December 29th, 2008


No Reason

I might as well go on the record as not being a particularly big fan of Neal Stephenson. A lot of people who know me know that. I just don't like his voice.

Okay, more specifically -- the real reason I don't particularly like his books is that he's clever and he knows it. And, well, he is clever -- when he pulls it off, it works, and it's really entertaining. But when he doesn't, it's like he's just saying "look! See how clever I am?" -- and without a sufficient dosage of clever to back it up, it's just annoying.

When he really goes off the rails -- which is a lot -- it's completely over the top, like he's screaming out "look at how f*cking clever I am!" and it's really, really annoying.

I've been told that Snowcrash was as much a parody of cyberpunk as anything, although I hated that particular version of cyberpunk enough to hate a parody of it, too... But he does the same d*mned thing in Cryptonomicon, and what's he parodying there? Himself?

It makes a book that's really quite strong in a lot of ways pretty annoying to read at times.

Still, it's a lot better than anything else of his I ever tried to read (or actually finished -- I'm almost done with the Cryptonomicon now), and I'd probably actually recommend it fairly strongly, annoyances and all. It's aggravating as much because he's really close -- where reading something by somebody who's just pure crap doesn't push any buttons, you just dump it and move on.

Especially for anybody who still reads like a teenager does -- I would have liked it a lot more back in the days when I could still stomach everything Heinlein wrote.
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