Monday, 3 September 2012

Day 77 : REAMDE

The end of the week is here! I had a couple of things to do tonight, but fortunately both are cancelled. I’m too knackered and I just want to go home. I sense a prelude to another weekend feeling ill which is never welcome.

I write a long blog post ( and before I know it I’m lying on my bed reading REAMDE. Some days you just have to keel over and chill out. Sometimes you just need a day off. Sometimes you find a book that is too good to put down. Honestly, it is that good. I thought he would never surpass or even equal Cryptonomicon but this is getting close. A crazier, geekier, more funny and more gripping story I have never read since that.

I did a bit of thinking about yesterdays musings and couldn’t decide on anything. If you want to find out just who would leave an unanchored POS around a moon in Caslemon then I suggest you look up Traxxas Technologies and follow it from there. You’ll find another one of their ,apparently abandoned or unused, POS up at Caslemon IX - Moon 4. Say hi in Local to the Tatooine crew if you are on the way through!


  1. Reamde was awesome. I also really enjoyed the massive Baroque trilogy. It's a bit hard to get into at first but very much worth it.

  2. Oh dear. I will have to disagree. To me, Reamde was the lowpoint of Stephenson, written to appease his publishers with something they could throw at the market while he writes his next, real novel. At least thats what I hope.... And yes, I am weird. I even loved Diamond Age and Anathem. ;-)

    1. Disagreement is good, the source of profitable discussion! Diamond Age and Anathem I thought were brilliant too. I can maybe see your point about REAMDE in that it was very reminiscent of Cryptonomicon. Pandering to exactly the same audience who had been crying out for more. Have you read Zodiac and Snow Crash?

      There are simplicities inherent in the plot and the character groups that were a little obvious, a little too much "us vs them" and "hero vs villain".

      Mostly though it rises above these and has been too much of an ejoyable thrill ride for this to bother me. It has the added benefit of the whole RMT/Gold farmer theme too. However novelised and basic that was it was still a hook.

    2. Well, rather than saying what I didn't like about Reamde (pretty much everything), I'd like to say what I do like about his novels: amazing attention to detail, broad scope of philosophical understanding, geeky enough to make quite a bit of the content "just" out of my reach and above all, a warmth to character development that is hard to see anywhere else. He "loves" all of them. Starting at the lowly Shaftoes to the geeky and slightly autistic Waterhouses. He can represent evil with a human twist and goodness with an evil streak. That is his genius and Reamde - I am sorry, was nothing but a to-do-list for a writer in 2011 /12. Guns, MMORPG as a threat to human economy, guns, terrorism threatening the good and honest men and women of the US of A, guns. Midwestern wholesome goodness - sells well. I am sure it got advertised on Fox. Pure cash grabbing if you ask me. Please don't - glad you enjoyed it. I can wait for the next one.... I can wait years if I have to....

    3. I can see what you mean about the "to-do list" for a writer. I thought there was a little more in the MMO discussion, and Stephenson has always had a soft spot for the homely, lowly guys who come good. There are so many parallels with Cryptonomicon right down to the one off use of totemic animals (well maybe twice in the last one).

      For me though it's almost as if the plot is the popcorn at the movie. His characterisation, the humour and whimsy he uses to bring them alive, the scope of the plot, the breadth of the mind behind it. These are all the meat of read for me. While it wasn't anywhere near as enjoyably mentally taxing as Anathem or certain parts of Cryptonomicon the popcorn was good enough for me to stay. A man with a mind wrote an action movie, and what's wrong with an action movie.

      Just finished and I felt the ending lacked something, but I still got a serious amount of enjoyment out of it, lighter than usual but still great. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree ;)

      Onto the next now, even lighter (thankfully physically lighter too), The Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross!

  3. The phrase "never surpass or even equal Cryptonomicon but this is getting close" is a HUGE statement. I've been waiting to and looking for something like Crypto ever since reading it back in 2003.

    Am very excited about this, and I'll be going tomorrow to pick up a copy of readme. There will be a whopping 10isk in it for you if it's good! :-)

  4. Just to chip in here - for my money Cryptonomicon is still the greatest book ever written but I absolutely loved REAMDE. The thing I had to get over with it (and it didn't take long) was the realisation that, although it had the MMORPG stuff in it (and I was massively into WOW at the time), this wasn't so much about that side of things as it was about Stephenson having a crack at the Dan Brown-esque adventure/thriller. Personally I think he absolutely nailed it and proved that those kind of books don't have to be dumb (in much the same way that Chris Nolan proved the same of action movies with Inception). I like to think of Stephenson as being a bit like Dylan - a "cantankerous old bastard" (copyright A.Turner 2009) who's more interested in trying out new ideas than in crowd pleasing.

    ... Schulze