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John Percival Hackworth is a nanotech engineer on the rise when he steals a copy of "A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" for his daughter Fiona. The primer is actually a super computer built with nanotechnology that was designed to educate Lord Finkle-McGraw's daughter and to teach her how to think for herself in the stifling neo-Victorian society. But Hackworth loses the primer before he can give it to Fiona, and now the "book" has fallen into the hands of young Nell, an underprivileged girl whose life is about to change. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Stephenson's fourth solo novel, set primarily in a far-future Shanghai at a time when nations have been superseded by enclaves of common cultures ("claves"), abundantly justifies the hype that surrounded Snow Crash, his first foray into science fiction. Here, the author avoids the major structural problem of that book-a long lump of philosophical digression-by melding myriad perspectives and cogitations into his tale, which is simultaneously SF, fantasy and a masterful political thriller. Treating nanotechnology as he did virtual reality in Snow Crash-as a jumping-off point-Stephenson presents several engaging characters. John Percival Hackworth is an engineer living in a neo-Victorian clave, who is commissioned by one of the world's most powerful men to create a Primer that might enable the man's granddaughter to be educated in ways superior to the "straight and narrow." When Hackworth is mugged, an illegal copy of the Primer falls into the hands of a working-class girl named Nell, and a most deadly game's afoot. Stephenson weaves several plot threads at once, as the paths of Nell, Hackworth and other significant characters-notably Nell's brother Harv, Hackworth's daughter Fiona and an actress named Miranda-converge and diverge across continents and complications, most brought about by Hackworth's actions and Nell's development. Building steadily to a wholly earned and intriguing climax, this long novel, which presents its sometimes difficult technical concepts in accessible ways, should appeal to readers other than habitual SF users. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is an incredibly creative journey. Completely unpredictable, elegantly written. Some future tech, without feeling like full on sci-fi. Read morePublished 3 months ago by QuirkyGirl
I rarely leave reviews for used books, because they're used, and I'm cool with that -- but this book, which had said it would be "gently used" by seller, arrived covered in... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Kaitlyn Braybrooke
Read it a long time ago and really liked it. I thought Neal Stephenson's view of the future were stimulation and I didn't at all mind that things got weird with the drummers. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Rob Mills
My second reading of the book and I learned more than I had before. The ending seemed different, but maybe time has changed my perception of what occurred. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Clay
For a book that was written over a decade ago, the contents even now give a fantastic vision of the possible future of the world. Read morePublished on Dec 14 2010 by Mark Strange
very intriguing subject matter. little bit sci fi, fantasy, without being too out of this world.Published on Nov. 6 2010 by radiantlf
I have to say that this is Neal Stephenson's best work among what I've read and undoubtedly one of my all-time favorite books. It was simply incredible. Read morePublished on June 16 2004 by C. GREEN
The Diamond Age is the second of Stephenson's books that I've read. I enjoyed it far more that Snow Crash. Read morePublished on May 9 2004 by jsdunk
I've enjoyed other Stephenson books, but this is by far the most interesting. It still has some adolescent hack-and-slash elements reminiscent of Snow Crash, but the remarkably... Read morePublished on April 25 2004 by Amazon Customer