I rarely get a chance to talk about the books I read. It has never been a way for me to socialize. Maybe the whole reason I'm online is to find the people who read the same things I do. Anyway, I'm slowly seeing myself disengaged from various aspects of online society - after 18 years, it's finally getting tiring. To wit - the books.
I now have read this in the original and see the ideas of many other sci-fi guys out of disguise. It must have been absolutely mindblowing back when it was originally published. Smells very 70s with the idea that humans could be bred for luck and that luck would dominate physics, also that all civilizations are constrained by population and that they wouldn't bother to control it. Fascinating that an advanced civilization could terraform without superluminals but be wiped out by a meteor. Sounds preposterous to me. I mean if you can harvest a solar system's worth of planets, how does a meteor destroy your greatest creation. Aside from that bogosity, it was very enjoyable with such a small cast of characters. But 'Puppeteer'? Really?
As said elsewhere, it was just a must read with only a few big surprises. The coda is worth remembering.
Never quite finished it. Never got what I wanted out of it which was some idea of how the Napoleonic Code came to be, what it meant and how the ancien regime was swept out. But still some very interesting stuff to put alongside what was going on in the Americas at the time.
Neal Stephenson makes an action movie. Enjoyable. But my buddy Lee and I agree that The Diamond Age lies unsurpassed as his greatest work, followed closely Anathem and then Cryptonomicon. The entirety of the Baroque Series is magnificent, and I re-read it all this year. Too bad there aren't many folks to talk to about it.
Crichton's last book is probably his darkest yet. He just inexorably butchers academics with the most hideous details. It is not a cautionary tale but one that makes you supremely glad that you are not stuck with the dilemma of the main characters - which is that they have been shrunk down to half-inch size and let loose on the slope of a lush Hawaiian rain forest. You had no idea that bugs could be so vicious - but that's the point. We romanticise nature without acknowledging the destructive nature of life itself. Dog eat dog is child's play, and Crichton and his ghostwriter deliver with a wallop.
One of the most enjoyable adventure stories ever. I think I have discovered something about myself in this one. It is quite refreshing to see another culture so closely related to our own that rewards the kind of knowledge which has fallen mostly out of favor.