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Interface Paperback – May 31, 2005
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From the Inside Flap
There's no way William A. Cozzano can lose the upcoming presidential election. He's a likable midwestern governor with one insidious advantage--an advantage provided by a shadowy group of backers. A biochip implanted in his head hardwires him to a computerized polling system. The mood of the electorate is channeled directly into his brain. Forget issues. Forget policy. Cozzano is more than the perfect candidate. He's a special effect.
"Complex, entertaining, frequently funny.""--Publishers Weekly
"Qualifies as the sleeper of the year, the rare kind of science-fiction thriller that evokes genuine laughter while simultaneously keeping the level of suspense cranked to the max.""-- San Diego Union-Tribune
"A "Manchurian Candidate for the computer age." "--Seattle Weekly
More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've enjoyed Neal Stephenson's more well-known books. I bought this based on that and a very enthusiastic recommendation by Boingboing's Cory Doctorow. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Z. Li
Well-written book, worthy of Stephenson. Ending is a tad on the Hokey side, but the premise is very enjoyable.Published 4 months ago by I. Alvarez
Fun, fairly well written and full of fun thoughts and wordings. A great summer read!Published 9 months ago by John C
I had some hesitation about whether to give this novel four stars or five. It's a matter of perspective. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Dougsofunny
Its nice a new angle in discussing what people will fantasize doing to get what they want in politics.Published 14 months ago by Asha Shahed
Writing as a team must be a challenge. But when it works it can be superb. Stephenson and George have created a highly entertaining read that could have been written yesterday. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Barry Melius
The best writer in the last 25 years. Very intelligent and creative.Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer