One of the most talented and creative authors working today, Neal Stephenson is renowned for his exceptional novels - works colossal in vision and mind-boggling in complexity. Exploring and blending a diversity of topics, including technology, economics, history, science, pop culture, and philosophy, his books are the products of a keen and adventurous intellect. Not surprisingly, Stephenson is regularly asked to contribute articles, lectures, and essays to numerous outlets, from major newspapers and cutting-edge magazines to college symposia. This remarkable collection brings together previously published short writings, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as a new essay (and an extremely short story) created specifically for this volume.
Stephenson ponders a wealth of subjects, from movies and politics to David Foster Wallace and the Midwestern American College Town; video games to classics-based sci-fi; how geekdom has become cool and how science fiction has become mainstream (whether people admit it or not); the future of publishing and the origins of his novels. Playful and provocative, Some Remarks displays Stephenson's opinions and ideas on
The Internet, our dwindling national attention span, and the cultural importance of books and bookishness;
Waco, religion, and the cluelessness of secular society;
Metaphysics and the battle between Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz;
The laying of the longest wire on Earth - and why it matters to you;
Technology, freedom, commerce, and the Chinese;
How Star Wars and 300 mirror who we are today and what that spells for our future; and
Modern Jedi knights, a.k.a. scientists and technologists, and why they are admired and feared by both the left and the right.
By turns amusing and profound, critical and celebratory, yet always entertaining, Some Remarks offers a fascinating look into the prismatic mind of this extraordinary writer.
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Worth a revisit
Although I read several of these pieces when they were originally published (FLAG, Slashdot) I've enjoyed revisiting them. Although I loved "Reamde," I don't have time this month to get sucked in for 30 hours, so this collection of shorter pieces is great.
Maybe. This is perhaps not the best material for an audio treatment, and Cummings does a good job, overall. I wish he knew Stephenson's vocabulary better. ASCII is pronounced with an "aye-aye," or, better, as "as-key," and Stephenson and his readers would reflexively cringe, as I did, at "a-ess-see-two." Neal wrote "In The Beginning Was The Command Line;" he knows from 8-bit character encoding and that's one of the things I like best about him. To mispronounce that sort of vocabulary makes the narrator obvious. Like an offensive lineman, a narrator is rarely noticed for good performance.
Not really, since it's a collection of essays best take in discrete chunks.
A mix of entertaining pieces--best for fans