(which I pronounce in my head 'Read me'), Neal Stephenson demonstrates yet again that it is possible to write erudite, informative, and page-burning fiction that also passes tthe Bechdel Test.
This is my first Neal Stephenson novel since I finished The System of the World
, and isn't as complex (though it doesn't come at the end of a 4000-page saga, either); some of the characters (there are so many of them!) could have used some fleshing out, not in the least Richard Forthrast, who is introduced to the reader as if you already knew him, or could, say, look at his wikipedia page. Richard Forthrast, multi-millionaire draft dodger, owns a successful online gaming company based out of Seattle and China and spend most of his time at a ski-lodge in British Colombia, managing his two writers. Meeting up with family for the first time in a couple years at a Thanksgiving reunion, he offers is niece, Zula, a job at Corporation 9592. When her programmer boyfriend, Peter, takes a his first Identity Theft job and borrows an infected thumb-drive from Corporation 9592, Zula and he get caught up in an international manhunt that lands them in a place Peter never predicted a few stolen credit cards would get them.
Stephenson's writing improves with every book; I think of some of the clunkers in Cryptonomicon
), in which, over 100 pages, an attempt to assassinate a teenage hacker becomes a shootout in an apartment building, rigged to explode, with only two exits. It was reminiscent of the bank-robbery scene from Heat
in its extended and precise coverage of the action of an extremely chaotic few minutes.
Great read. Highly recommended.