Friday, October 24, 2008


Quicksilver (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 1)
Neal Stephenson managed to get me to spend my own money on this book - and I paid full price for it; in more ways than one. I really liked Cryptonomicron however, my one hang up with that book carried over, in a major way, to the inagural tome of the Baroque Cycle; Quicksilver. Quicksilver starts off great by introducing you to Enoch Root (who you may remember, kind of, from Crypto) entering old colonial Boston. As I read this first paragraph I had feelings of great hope for the novel. It promised adventure, history, science, and yes - even more geekiness all in one big, long book. In many ways it didn't disappoint.

We see the interactions of Hyguens, Newton, and the ficticious Daniel Waterhouse (yes the same Waterhouse family from Crypto - we all see the other key family from that story the Shaftoe's). And, in many ways his descriptions of the research of the scientists of the day and the exploits of Jack Shaftoe and his beloved Eliza (a most cunning woman) are very interesting. Sadly, in this book Stephenson is even more prone to droning on and on about how much he knows. Maybe I am taking it the wrong way but it seems like there are too many history, economic, scientific, and yes history lessons in what is supposed to be a Novel; and heck I like history, economics, science, and even more history but the lecturing tone of this book at times was just too much. It made the book seem endlessly longer that its already substantial length.

Now, I typically never quit on a book, and I didn't quit on this one either. However, I will probably quit on the series. Heck there are two or three more books in this cycle and I don't think I could handle being lectured to for another 2-3 thousand pages. I hear his first work, Snow Crash, is really good but of course this comes from the same folks who love the Baroque Cycle. I just don't get it.


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