Book Review: The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson

Overall Impressions

I bought this book around 2006 and tried and failed to read it a few times since then. I never got more than 20 or 30 pages before putting it down, not to pick it up again for years at a time. Recently, I decided that I was going to get through it as I knew a few people that claimed it was their favorite Stephenson book and it seemed wrong that I hadn't read it yet even though I owned a physical copy of it. Maybe this is funny, but I actually never took that physical copy off my shelf, instead checking out an electronic copy from the library as well as a CD-based copy of the audiobook. I ended up flipping back and forth between the two which was honestly a little tedious but worked, once I ripped all 16 CDs, encoded them to mp3s, and copied them to my fitness watch. Including stretching, it takes me about an hour to run a 10k which amounts to about an entire CD each session - so after a few weeks of that and reading before I went to bed, I got through it quickly enough.

Anyways, I managed to finish it and didn't hate it - but it definitely is not my favorite book of his. The book takes place in the future, and the tech seems to hold up alright so far; sometimes books in the future start to loose their coherence as years go by and science and technology begin to catch up to it and maybe cast doubt or downright contradict what's in the book - but I don't think that's happened yet here. If anything, with the current state of 3d printing and related concepts, the book might be getting more interesting and relevant.

The Good

Interesting enough idea - and fun characters and their development.

This definitely made my time exercising go by faster.

The Bad

Things come together really fast at the end and although he does a good job of tieing off loose ends, we might have been a bit better served by a little more development of a few threads before the climax.

This was my first real experience with an audiobook, and I groaned when the word phỏ was misprounded with a long 'oh'. Come on guys...

Harv deserved better. Just sayin'.

Final Thoughts

I think I give this a 3/5 stars - a good solid average quality book, even if I rank it lower than most of Neal Stephenson's stuff.