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Neal Stephenson, Kindle Format, and REAMDE

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As an author, Neal Stephenson hooked me with Snow Crash.

His canon growing along with his skills as a novelist, perhaps just improving on his craft as that’s all any of us can really hope to achieve, I’ve read, and re-read most of his works. I’m especially fond of his mammoth Quicksilver trilogy, which loosely includes five books.

I own a paperback copy of the oddball one, and when I saw REAMDE on a stack at a bookstore, I was thrilled.

REAMDE. It’s another thousand-page epic, with that Scorpio attention to detail, taking the thriller out for a spin. Less Science Fiction and more contemporary novel, I wonder if there is a new genre — the Neal Stephenson style.

Intricate and interlaced, tightly woven, Jim-Dandy, Cracker-Jack plots and sub-plots, with that typical Scorpio sneer towards flippant sarcasm, entwined with furious details.

REAMDE

Quicksilver

Confusion

System of the World

Diamond Age

Cryptinomicon

I bought the book, in a bookstore, all thousand-plus pages, and I read part of it. Shortly thereafter, I bought the Kindle version installed on my iPad — much lighter than the original book form.

It’s not the first book I’ve read as an eBook, on the iPad, but it’s the first one I carried around to read. 

The transition from book to ebook, I’ve bucked the trend, but I caved in when I realized that I know own both the hardback and the digital (with DRM) format, and together, the price was less than the retail version of the book.

I may miss pages, but the electronic version is well-suited to this epic novel’s style — and heft.

Bonus: it’s a ripping yarn.

Then, too, there’s that little “interactive” feature. The author is nothing if he’s not an over-achieving wordsmith. The Kindle app has a “tap twice for a dictionary definition” feature, which, when reading someone like Stephenson, it’s quite handy.

Do I miss reading with a dictionary at hand? 

I’m unsure.

Does anyone else get the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” allusions?

Think that showed up in earlier works, too. Speaks to a certain age.

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