cryptography that are included in the text, but full comprehension isn't required (which is good because I absolutely suck at most things mathematical and mathematically adjacent).

It is a dense book and a long one, but it is fascinating and has a wonderful dry humor about it -- I don't usually laugh out loud at books, but there are several lines that made me do just that the first time I read this book. I can't tell you how many times I have revisited it; not only is it my favorite of Stephenson's novels, it's one of my favorite books in general. The only reason I haven't read more from this author is that I keep rereading Cryptonomicon!

Now I'm off to have some Captain Crunch and worry about that poor Hice fellow ;)
Thomas This was my first Stephenson book, and I absolutely loved it and intend to read his other books as well :)
Gerhard Gehrke I, too, started with Snowcrash. Enjoy each scene, enjoy his fun use of language, because that's one crazy world he's built. I'm in the home stretch/ last 200 pages of Crypto and it's sprawling, more grounded in history, is more techy as it delves into cryptoanalysis and some of its over-my-head specifics. But I love it and would rate it higher than Snowcrash if I had to pick one.
Terri Hope you have a lot of time. He doesn't write short, that's for sure.
Michael Bolduc You can't go wrong with this one, Snow Crash or The Diamond Age. Despite its length it's more accessible than either of the others.
Rito It depends on who you are.

I have been a nerd all my life with a crazy love for literature and fiction with a mathematical background.

I am also a computer-culture and history nerd.

I have huge respect for Alan Turing and enjoyed books like "Innovators" by Isaacson.

For someone like me (currently a CS Master's student), the news of this book's existence is the proverbial "god-sent".

I am loving this book.

So, this will be a good point of entry to Neal Stephenson if you have a good mathematical background, and interested in history and computers.

Do you know what's wonderful about this book? Even if you don't understand the mathematics of this book, you can just skip them, and even then this book will not lose any of its charm.
Joe Snow Crash is probably your best entry point. It's a fast read, short, action packed, and still gives you a sense for the rest Neal's work. So it's a much lower commitment and probably has more mass appeal, even if you might not like the rest of his work.
Jeremy Landau I do not recommend starting off with this one...
Chas No! Start with Neuromancer which is by a completely different author (William Gibson) then read Snow Crash. Or better yet, read I Robot by Isaac Asimov first, then the other two. After all that read Demian and Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse, then read The Diamond Age to truly conclude Snow Crash, but without all the others first you will be shooting yourself in the face with a loogie gun.
Jacqueline Elle That's where I started, followed by Zodiac and then Snowcrash. NO !!!!! LOLZ. Try Snow Crash first. I did and progressed on to his other books. Cryptonomicon is a great book, but as with most of his books it's full of plots, and characters you have to really pay attention to so you understand what's going on.
Benrix Snow Crash or Diamond Age are good Stephenson books to start with.
Daniel Zeak *Cowboys butts make me nuts*. Is the book for you
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