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Interface Paperback – May 31, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"A Manchurian Candidate for the computer age" Seattle Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Neal Stephenson is the author of The System Of The World, The Confusion, Quicksilver, Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and other books and articles.

J. Frederick George is a historian and writer living in Paris.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 618 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Reissue edition (May 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553383434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553383430
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Neal Town Stephenson (born October 31, 1959) is an American writer, known for his speculative fiction works, which have been variously categorized science fiction, historical fiction, maximalism, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk. Stephenson explores areas such as mathematics, cryptography, philosophy, currency, and the history of science. He also writes non-fiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired Magazine, and has worked part-time as an advisor for Blue Origin, a company (funded by Jeff Bezos) developing a manned sub-orbital launch system.
Born in Fort Meade, Maryland (home of the NSA and the National Cryptologic Museum) Stephenson came from a family comprising engineers and hard scientists he dubs "propeller heads". His father is a professor of electrical engineering whose father was a physics professor; his mother worked in a biochemistry laboratory, while her father was a biochemistry professor. Stephenson's family moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in 1960 and then to Ames, Iowa in 1966 where he graduated from Ames High School in 1977. Stephenson furthered his studies at Boston University. He first specialized in physics, then switched to geography after he found that it would allow him to spend more time on the university mainframe. He graduated in 1981 with a B.A. in Geography and a minor in physics. Since 1984, Stephenson has lived mostly in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Seattle with his family.
Neal Stephenson is the author of the three-volume historical epic "The Baroque Cycle" (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) and the novels Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Tung Yin VINE VOICE on December 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
The central question for anyone contemplating purchasing this novel is: is it Neal Stephenson, or is it the co-author who's the intellectual engine?
It reads like Stephenson -- curiously, more like "Zodiac" and "Cryptonomicon" than like the middle works, "Snow Crash" and "The Diamond Age." "Snow Crash" is a dazzling portrait of the William Gibson's cyberspace taken to a higher level: the Metaverse. It's fascinating, but true science FICTION. The same is true of "The Diamond Age," which, while Stephenson's most intellectually thought-provoking work, is the least accessible.
"Zodiac" and "Cryptonomicon," and "Interface," on the other hand, are SCIENCE fiction. "Zodiac" is chock full of information about environmentalism and industrial pollution; "Cryptonomicon" is a cornucopia of mathematics and cryptology. The science in those novels is basically present day, without the need for more than minimal extrapolation. The same is true of "Interface."
Other Stephenson touches: a fine eye toward non-tedious detail. One thing I found amazing about "Cryptonomicon" was that Stephenson could describe eating cereal in four pages without making it boring, something that neither Herman Melville nor Charles Dickens would have been able to accomplish (for me). "Interface" has that same quality of nerdy fascination in the seemingly trivial.
In summary: if you liked "Cryptonomicon" and/or "Zodiac," you'll probably like "Interface" as well.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you're like me, you've already read Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, Diamond Age, Zodiac, his on-line short stories, and are now sketchin' to get your hands on anything else by him.
Well, "Interface" is good, but not as great, in my opinion, as the works penned under the author's real name. The ideas are just as killer as in his other books, but this story lacks the overall punchy Gen-X narrative that I consider to be Stephenson's greatest asset, apart from his way cool ideas. To be fair, this is really an unfair comparison since the whole purpose of Stephenson writing under the "Bury" pen name was probably to allow him to go after the mainstream (more conservative?) market without disappointing his traditional fans (but someone let the cat out of the bag) and without prejudicing the non-science fiction reader, hence "Interface" is categorized under general fiction, rather than sci-fi.
So if you don't mind a slightly watered-down read, do check this book out. As I mentioned, the ideas are still Grade-A Stephenson.
As for me, I think I'll draw the line at "Cobweb"--I heard it was a collaboration effort and that sounds too diluted for me.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Silberstein on June 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is not Stephenson at his best (Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon). The book has a slow buildup to the premise described on the back cover, and then rips through most of the good stuff in the last 150 pages. The story takes place in the 1996 election (I'm assuming, as the book was written in 1994). Besides the wiplash ending, there are some other major problems with the book.

The characters are very two dimensional, adhearing to besic archetypes. There is no real protaganist. None of the charcters are developed enough for the reader to even care about them.

The plot is implausible, not from a technological standpoint, but from a political one. It takes a leap of suspension of disbelief to think that Cozzano (the hero?) makes it as far as he does.

The story skips major events in the srory, such as Election Day!

Don't get me wrong, this is an entertaining story, but nowhere near as deep as the Stephenson we know and love.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Kim U on December 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book really made me take a step back and look at our upcoming Presidential elections in a whole new light. Sure, it's sci-fi and not real, but it's pretty scary to imagine that our political system could degenerate even further into something like this. Personally, I tried to avoid comparing this to other works of Stephenson's. I'm impressed that he's able to extend his range beyond high tech speculation to lower tech political thrillers like this book and Zodiac. These books won't appeal to readers with a narrow focus on sci fi like Snow Crash or Diamond Age. However, for readers who don't mind less technical sci fi or even those who just like political thrillers, pick up a copy of this book. There are some slow parts in the plot and it is very detail oriented, but overall this is a book I would recommend to my friends, even those who are not sci fi aficionados. Think of this book in the upcoming Presidential election race!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Christy Smith on September 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you've seen the size of some of his works, the System of the World trilogy spans almost 3000 pages, then you know what I mean. Six-hundred pages seem like a quick read by comparison, and it does go by quickly.

The incumbent president's platform for re-election is the negation of the national debt. A large conglomerate decides to use it's money to get someone into office that will not renege on the American Debts. This entity sees a perfect opportunity when William A. Cozzano has a stroke and thus opens up the possibility of a new procedure. Doctors implant a chip in his brain to replace lost nerve connections. However, who is now making his decisions?

Part thriller, part political satire, this will keep you hooked wondering how it will all work out.

Oh, yeah; if you want a cheaper copy, just input "Interface" at the search for books menu and it should bring up an earlier edition printed in 1999. It is the same book under the pseudonym Steven Bury and can be had for about two dollars plus shipping.
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