So, I have just finished all the 900+ pages of Neal Stephensons latest doorstop, erm. Novel.Â As a book I found it quite intesting, drawing heavily on Greg Egan and Dan Simmons,Â several times I got the main ideas from Diaspora and The Hollow Man humming at the back of my head.Â The book is heavy, in all senses of the word.
What can be said about it without ruining the plot?Â I don't know,Â the general story about Mathic (hah) Monks spending most of the last of \~3000+ years isolated due to a general fear of what happens when technology is released into a society.Â They are dull in what they do, but content, and you need to suspend the disbelief to imagine that the system would even be stable. Still, they make a good start with their education to drag you into a philosophing state of mind as reader, educated in both the world of pure mathematics and philosophical cosmology.
Then stuff happens, starting small and escalating, and the science-dudes become necessary and run off to save the world.Â Yey for homocidial political spacemen!
Well, the overall plot is much more convoluted, but the general disregard for the political minds that run "society" (dum dum di daaaaa!)Â and the "pure perfection" of the covent is visible all over. Everyone else are twitter-addicted cellphone junkies living like savages and drugging themself to be content while vehemetly hating all things they don't understand.
So, I'm a bit critical to the layout of the book. It requires several leaps of faith, the post-technologic stagnated society that would have been stable for a few hundred years doesn't ring true with me, scrap-mining old towns for materials just doesn't seem plausible.
Still, there is an interesting story told here. The primer into the philosophical "Multi-reality cosmos" and the change of perception that The Long Now are stating does appeal to me, and in no way do I regret that I read the book.
It's quite recommended,Â but most definitely it isn't Cryptonomicon.