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The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
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Group Reads Discussions 2012 > "The Diamond Age" First Impressions *No Spoilers*

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message 1: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim What are your first impressions? I had avoided Neal Stephenson's work for a long time as I had heard it was rather dense but last year I was given a copy of Snow Crash and loved it. I didn't dive in to his other works though so I'm really looking forward to finally picking up some more of his work.


message 2: by J. (new) - added it

J. (astroMD) | 3 comments Just started this last weekend and I'm enjoying it despite not having a great deal of time devoted to reading this week. This is my first reading of Stephenson so I was unsure what to expect. The first chapter was quite enjoyable but the second was hard to get through. It may just have been the lateness of the hour when I started the second chapter, but not much of it stuck so I'll have to go back and try it again.


Michelle (fireweaver) | 331 comments Kim, i think that 'snow crash' and Zodiac are his most accessible/least dense work. this one is a bit denser, and you have to be in a thinky mood now and then to get into it, but it's a lot of fun.


Kevin Xu (kxu65) Michelle wrote: "Kim, i think that 'snow crash' and Zodiac are his most accessible/least dense work. this one is a bit denser, and you have to be in a thinky mood now and then to get into it, but it's a lot of fun."

I would agree. I found the book to be kind of harder to read than Snow Crash and Zodiac or even his first novel, The Big U.


message 5: by Liz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz | 179 comments One of my favorites. This may be the first Stephenson that I read. Either this or Snow Crash. It was also the first book I purchased when I got a Kindle. I am still amused by my ebook about an ebook. :) Although, we'd have to get an interactive edition to be true.


message 6: by J (new) - added it

J L's Bibliomania (JLsBibliomania) | 49 comments Was the opening sequence with Bud upgrading his hardware ever featured as a short story? I feel like I've seen that opening sequence before. I know that I've tried to read The Diamond Age at least once, and not gotten very far, but I can't tell if the familiarity of the beginning is a false memory from having seen it in an anthology or from the last time I tried to read The Diamond Age.

50 pages in the quick, choppy, almost stream of consciousness changes between POV characters and storylines just isn't grabbing me.


message 7: by David (last edited Dec 04, 2012 11:41AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

David Haws | 400 comments I’ve only read Cryptonomicon, and this is much tighter. One of the characters comments on the odd viability of a Confucian social system without an emperor; but I would think there must be an emperor behind Victoria Source—gathering his/her oligarchy to the new high ground (having previously polluted everything above sea level) and menacing his own oligarchy with a surrounding underclass in the Leased Territories.

I also thought the opening scene (Bud and his skull gun) felt gratuitous—less relevant, and more like Stephenson’s attempt to front-load the story with Sci-Fi shibboleths (like we need a declaration of genre).


message 8: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam | 16 comments It does start a bit choppy at first but once it takes off it really is a great flight. One of the best heroines ever IMHO.


Thomas Cardin | 12 comments Diamond Age is one of my favorite books of all time. Stephenson kays out a wonderful extrapolation of technology and culture, while filling the story full of 'ooh, shiny! I want!' things to drool over.

I felt so much compassion for the heroine, she made it a very hard book to put down. I was sad to finish, wishing it could all just go on and take me with it.


message 10: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim I'm really enjoying it so far.


Porter (porteiro) My understanding is that what happens to Bud (very much a cypberpunk character, including his skullgun) is supposed to show us that this culture and this book are post-cyberpunk.


Rowena (Tirilien) | 13 comments Porter, that was my understanding as well.

The Diamond Age is my favourite Stephenson book as well. His Baroque Cycle is incredibly dense. Cryptonomicon and Anathema are very math heavy, but I enjoyed them more than the Baroque series.

I am enjoying the opportunity to re-read Diamond Age it's been many years since I last read it. I see this as a book that straddles cyberpunk and steampunk... what do you guys think?


Warmdarksky | 7 comments I'm only sixty-ish pages in, and already excited about how enjoyable this book is. Having read some of Cryptonomicon earlier this year, and giving up on it in frustration, I'm glad to be able to give a second chance to such a clever author.


Michelle (fireweaver) | 331 comments Rowena, i've heard that same idea that 'diamond age' is part steampunk come up several times before, and it just doesn't fit that mold in my head. steampunk, to me, means that the world is filled with technology based on clockwork and steam-power, and 'diamond age' is decidedly past that what with the nano-bots and ractives and all.

the vickies are running around in frock coats and corsets, but that's a conscious costuming/philosophical affectation, not an "alternate past history" thing.


message 15: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara | 1 comments Just started reading this book last week. Was excited when I found this group and saw that you were reading it too! I really like the book so far!


message 16: by Bev (new)

Bev (Greenginger) Not sure if i will be joining you due to cost of a kindle copy here in the UK and getting hold of a physical copy will be hard over xmas period.


Rowena (Tirilien) | 13 comments Hmm Michelle,

I guess my idea around that is about the feel of the book...

I do hear what you are saying about Steampunk being alternate history though. It is a genre that is still new to me.

I appreciate your thoughts.


message 18: by Philip (new)

Philip Athans (PhilAthans) | 21 comments I read this in 1997 while in the process of moving from Chicago to Seattle. When we moved into our new apartment we only had a couple ceiling light fixtures, no TV, no furniture. I remember sitting under that single light on the floor of the living room devouring this book while my wife and daughter slept on the floor of the bedroom. It's a terrific read!


Penny (Penne) | 750 comments This is my first Neal Stephenson and although I didn't like it much at the beginning I've since come to really enjoy it. I'm reading it fairly slowly which is probably more a function of the time of year than it is the book itself. It isn't a can't-put-it-down book but I am finding it very interesting and engaging. I'm really glad the group chose this one.


Kevin Xu (kxu65) Penny wrote: "This is my first Neal Stephenson and although I didn't like it much at the beginning I've since come to really enjoy it. I'm reading it fairly slowly which is probably more a function of the time o..."

I did not like the book, but I would recommend Snow Crash, Zodiac, or The Big U, which I found it to be more enjoyable and a quicker read.


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