Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Reamde by Neal Stephenson

This is a guest post
by Eva van Emden
Fans who found the Baroque Cycle and Anathem heavy going will be happy to hear that with Reamde, Neal Stephenson returns to the action-packed techno-thriller style of Cryptonomicon and Zodiac.

The biggest problem that Richard Forthrast, mega-rich owner of the only multiplayer game T'Rain, has to deal with is coddling the egos of his content writers. But the game is turned upside down when a virus called Reamde starts to encrypt the files of thousands of T'Rain users, demanding a ransom paid within the game; a full-scale war breaks out as bandits flock to rob the victims of their game gold. When a T'Rain player accidentally encrypts some files belonging to the Russian mafia, the consequences spread across the ocean to China and involve MI5, the CIA, a group of Islamic terrorists, and Richard Forthrast's own family.

Stephenson plays it pretty straight in this book: a minimum of quirky coinages (just the Apostropocalypse and the Furious Muses) and none of his trademark humorous mega-lists. As always with Stephenson's books, I love the writing, the well-thought-out details, and his skill in rendering the special point of view of the geek mind. The plot takes an odd turn, changing bad guys in the middle, and to make it work it's necessary to explain one character's actions as being a result of mental disturbance and then introduce the second set of bad guys with a major coincidence. The result was that a small part of my mind was waiting for another element to be revealed, but it didn't happen. Stephenson gets away with it because the story of his central characters stays strong.

I recommend this for anyone who likes Neal Stephenson or anyone who's looking for an action-packed, smart, impeccably written techno-thriller.

Copy source: unknown
Genre: science fiction
Format: unknown

Eva van Emden is a freelance editor in Vancouver, BC. She edits a variety of fiction and non-fiction, specializing in science fiction and technical editing. She blogs about books and editing at Eva has always been a fan of science fiction, and some of her favourite authors are Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Neil Gaiman, and Lois McMaster Bujold. Check her reading list to see what she's been reading lately.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this one a lot even though as usual his endings leave something to be desired. He's still one of my very favorite authors, my particular favorites are Snow Crash, The Diamond Age & The Baroque Cycle.