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Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing by Neal Stephenson
reviewed by Rich Horton
In his novels, Neal Stephenson is famous for his absorbing infodumps -- pages going into detail on say, the technical details of aspects of cryptography, or on the experience of eating Cap'n Crunch. Show, don't tell, they say, but there have always been authors who could make telling great fun, and Stephenson is one of those. So it's not a surprise to find him a fine writer of nonfiction, as this first collection amply demonstrates.

Anathem Anathem by Neal Stephenson
an audiobook review by Sarah Trowbridge
"Do your neighbors burn one another alive? ... Do your shamans walk around on stilts? ... When a child gets sick, do you pray? Sacrifice to a painted stick? Or blame it on an old lady?" Thus begins this monumental new novel of ideas and adventure. Fraa Orolo is posing these questions to an artisan from the Saecular world who -- against orthodoxy -- has been summoned inside the walls of a monastic-style community (the "concent") to perform a hasty, unscheduled repair. Immersed in this encounter between denizens of separate societies, the listener begins to know a world that is, by turns, strangely familiar and suddenly unexpected.

Anathem Anathem by Neal Stephenson
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Let's take a trip through time, space, and the history of human thought. The journey starts with the observations and suppositions of ancient philosophers, gains both credence and clarity through the development of the rules of logic, and eventually leads all the way to modern theories of everything, including the possible existence of not one but multiple universes and realities. That's the goal here and it succeeds better than any work of fiction with such ambitions has a right to.

Anathem Anathem by Neal Stephenson
reviewed by Jakob Schmidt
Arbre, is an Earth-like world with a few thousand more years of written history under its belly. It seems to have spent most of this time in a prolonged condition of post-modern now: there's no significant social or technological progress, but instead an ongoing profusion of technological gimmicks. Early on, we see little of this world, since its narrator, Fraa Erasmas, is a so-called avout, living in one of many large convents of ascetic scientists and philosophers who isolate themselves from the outside world. Erasmas is a young scholar with a passion for knowledge, who hasn't seen the outside world for ten years and doesn't miss it, since he has found many good friends among the avout. However, on the eve of Apert, the opening of the gates to the outside world that occurs only once every ten, hundred or even thousand years, things start to change.

Snow Crash Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
reviewed by Paul Graham Raven
Few modern novels divide opinion among science fiction fans with quite the sharpness of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, the book that blasted him to geek-hero status after its original publication in 1992. Subterranean Press's handsome limited edition re-release seems as good a reason as any to look at Snow Crash with the benefit of hindsight, and ask why it is a sacred text for some but an execrable failure for others.

Quicksilver Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
reviewed by Alex Lightman
Novels are supposed to be character-driven, and the characters inhabiting this story feel as real as any historical figures. The focus shifts around between the ageless alchemist Enoch the Red, genius without compare and alchemist/religious fanatic Isaac Newton, puritan (and Newtonian roommate) Daniel Waterhouse, polymath lonely Wilhelm Leibniz, "Half-cocked" Jack Shaftoe (yes, that is an anatomical reference), Eliza the virgin slave turned duchess/countess/spy, Royal Society standout Robert Hooke, and sexy beast William of Orange are the most vivid and memorable characters.

The Cobweb The Cobweb by Stephen Bury
reviewed by Rodger Turner
Let's suppose you want to start a war or you want to annex some land because you feel that it is part of your country (despite having lost it in battle). Suppose you want to have weapons against which your opponent has little or no defense. But all you have is money: you don't have the technology, you don't have the science infrastructure, you don't have the planning to bring it all together. But you do have the money and you do have the time. One way to do it is to buy the pieces in such a way as to make it appear that you are buying something else.

In the Beginning... Was the Command Line In the Beginning... Was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson
reviewed by Peter D. Tillman
It is an amusing guide to the whole dos/mac/windows/unix/gnu/linux/beos soap opera, for the perplexed -- highly recommended. It's aimed at the Unix-literate (whose ranks certainly don't include Peter), but anyone who's messed about with computers will find some goodies.

In the Beginning... Was the Command Line In the Beginning... Was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Whether you are a computer expert, someone who understands computer basics, a person who knows nothing at all about computers, or simply a reader who will snatch up anything with this author's name on it, you'll be transfixed by this essay on how software operating systems evolved and where it is all going.

Cryptonomicon Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
reviewed by Kim Fawcett
Cryptonomicon alternates between the 40s, where the infant science of cryptography is winning World War II for the allies, and the 90s, where an eclectic group of businessmen, hackers, and thieves are using the same science to create an Internet data haven. That's the Cliff Notes version, of course -- even the simplest of Stephenson's plots defies description.

Cobweb The Cobweb by Stephen Bury
reviewed by Alex Anderson
Another sci-political thriller from Stephen Bury, the pseudonym for Neal Stephenson and his uncle, Frederick George.

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