I finally finished reading Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon last week. It was over 1.1k pages long, making it one of the longest I’ve read. You can read an excerpt of my review here. The full thing is on my review page. Also, don’t miss Bunnies4Buddha’s newest review on her page.
In addition to many of the characters of Cryptonomicon being inter-related, they are the descendants of Characters from The Baroque Cycle. The similarities and differences between the related characters and their situations are interesting and often surprising.
These books share other similarities with one another. First, not all the mysteries and plot lines are fully resolved by the end of the book. While this may leave some readers dissatisfied, I believe it adds an element of realism. Real life is never as tidy as our stories would have us believe. Second, Stephenson doesnâ€™t shy away from science, technology, and history in his books. He includes specifics about cryptographic techniques, German U-boat technology, Pacific arena battle sites, and even use of the Zeta function as a pseudo random number generator. In previous books, he delved into metallurgy, Sumerian religious practices, pre-Reformation European politics, Philosophy, and the calculus. This makes them a joy to read for geeks like myself.
Now I’ve picked up Paine: Collected Writings only do discover it is over 800 pages (the rice paper made it deceptively thin). I’m not sure I can take that many pamphlets, letters, and essays by one person all in a row. I’ll probably read this intermittently while I take breaks to read other books. Currently I’m reading Common Sense and will offer a review of each piece as I complete it.