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Reamde Paperback – Deckle Edge, September 20, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1044 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr; First Edition edition (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780061977961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061977961
  • ASIN: 0061977969
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (715 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2011: Neal Stephenson is quite rightly known as a writer of ideas, but don't put it past him to pen a straightforward thriller. True, the plot of said thriller hinges on a massively multiplayer online game that's a step beyond what's actually available on the Internet circa 2011, but that's as far as the sci-fi goes. Enter "REAMDE," an online virus that brings together a super-rich CEO, a Chinese hacker, a rogue Russian mafioso, an assimilated East African beauty, an itinerant Hungarian software programmer, two insanely prolific fantasy writers, and guns, guns, guns. (The book features so much firepower that Stephenson enlisted what he calls a "ballistics copy editor.") It takes a veritable master of pacing to make a thousand pages feel like barely a third of that, but Stephenson is that master; his breakneck narrative starts fast and never, ever lets up. As such, Reamde is as likely to turn off fans of his more cerebral fiction as it is to gain him scads of new devotees. Regardless, it marks an inimitable highlight of this year's thriller roster. --Jason Kirk

Review

“Stephenson’s REAMDE: perfectly executed, mammoth, ambitious technothriller...a triumph, all 980 pages of it.” (Cory Doctorow, boingboing.com)

“Noir futurist Stephenson returns to cyberia with this fast-moving though sprawling techno-thriller...Who’ll prevail? We don’t know till the very end, thanks to Stephenson’s knife-sharp skills as a storyteller. An intriguing yarn—most geeky, and full of statisfying mayhem.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on REAMDE)

“Stephenson...delivers a sprawling thriller that shows him in complete control of his story.” (Publishers Weekly on REAMDE)

“In less masterful hands, this pile-up of implausible coincidences, madcap romance, technological mayhem and nail-biting suspense might have been a train wreck, but Stephenson pulls it off. REAMDE has one of the most satisfyingly over-the-top endings of anything I’ve read in years. ” (Washington Post Book World)

“Nobody else writes like Stephenson” (Press Association (England) on REAMDE)

“Neal Stephenson has guts, a killer story, and—for the first time since Cryptonomicon—a thriller I can thoroughly recommend to any reader....With REAMDE we have a very smart page-turner—a global chess game expertly played.” (Mental_Floss on REAMDE)

“REAMDE is...one big, carefully choreographed, jet-set square-dance of mayhem.” (Bloomberg News)

“Sometimes when you’re reading Neal Stephenson, he doesn’t just seem like one of the best novelists writing in English right now; he seems like the < only one.” (Lev Grossman, Time magazine)

“There’s an intellectual pill buried deep in Mr. Stephenson’s narrative candy, one powerful enough that he deserves to be classified as a major national and international resource.” (Wall Street Journal on REAMDE)

“[Stephenson] makes reading so much fun it feels like a deadly sin.” (International Herald Tribune on REAMDE)

Reamde is an entertainment, an enormous, giddily complex one. There’s no telling what Stephenson might be planning for his next novel, but now’s the time to dive into a first-rate intellectual thriller without fear of being overwhelmed by its virtuosity.” (San Francisco Chronicle on REAMDE)

“Expertly crafted and often gorgeously written.” (Boston Globe on REAMDE)

“Even at a thousand pages, Reamde is sprightly enough to jump between 9 or 10 plot threads without getting tangled up in itself.…[A]n addicitve reading experience. You don’t so much read the book as tear whole hundred-page chunk out of it with your eyes.” (Stranger magazine on REAMDE)

“It’s hard to sum up a 1,000 page tome in a short review, so if you don’t feel like reading this rather long one, I’ll boil it down to three words: I loved it.” (Tor.com on REAMDE)

“After a decade of novels set in 18th century Europe and in alternate universes, Neal Stephenson triumphantly returns as a bestselling author to contemporary America.” (www.fantasyliterature.com)

“Stephenson, best-known for his genre-hopping novels, tackles tech-terrorism in Reamde.” (OakPark.Patch.com)

“A story that, despite its gargantuan heft, speeds along like a bullet train....The depth of the story, the attention to detail, the interlocking narratives and fine characterizations mark REAMDE as an immersive literary experience.” (Pittsburgh Tribune on REAMDE)

“REAMDE combines meticulous observation of the stranger socioeconomic effects wrought by technology with rousing fusillades of adventure.” (The Guardian on REAMDE)

“Stephenson somehow makes his crazy setup entirely plausible and tons of fun.” (Knoxville News-Sentinel on REAMDE)

“[REAMDE] is, without a doubt, one of the smartest, fastest-moving, and most consistently enjoyable novels of the year, a book with the rare distinction of being one this reviewer wishes he had written.” (Irish Examiner on REAMDE)

“[A] rip-roaring race through computer hacking and guns, China and North America, virtual reality and terrorism. ” (Sunday Times (London) on REAMDE)

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.

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Customer Reviews

I have read all of Mr. Stephenson's novels, because I find him to be one of the best writers currently working.
Zachary Ward
While the story is almost over-the-top at times, Stephenson develops great characters who's motivations and actions feel very real.
Steve King
While some of the characters were interesting, there was always just too much other stuff going on to ever get to know any of them.
PJ

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

294 of 322 people found the following review helpful By Barney on September 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
The good news: *REAMDE* is a great page-turner, a bit of a throwback to Stephenson's early, pseudonymous techno-thriller *Interface*. I stayed up all night charging through the first half, and seriously considered skipping work so I could finish it. Having finished it, I have to say that it reads like a streak, which isn't something you can say about any of Stephenson's other novels. However, it's in his digressions and excesses that Stephenson is great, which brings us to...

The bad news: although it wouldn't be accurate to call this a "beach read", it's true that it isn't anywhere near as ambitious as Stephenson's earlier work, and there are no outrageous, indelible set-pieces like the Cap n' Crunch chapter of *Cryptonomicon* or the Newton-Leibniz smack down from *The Baroque Cycle*. And with the exception of the hilarious medievalist Don Squared, the characters aren't very memorable. In particular Zula, the heroine, is a bit bland and unconvincing.

The bottom line: if you're a Stephenson fan, you'll probably be a little disappointed, but if you're new to his writing, this is a perfect introduction to his style and outlook.
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168 of 185 people found the following review helpful By Will. L on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just finished this beast of a novel. It's strange to give one of the best thrillers ever written a four-star review, but there it is...because this is, it needs to be said, not a towering accomplishment along the lines of a Baroque Trilogy or a Cryptonomicon or even a Diamond Age.

One could be forgiven for, like me, being a little disappointed about that. Neal Stephenson is an author capable of towering accomplishments. For an author as preoccupied as he is with grand, sweeping ideas of cosmological scale and intricacy, it's jarring to pick up his latest novel and find yourself reading a thriller that's not about ideas as much as it is about fun.

But oh, what a thriller. It's a thousand pages with the dynamic energy of a bullet train or a wild mustang, screaming along with an almost unbearable intensity and narrative zest. I found myself nipping a hundred pages at a time, like trying to gag down a glass of Bacardi 151, because it moves with explosive speed and a madcap intensity that never really lets up. It's not a traditional Stephenson novel, but only a writer of his caliber could have crafted a thriller this long, complex, and energetic. And you get the sense that he just had a ridiculous amount of fun writing it.

It's worth every moment of the read, and it's terrific fun watching the thriller genre get worked over by a writer of a caliber rarely seen in the straight-to-paperback set. But it's still not really as good as some of his earlier stuff...so it's a four, reluctantly. Doesn't mean it's still not one of the best books I'll read this year.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By D. Jones on September 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Snow Crash" and "The Diamond Age" were two of my favorite books of all time, and "Cryptonomicon" was worth the time it took to plow through it.

For about the first half of "Reamde" I felt like I was reading "Cryptonomicon" all over again. There is a familiar balance of international characters, intrigue, wit and technological digressions that make it a pleasure to read for any fan of Stephenson's previous novels.

The story starts going downhill when it turns into a terrorist hunt. The al-Qaeda characters are wooden, undeveloped, and evil for unexplained reasons. There was plenty of space to get inside their heads and Stephenson didn't even try. Strike one.

Strike two is the verbose gunfight that takes up the last quarter or so of the book. It's far too detailed and very difficult to follow. I found myself losing track of where characters were and what they were doing, and couldn't even maintain a consistent mental image of the scene without getting thrown off by random inconsistent environmental details that Stephenson kept throwing in.

Strike three is the Hollywood-esque setup of the ending. Stephenson used to always leave important issues unresolved at the end of his stories, which made for good food for thought. This story ties up cleanly in the end but Stephenson had to seriously finesse reality in order to get it there.

I got the overall impression that Stephenson wrote half of the book in his old mode, where he simply had fun coming up with characters and situations to get them into; then he spend the second half of the book trying to squeeze out a coherent ending that would get all the characters to where they needed to be, but losing a lot of the inherent quality of his style in the process.
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242 of 281 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an avid Stephenson fan, I feel let down after finishing Reamde. It is not as if it is a bad novel. In fact I would rate it as one of the better thrillers I have read in the last couple of years. If you like tales of very strong men and somewhat strong women in which lots of guns go off, then you will like Reamde. In its ambition and the quality of its execution it easily matches up to the works of the masters of this genre such as Clancy or Forsyth.

Yet, the book lacks the special Stephenson touch. First, there is no overarching theme tying the novel together. Cryptonomicon was about the elusive nature of information and wealth, the Baroque Cycle was about the rise of science and capitalism in the West. Having these deeper questions in the background made the surface action in the novels more meaningful. This time it is just a bunch of Good Guys chasing a bunch of Bad Guys.

Second, the characters in Reamde lack both depth and idiosyncrasy. Despite the length of the novel, there is so much going on that we do not get to know the nuances of the characters' personalities. I don't think I am the only Stephenson fan missing the Cap'n Crunch episodes. Though they start off with nominally different backgrounds and interests, as the novel progresses the good guys/girls all converge into a uniform mould of toughness, self-reliance and an aptitude for violence. The bad guys, apart form the chief villain, seem to exist just to be killed. These cookie-cutter "jihadists" seem to have been dropped in from some B-grade action movie script, for Stephenson does not seem to have any wish to examine either the ideology of religious fundamentalists or their social backgrounds.
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