“REAMDE” by Neal Stephenson


(At 1,044 pages, this book looks daunting. I’ve enjoyed other Neal Stephenson books, especially Cryptonomicon, so I didn’t let the size of the book deter me when I was buying it. But I find reading a long book with complex intertwined plots needs continuity – no point in picking it up and trying to resume after leaving it unopened for weeks! Even though I bought this book over a year ago, I only finally had time to read it in the last couple of weeks. Aside, in this day-and-age-of-laptops-and-kindles, I was amused by the odd sidelook I got whenever I settled into a nearby coffee shop and produced this weighty hardback ink-on-paper tomb!)

Wikipedia has a great summary here, but obviously be warned that it has lots of plot spoilers. Without giving too much plot away, I liked the book. From my perspective, I really enjoyed how Neal can interweave different stories. While there were many different interwoven stories here, the ones that are top of mind for me were:

  • the hacker-and-former-girlfriend-get-kidnapped story
  • the spy-tracking-jihadists story
  • the massive on-line game business story

All very different stories, yet the detailed coverage of each make me think Neal has a great understanding of hackers, encryption, different-business-market-economies-of-massive-on-line-games, Soviet-veterans-of-the-confict-in-Afganistan, internet-cafes-in-developing-worlds… the list goes on and on. I even found the way computer issues were covered to be accurately describes (typically a pet peeve for me!). In the midst of all the other drama, I was greatly amused by the image of a super-important invulnerable character (Egdod) walking in unattended mode back to home base, while various other T’Rain players were attacking him / defending him / rubber-necking the impossible sight of Egdod moving through their world. And somehow, someday, I need to find a way to use the throwaway joke about “Your org chart?”, “No, orc chart”.

The book was a great read, and I’d recommend it.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. PlanetFeeds (@PlanetFeeds)
    14 Mar 2015 @ 00:58:16

    John O’Duinn: “REAMDE” by Neal Stephenson: (At 1,044 pages, this book looks daunting. I’ve enjoyed other Neal … http://t.co/6mXQo1uyP7


  2. David Somerset
    14 Mar 2015 @ 16:56:43

    I’m not so sure about long books. I have never read a long book that was better than a short book. For me, the most important quality in art is restraint. I find long books lacking in this respect. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry had it exactly right when he said, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”


  3. mayank
    15 Mar 2015 @ 10:39:22

    I read it, and i HATED it. The plot made no sense to me, and it was overly long.
    I had previously read Snowcrash, which i absolutely loved. That made me pick up reamde. But it was a terrible choice.
    Now i am undecided whether to go read the Cryptonomicon series or not.


  4. Simon
    23 Mar 2015 @ 09:06:50

    I read most of his books. My top three would be:

    1. SnowCrash
    2. Cryptonomicon
    3. Diamond Age


  5. Onno
    15 Jun 2015 @ 11:36:49

    The guy can’t even spell README!
    I’ll give it a try though…


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