It is an audacious book and more often than not you begin to wonder if it is at all going anywhere. I have roughly a hundred pages left to go and I continue asking myself the same question, even though a lot of the connections have been made between the storylines. This was also evident in Stephenson's latest book, Anathem, but I have a feeling that Cryptonomicon will not leave me with a sense of void once I'm done with it. In fact, this rather chaotic undertaking is mystifyingly beautiful and elegant. It is a laudable achievement of Stephenson that at no point in this 1100-plus-pages novel I found myself bored or distracted. In fact, I sort of wish it wouldn't end. Oh, well. I think I will go and finish it off tonight ...
Monday, December 15, 2008
In the Secret World of Neal Stephenson
For the last couple of weeks or so, I have been traversing the truly science-fiction world of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. Describing the plot of this mammoth book is a futile attempt for a meager blogger like Yours Truly ... but I'll try anyway. It is set in two different periods: World War II and the late '90s. In the WW2 parts, which occupy the bulk of the narrative, we have three main threads of stories: a Math genius, is drafted into the military, and is assigned to break the secret codes of the Germans and then the Japanese; a Midwestern marine sergeant is sent all over the globe for stupefyingly mysterious missions; and a Japanese Judo fighter given the task to dig a vault in the jungles of Philippines. In the present-day story a start-up IT company is about to strike a deal that would enable them to build a data haven in the fictional kingdom of Kinakuta and control the data transactions in the South East Asia.