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Cryptonomicon
by Neal Stephenson (Paperback - May 2000)
Our Price:
$12.80 / Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars

The basic review is this; if you like Neal Stephenson, you are going to like Cryptonomicon bigtime.

If you like a book that teaches you interesting things while telling you a story, which I do, the material on cryptography, history, and the cutthroat world of micro-corporate entrpreneurialism is going to fascinate you.  I loved Stephenson's description of the "business plan" so much I had to plop the book on the scanner and make copies of the pages to send to a friend who happens to be working on such a startup. You'll understand the refernce to the "business plan" when you read it for yourself.

Stephenson is a serious and devoted researcher for the material in his books, and his building of the content of the ficticious world he creates is top notch. His characters and plot, tho, are not up to the high standards of Diamond Age, or the flash of Snow Crash. In fact, I would say this is his weakest book as far as characterization and plot is concerned.

Something that is a real hoot about the book, an inside story of the thing, could only be understood by someone who was part of the EARLY INTERNET, the text internet of mailing lists and usenet before the World Wide Web changed everything with its www. Stephenson builds into the plot a fair amount of material and shenanegins involving the Perfect Strangers (A mysterious radical High-Tech Libertarian nouveau riche net group) and the eutrophians, another even higher tech net group. These groups were, I dare to say, modeled after two well known EARLY INTERNET mailists, the cypherpunks and the extropians. I was a member of both groups and recognize the material.

Don't know who the cypherpunks and the extropians are/were? The net is a mysterious place...

Funny thing, I bought Diamond Age in hardcover when it first came out, because of the glowing reviews of it made by other members of Extropy and the Cypherpunks.

Oh, whats the story about? The creation of the first true anonymous datahaven on a small south pacific kingdom. A datahaven is like an anonymous swiss bank on the net, except that anyone can use it, not just the rich guys. Well, these net entrepreneurs sort've fall into the possibility of setting one up, are nearly crushed by the powers-that-be, and save themselves from ignominy, get the girl, and kick net ass with the saving grace of a mountain of nazi gold.

All made possible by higher mathematics and the wonderous properties of prime numbers and public key encryption.

I liked it, and can't wait to get it out of my head, so I can read it again.




Cryptonomicon
by Neal Stephenson. Hardcover
Our Price:$19.25
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Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
Cryptonomicon [ABRIDGED]
by Neal Stephenson, Scott Brick (Reader). Audio Cassette (March 2000)
Our Price:$24.00
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Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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The Diamond Age

by Neal Stephenson. Paperback (May 2000)
Our Price:$10.36
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Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Snow Crash

by Neal Stephenson. Paperback (May 2000)
Our Price:$10.36
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Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Zodiac : The Eco-Thriller

by Neal Stephenson. Paperback
Our Price:$5.59
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Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
by Neal Stephenson. Paperback (November 1999)
Our Price:$8.00
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Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars

 

 

 

         

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