CRYPTONOMICON by Neal Stephenson

I have just this morning finished this book.  It says somewhere in its advertising blurb that Stephenson’s writing makes all other fiction seem pale by comparison – and for once it is right.  Accordingly I hate Neal Stephenson with a deep and abiding hatred – if he writes books like this (and Anathem is just as good), then what point is there in anybody else bothering to write anything?
From this you may gather that I think Cryptonomicon is one of the best books I have read, and it would most certainly have appeared in my More About Books post had I read it before making that post.  It has a dense plot, weaving together the horrors of WW2 with plans to set up a data haven in the present time (well, late 1990’s actually).  It is chock full of wonderfully described characters.  It is bursting with a dry humour that made me laugh out loud on several occasions.  How can somebody describe horrific wartime slaughter and make you laugh at the same time?  Don’t ask me – read the book.  It is so good at drawing together real people and real places with imaginary characters and imaginary sub-plots that it is sometimes hard to know where reality ends and fiction takes over.
Stephenson has done a pretty good job of future-proofing the technology described and used by the main nerdy characters, but in one or two places (eg talking about Windows NT, and the lack of mobile phone technology) it seems very slightly dated, and presumably that gulf will grow as time goes on.  But that is the only tiny negative comment I can think of making about Cryptonomicon.
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