In defense of Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon

I know, I know — it’s bedtime.

But I’m reading the negative reviews about Cryptonomicon at Amazon (I will learn not to read the comments section). And I’m laughing at them. Not one of the overly negative reviews has anything more to say than: it was long and the ending was stoopid.

Here are some guidelines for the “Cyberpunk” folks who found this book went over their heads:

  1. This is not a Science Fiction novel. Do not attempt to treat it as such. This is a novel about people who lead actual lives. Therefore the tightly controlled, and idiotic, concept of a traditional story does not belong here. You can find the Conan books under “Howard” in the F/SF section if you want a traditional story.
  2. Do not even attempt to make a comment if you didn’t read the entire book. This is like voting — you can’t complain if you didn’t get off your ass and actually partake.
  3. Snow Crash was great, but nothing more than Neuromancer reborn. Yes, avatars were cool. Get over it.
  4. The Diamond Age was good, but not great (better in concept than Snow Crash, worse in execution). Mad props for the Mouse Army, though.
  5. Again, this is about people with lives, folks. You’re observing them. Stephenson has a reason, and it will be fleshed out in later volumes. Just sit back, eat some Cap’n Crunch, flip BBC Asia on in the background, and enjoy the ride.
  6. Some of the typos aren’t typos — Stephenson is playing with language. Unfortunately, some copy editor had no clue and, therefore, some of the typos are typos. Pay attention.
  7. This is not a cyrpto manual. Go buy one of those if you want to read one.
  8. The book isn’t about the female characters. Stephenson will develop them, but it’s important to remember that Randy and Lawrence are the main characters, Bobby and Dengo are the next main characters, with Root closing up the rear.
  9. Enoch Root is Gandalf.
  10. The Cap’n Crunch sequence is important, as are all the other scenes that make people say Stephenson needs an editor. I think Stephenson has an editor, and a good one at that.

I’m done. The silly people who couldn’t get the point of this book are getting on my nerves… g’night.

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