Customer Reviews


691 Reviews
5 star:
 (366)
4 star:
 (185)
3 star:
 (68)
2 star:
 (29)
1 star:
 (43)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read. . .
Going in to CRYPTONOMICON, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I'd never read anything by Neal Stephenson, nor had I read any blurbs or reviews of the book. However, it had appeared on enough "Best Book" lists that I decided to give it a try. And boy am I glad I did.
This novel is fun, huge, funny, rambling, witty, and sprawling. It is clever, engaging, and...
Published on Aug. 7 2002 by Nathan

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Great author
....tough book for me to get into. Highly Math oriented and sometimes I would get bogged down in all of that. But Mr Stephenson sure knows how to tell a fascinating story
Published 9 months ago by Bootsy Bass


‹ Previous | 168 69 70 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Arrived late and all out of shape, Aug. 6 2011
Book arrived later than expected. That might have not been the shipper's fault, but they didn't bother responding to my email when I was trying to find out where the book was a week after it's due date for arrival. The book also came all out of shape because of the way it was packaged.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Math textbook or fictional novel?, May 4 2004
By A Customer
I did not think this book was poorly written, but I did think the story was dry as day-old toast. Unless you're extremely interested in math, and you don't mind Neal Stephenson sounding a bit like he's trying to impress us all with just how much high-level math he understands, then read this book, otherwise I wouldn't bother.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cryptonomicon or a lesson in tedium, July 28 2003
By A Customer
I found this book to be tedious in the extreme.It is way too wordy and is very disjointed.I am an avid reader but the only thing I could look forward to with this book was finishing it so I could finally put the darn thing away!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Look Mom- I Wrote a Book about Math!, Dec 18 2002
By 
gabriel (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cryptonomicon (Paperback)
Where to begin-- I am no computer scientist, and care not for any mistakes Stephenson may have made in the accuracy department, but as a work of fiction, this fails. I am a sci-fi fan, and actually enjoyed "The Diamond Age" by the same author. But the weak points in that novel became the focal point in this monstrosity. Convoluted plot- fine. Dissapointing ending- okay. But things for which the author cannot be forgiven:
- endlessly showing off in long passages that I only hope are correct-- dealing with mathematical formulas and computer designs. I know this is a book about crypto-- it's not the fact that he's figured something out that bugs me. It's the characters launching, at the drop of a hat, into a lecture to explain it---to each other! For example : at the gathering of Randy's family to distribute the matriarch's possessions. The characters (or wooden author-puppets), pipe up and excitedly discuss how an algorithm can help them distribute the goods. One of these characters supposedly spent an entire day fighting about some dresser. I mean, if Stephenson wanted to write a math book, he should have just done it. He has committed the most grievous (and lengthy) sin of having his characters be transparent mouthpieces for his ideas, that I have ever come across. I literally would lose track of who's talking in a given scene, because the narrative voice of any character is the same as any other! The only reason I could identify Bobby Shaftoe was his habit of shouting "sir, yes sir!"
I would have enjoyed this book more if the author had tried a little harder to create charaters, rather than just jotting down what seemed to be notes for a future book. I could have cared less if the entire cast of the story was blown up in the final scene-- why would it matter? I have never come across such blatant author-mouthpieces before, and I hope I never do again. I haven't given up all hope for this author, because he is witty and has clever ideas. I just wouldn't call this one fiction.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A textbook, not a novel, April 17 2002
This review is from: Cryptonomicon (Paperback)
I read a couple hundred pages of this 1000+ sleeper before putting it down. Why bother wasting more time? The characters are so weak I just didn't give a damn, and I wasn't interested in a crypto primer.
It's like the author wanted to show off how clever his math demonstrations were, then used a WW2 setting to trick you into reading, thinking this was all actually going somewhere.
I'll pass, thanks.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of pain but no gain, Feb. 4 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Cryptonomicon (Paperback)
The only thing I can find to praise about this book is consistency. It's about as engrossing after page 10 as it is after page 890. (& I kept thinking it had to get better!) This is shear pointless verbosity without a single human-like character or sympathetic plot element. Stephenson can just about make the reader not care about the outcome of WWII.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars And I bought it in hardcover!.., Jan. 16 2002
By 
This review is from: Cryptonomicon (Paperback)
If I wanted to know about the consistency of some nerd's soggy Captain Crunch cereal, I could observe it any day almost anywhere at breakfast. The idiosyncracies and hangups of computer professionals do not interest me. That counts out half of this heafty book's plot. The rest is quite interesting: cryptography and warfare in WWII as experienced through 2 characters that have lives instead of funky technology. Is Stephenson telling us that modern man is a boring git? In this case, keep it short and sweet, baby. No rambling. And more girly action, PLEASE. Not all computer geeks wait a year to get layed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No "Gravity's Rainbow", June 18 2003
