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on July 21, 2016
If you're a seasoned science fiction reader, you're no doubt already familiar with Stephenson and his outstanding writing. To the uninitiated, do yourself a favor and give this a read. Neal Stephenson's style is highly accessible without skimping on the details. He discusses heavy topics without going dry. His stories are engaging and entertaining, and The Diamond Age is a fine example. For fans of the Cyberpunk genre, Stephenson's post-Cyberpunk styling will offer something both familiar and refreshing.

Read this.
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on September 6, 2016
I've previously read Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" which I was blown away by enough to recommend to friends. As for "The Diamond Age," all I've got to say is that Neal is a genius. Being someone who studied Nanotechnology in university, this is the sort of science fiction I like to read, unfortunately, I wouldn't say it's for everyone...like most of Neal's books it does take some time to get into the story and get familiar with the lingo to the point where you can enjoy the book.
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on December 13, 2015
It really should be 4 and a half. This book stayed with me, I still think about it years after I read it. The book itself can be dense and yes the ending was a bit abrupt. I myself was not a fan of the ending originally but upon reflection I greatly enjoyed it, it left things open ended and in a way is the perfect ending. This book may not be for everyone, but the insightful and detail way nanotechnology is used always astounds me, I would sometimes just go back to read the detailed description of the tech. There is a large portion of the book dedicated to these descriptions and if you do not into an explanation of this technology nor the impacts on society then this is not your book. Otherwise pick this book up, it is a must read!
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on June 2, 2015
Conceptually diverse. Stephenson is aiming low in my opinion but his books are incredibly absorbing. Not as mature as Gibson in his themes and he tends to stray off genre a bit (if that's possible in a pseudo-cyberpunk genre!) but I found Snow Crash a bit more consistent and less fantasy driven for a cyberpunk novel. Still a great novel and full of endearing characters with plenty of individual development. If it wasn't for the excessively flowery and occasionally indecipherable language used and the overall length of the book, I would go so far as to describe it as aimed at the (mature) young adult market. Occasionally my dictionary gave null results for some words used and there are some editing issues as it may have been transferred from another format, but this does not take away from the overall enjoyment. I like the theatrical review intro to each chapter. He seems to have a penchant for leaving us hanging at the end, as with Cryptonomnicon, but I can forgive this as the journey to get there was so much fun. I would heartily recommend this to anyone interested in conceptual future-fi but the hardcore cyberpunk aficionados may be a bit let down. Read Snow Crash instead. Steampunk fans might be tickled though. I reckon 'Kidnapper' should have his own book!
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on February 28, 2017
Got this on the reccommendation of a friend, and because I enjoyed Snow Crash quite a lot. I really enjoy Stephenson's extrapolation of possible future political constructs, and the technological hazards and solutions involved with nanotech development
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on January 16, 2015
Neal Stephenson is one of my favorite authors, and I actually really like this book.

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My problem with it is the use of a techno-hippie-sex-cult-cum-hivemind. It was unnecessary and unnecessarily disturbing, and made the novel too much for me. The mechanic and utility of the hivemind was cool, but yikes. The only sex in the book is abusive or demented sex.

The protagonists flow in and out of the book, many of them leaving us wondering how much we actually like any of them, except for the main protagonist, and the end is unsatisfying. Many people dislike this about the book, and I do too, somewhat, but in a sense, for how it ends, it is the perfect dystopian ending. Everything goes to poo, and geopolitical history repeats itself. Although you are wondering, "yeah, but... what about John? And what the hell is Nell going to do? And that's it, they're just not going to do the final calculations?", I kind of get it. It's a happy personal ending in a bucket-of-poo-world, where video-game, messiaistic world mechanics of ultimate power (see Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson) don't come to fruition. Touche, Monsieur Stephenson, I do respect you for that.
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on October 2, 2014
This book was a delight to read. An intriguing world. And Intriguing characters, and massive doses of ambiguity. coupled with delightful prose written in the Victorian style, even if many of its themes are definitely not what one would normally associated with Victorians.

The only reason I didn't give this book five stars is the overly abrupt ending. It just doesn't sit well at the end of a Victorian Novel. Victorian novels have an epilogue, and I really wanted to read one here, even if I could work out what was likely to happen.

I've seen a lot of people complain that the book contains too many made up words. This isn't actually true. What it does contain is a fair spattering of very rarely used words, that you might need to look up in a sufficiently large dictionary. And this is very much in keeping with the Victorian Style.
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on October 24, 2012
The Diamond Age is a complex, multi-layered book set in the future, for the most part taking place in and around Shanghai. At one level it is a coming-of-age story, focussed on the life of a young girl - Nell - growing up under difficult circumstances but greatly helped by being given a stolen interactive device which serves as the parent and teacher she would otherwise have never had. At another level it is a commentary on the direction society may take, depicting a future in which people aggregate into groups or civilisations, as opposed to nation states, each of which has its unique culture and lifestyle. Much of the book is concerned with the clash of these civilisations. A third perspective concerns the impact of nano-technology - microscopic devices with information processing powers - on society and individuals.
A large part of the reason for my liking this book is the the fascinating and thought-provoking ideas presented in it. But I also found it to have much merit as a work of literature. It is well written and the many characters are complex and believable.
My only reservation with The Diamond Age is its ending, which gives the impression that the author was in too much of a hurry to draw together the many strands of the story.
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on December 5, 2016
I found the start a bit slow, but hung on hoping for a payoff. It did payoff and was satisfying in the end. I'm still putting the story together in my mind so in that way it's thought provoking. There are aspects of the story I wish were clearer.

Would I read it again? Hmmm ... the answer is yes, but I would read it differently. It requires concentration on the storyline which does not lend itself to extended time between reading and lots of small reading sessions. Better said, best read in long sittings closely grouped together.
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on March 17, 2017
Nell survives Shanghai, a city of walled gardens. A software engineer builds “A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer” and the story takes off. A wild collection of tribes navigate a world of nanobot frenzy and outright war. The mice march on.
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