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Reamde: A Novel Paperback – May 15, 2012
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“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)
From the Back Cover
From the extraordinary Neal Stephenson comes an epic adventure that spans entire worlds, both real and virtual.
The black sheep of an Iowa farming clan, former draft dodger and successful marijuana smuggler Richard Forthrast amassed a small fortune over the years—and then increased it a thousandfold when he created T'Rain. A massive, multibillion-dollar, multiplayer online role-playing game, T'Rain now has millions of obsessed fans from the U.S. to China. But a small group of ingenious Asian hackers has just unleashed Reamde—a virus that encrypts all of a player's electronic files and holds them for ransom—which has unwittingly triggered a war that's creating chaos not only in the virtual universe but in the real one as well. Its repercussions will be felt all around the globe—setting in motion a devastating series of events involving Russian mobsters, computer geeks, secret agents, and Islamic terrorists—with Forthrast standing at ground zero and his loved ones caught in the crossfire.
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Sure, go and read a sample of the "top" reviewers, two or three will do and then say you don't agree with the fact that all that negative prattle sounds a bit "off", almost like they had to push hard to create lines such as "Not up to his old standard" or "A pale ghost of the old Stephenson" in order to submerge it in praise while criticizing a lack of this or that. But what can you do when trying to find fault with a true master except dare make ridiculous comments of the likes as "characters lack both depth and idiosyncrasy" which lose all meaning after a thousand pages of pure unadulterated action.
I will concede it seems aimed at a younger public and also primed to be turned into an action movie, which I fervently wish will happen some day, as it will easily rival any "Star Wars" or "Hobbit" flick provided it is directed by a Spielberg, Lucas, Cameron or Scott.
DO NOT be deterred by Stephenson's reputation as an SF writer. This is NOT SF, IMHO, but it is an extremelly well done technothriller, where the "techno" involves a wildly popular computer game. The gaming is important but does not dominate the book; you need not be a gamer to understand and enjoy it. It also involves jihadist terrorists, Chinese hackers, midwest survivalists, and a whole raft of interesting, mostly likable, characters as well as a plethora of action scenes in vividly described locations around the world. What's not to like?
Also do not be deterred by Stehpenson's reputation for long digressions. While I recognize that this is exactly the quality that appeals to many of his fans, it is a quality that keeps me from enjoying many of his books. This book is long because there is a LOT going on and a LOT of "scenes".