This review is from: Cryptonomicon (Hardcover)
I believe they call this "hysterical fiction" nowadays-- literature so beefed up with detail and plot intrigue as to offer some source of verisimilitude... however the merit in this type of literature starts with William Gaddis, then Pynchon, and finally David Foster Wallace.
The point is those guys are hard to read, and the books are long so you as a reader can work through them with a concentration that's due to real art.
Stephenson, however, is a hack, and is one tier above grocery store fiction. I read 50 pages of this book and put it down when i realized it is terrible writing. Don't waste your life on a book that doesn't pay off at all.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poetic Murder., May 4 2004
By A Customer
I am sorry, but I heard such wonderful things about this book, and as I attempt to read it, I am frankly annoyed at best. The man misuses, abuses, and downright ignores style. So many times I have to read a metaphor and double take, wondering how he could have seriously wrote that down on paper. Not only are the metaphors often bizzare, there is typically more metaphoric content per page than there is storyline.
On the topic of storyline, it seems disjointed, shallow, and contrived. The only thing that flows worse than the story, is each sentence, which when they are proper sentences, often are choppy and erratic in form. It really is a chore to read this man's work.
One other minor complaint I have, (which pails in comparison with others) is the overuse and abuse of "Haiku" Haiku, which in it's native tongue is brilliant and beautiful form of art, is (to say the least) difficult to capture in English. Needless to say, I find the "Haiku" contained in this book to be somewhat lacking in Essence.
The auther has a brilliant mind for math, I am sorry that it doesn't seem to relate well to Literature.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confused moral message makes for disappointing book, Dec 13 2001
By 
This review is from: Cryptonomicon (Paperback)
In CRYPTONOMICON, a massive (900 page) tome that interweaves plotlines of World War II codebreaking and modern-day data security, Neal Stephenson continues to explore how technology influences our lives and unlocks exotic futures. Stephenson's first novel concerning the advent of the digital era, 1991's SNOW CRASH, was a highly entertaining and satirical romp that I quite enjoyed. I found CRYPTONOMICON, however, disappointing.
The basic gist of CRYPTONOMICON is that the actions of a handful of intelligence experts, led by USN Captain Lawrence Waterhouse, and a Marine, Bobby Shaftoe, to conceal from the Axis that they had broken ENIGMA affect the efforts of Waterhouse's grandson Randy, and several of his coworkers, to construct a "data haven" in SE Asia. This data haven would allow individuals to communicate in total privacy as well as pave the way to true electronic currency. Hidden Japanese and Nazi gold figures too, and Randy teams up with Shaftoe's granddaughter Amy in an adventure to increase shareholder value, avoid lawsuits, and save the world from future Holocausts. Does that sound complex? It is. CRYPTONOMICON is a large book, and although one may argue that 900 pages is a bit much, this book would have to be large no matter how tightly edited it was. Some of the book's bulk is due to cameos of key figures from the 1940's (Alan Turing gets mocked, Douglas MacArthur becomes a hilarious parody of himself), but I found these amusing.
Nonetheless, CRYPTONOMICON is a bit foggy in its moral messages. Instead of using the word "Japan," Stephenson always uses "Nippon," thus instead of "Japanese" one finds "Nipponese." It seems to at least this reader that Stephenson is trying to avoid blaming Japan for its actions in World War II as to not offend a Japanese audience for his book. Nonetheless, there are parts in the book where Stephenson does speak of the horrors inflicted by the "Nipponese" army in Nanking and New Guinea, so perhaps he isn't an apologist for imperial Japan. One other hazy moral point is that Stephenson draws short of outright criticism of US intelligence activites, and its most infamous organization the National Security Agency. He merely dances around the point that although fifty years ago codebreakers saved the world from Hitler, nowadays they are more dedicated to economic espionage and violating the privacy of individuals than serving democracy. These two issues should have been presented more clearly, so that the reader can see who is good and who is bad in each plotline of the book and in real-life. Stephenson does however give a delightful view of the McCarthy-ish creation of the NSA in Comstock's diatribe against "communist homos," but it comes very late in the book and doesn't change the preceding 800 pages.
For all its complex plot mechanics and geek subculture, CRYPTONOMICON is surprisingly lowbrow. There is an uncomfortable amount of profanity and pointless sex which is rather not like Stephenson. The book also lacks the wealth of gee-whiz ideas which characterize his earlier works. SNOW CRASH wasn't exactly great literature, but it did have a wide range of futuristic notions that are only now coming into being.
Well, CRYPTONOMICON was certainly a let-down to me. For those unfamiliar with Neal Stephenson's writing, I would wholeheartedly recommend SNOW CRASH. For fans of Stephenson who wish to move on to CRYPTONOMICON, I would suggest waiting for its rumoured sequel to come out and seeing from its reviews whether the second volume makes the first worth reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 168 69 70 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Cryptonomicon
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (Hardcover - May 1 1999)
Used & New from: CDN$ 6.90
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews