The Incomparable

69: Love Conquers All, But So Do Guns


  the incomparable podcast number 69 [TS]

  December 2011 [TS]

  welcome back to the uncomfortable I am [TS]

  Jason smell your host we are convening [TS]

  another edition of the uncomfortable [TS]

  book club and yet again i believe this [TS]

  is our fourth thousand-page long book in [TS]

  a row [TS]

  fortunately our next book is stephen [TS]

  king's book about the Kennedy [TS]

  assassination in time travel which is [TS]

  like 20 pages right also a thousand-page [TS]

  oh god help anyway [TS]

  today we are going to talk about ream d [TS]

  which is how you pronounce it [TS]

  by the way we checked Neal Stephenson [TS]

  has a video where he calls it [TS]

  md it's really be its readme misspelled [TS]

  as Reedy by chinese hackers but we'll [TS]

  get to that Neal Stephenson's Ruby came [TS]

  out in September and we've all read it [TS]

  took us that long if you didn't read it [TS]

  don't why you want this podcast and if [TS]

  you don't want to know what happens in [TS]

  it [TS]

  please don't listen to this podcast [TS]

  because we're going to tell you what [TS]

  happens we're going to talk about what [TS]

  happens in the book so joining me to [TS]

  talk about what happens in the book [TS]

  which is the purpose of a book club just [TS]

  getting out there are serenity Caldwell [TS]

  hello hi Jason it's just a check you've [TS]

  read the book right [TS]

  I have indeed read the book the whole [TS]

  book the entire book right to be a week [TS]

  maybe we can have that show off haha [TS]

  well no it's okay i'm taking like two [TS]

  months to finish cryptonomicon so all [TS]

  right well actually never ends you know [TS]

  that book just keeps going goes yeah [TS]

  it's really a lot into the first page [TS]

  and it's I think I'm glad other voice [TS]

  you just heard his kind fleischmann hi [TS]

  Glenn did you read the local oh I read [TS]

  this entire book right back [TS]

  I like it that's that's that things are [TS]

  looking up for the book club [TS]

  dan borin it also joins us Daniel I [TS]

  assume you read the whole book this time [TS]

  i read the book the whole book and [TS]

  nothing but the book it Oh Mike so help [TS]

  me God and Scott McNulty hello Scott [TS]

  know you always read the book I didn't [TS]

  read the book this time and I hope that [TS]

  there are no spoilers because i'm [TS]

  looking forward to read it it's about a [TS]

  detective in New York in the 19th [TS]

  century [TS]

  oh is [TS]

  so excited so windy [TS]

  I guess we should start by talking about [TS]

  how this is a you know Neal Stephenson [TS]

  is an interesting author he's written [TS]

  some cyberpunk kind of stuff like snow [TS]

  crash he wrote a very very sci-fi novel [TS]

  his last time out which was an M he's [TS]

  done action like in a zodiac which is [TS]

  actually a book like a lot he did [TS]

  historical kind of you know with a with [TS]

  a sci-fi flavor but historical fiction [TS]

  with a baroque cycle so he's he's been [TS]

  all over the place and yet despite that [TS]

  I was surprised at the content of reem d [TS]

  because it starts out feeling like it's [TS]

  going to be your sort of standard neal [TS]

  stephenson even though it's set in the [TS]

  present day which i think only [TS]

  cryptonomicon well now he's yeah so yeah [TS]

  mostly it's obviously an economic on [TS]

  maybe some of those other thrillers that [TS]

  he sort of pseudonymous Lee wrote right [TS]

  right but um it's so but it more or less [TS]

  still it's like you know it starts out a [TS]

  little bit like a almost like the cory [TS]

  doctorow book about for the wind after [TS]

  the wind right which is about about gold [TS]

  farmers in a in a massively multiplayer [TS]

  game right you have the two of them [TS]

  apparently had some conversation where [TS]

  Cory said Cory was assessment for the [TS]

  wind and Neal said something like [TS]

  reading about gold farming and they both [TS]

  cackle door something so you're going to [TS]

  round up i think reading their books [TS]

  nearly simultaneously independent so my [TS]

  theory is that is that uh Neal [TS]

  Stephenson discovered what cory doctorow [TS]

  is writing about 500 pages in and said [TS]

  oh well then let's change what my book [TS]

  is about let's take a sharp left turn [TS]

  listen I i want to make a point at the [TS]

  outset that because what you're going [TS]

  through about genre is i think i got 300 [TS]

  pages into this behemoth before I [TS]

  actually understood that there was going [TS]

  to be no contra factual hypothetical [TS]

  particles or anything else and sort of [TS]

  the science fictional elements yeah I [TS]

  really it had because it has all the [TS]

  tropes and feels of that terrain and is [TS]

  isn't it [TS]

  extrapolation of the the most massively [TS]

  multiplayer online game culture rain [TS]

  which is the which is the invented more [TS]

  or less arco invented by by Richard [TS]

  fourth rescue is one of the main [TS]

  characters in the book it's not World of [TS]

  Warcraft right but it is like it and [TS]

  it's sort of the it's played a sort of [TS]

  the next evolution of that so there's a [TS]

  little bit of speculation in there but [TS]

  really it's it's our world although with [TS]

  Stevenson's traditional attention to [TS]

  detail that extrapolation is i would say [TS]

  hell of a lot better than ernest cline [TS]

  xin in ready player one in terms of what [TS]

  the Oasis is versus terrain is much you [TS]

  know i think is much more grounded [TS]

  there's a good hundred pages devoted to [TS]

  exactly what the terrain of the world is [TS]

  like with name [TS]

  thank you yaso so too [TS]

  there's so much here because there's a [TS]

  thousand pages and that's why this [TS]

  podcast will last for a thousand hours [TS]

  or maybe not but but I want to go back [TS]

  to so there isn't one is right it is i [TS]

  was surprised on the one hand that [TS]

  there's nothing you know counterfactual [TS]

  there's nothing that seems like it [TS]

  couldn't happen today which i think is [TS]

  interesting and then and then despite [TS]

  Stephenson having all these different [TS]

  genres that he's played in i was really [TS]

  surprised at the turn he took because we [TS]

  end up in the last half of this book in [TS]

  basically an action movie which is its [TS]

  well I think it's well done but it is [TS]

  funny because it's not what I expect [TS]

  from Neil Stephens now I don't know what [TS]

  I expected I guess I expected something [TS]

  less common and maybe a a weirder you [TS]

  know less common kind of genre instead [TS]

  of like guys with guns fighting other [TS]

  guys with guns but that's what we got [TS]

  I was surprised that certain most of [TS]

  neal stephenson's books he's kind of [TS]

  famous for going on tangents that are [TS]

  enjoyable to read but you really lasts a [TS]

  couple hundred pages and yeah like I'm [TS]

  not sure what's going on in this book he [TS]

  seems to have decided at one point okay [TS]

  i'm going to get rid of everything [TS]

  extraneous it's going to be all plot for [TS]

  400 pages and as I am I going to like it [TS]

  exactly [TS]

  put that in your pipe and smoke it but [TS]

  what I found really interesting along [TS]

  those lines is also that like you start [TS]

  out not only do you start thinking the [TS]

  plots going in one direction but there [TS]

  are certain characters that you start [TS]

  out thinking okay this gets pretty [TS]

  important and then you know some of [TS]

  those characters don't make it all the [TS]

  way through the book but like so like [TS]

  solace solace boyfriend right [TS]

  oh he was pegged for death let's be fair [TS]

  yeah but on the flip side there are [TS]

  other characters you think are totally [TS]

  like extraneous right like I mean like [TS]

  you know cough [TS]

  yes it's so cool officer or I love III [TS]

  thought even I thought even Abdallah [TS]

  Jones of course who is sort of caught [TS]

  topless in this random you know we'll go [TS]

  through the plot i'm sure a little bit [TS]

  he's sort of seems like a threat like a [TS]

  random character to encounter like he's [TS]

  there is a plot device right and then he [TS]

  turns into this hugely important major [TS]

  character throughout the rest of the [TS]

  book it's like a relay race though is [TS]

  like they're running this isn't this is [TS]

  like an ultramarathon and their [TS]

  characters are running running and only [TS]

  a few of them like zula for instance [TS]

  makes the way all the way through it and [TS]

  make an excellent review [TS]

  yeah Peter hands off to Abdullah [TS]

  Abdullah becomes that takes up that [TS]

  missing character position you know it's [TS]

  really ok here we go well now we got [TS]

  zulu natal Ivanovic sort of starts off [TS]

  as being kind of important and then you [TS]

  know he's he dies going [TS]

  marlin and I do know your name to the [TS]

  who said something about characters who [TS]

  are so significant and then is willing [TS]

  to to murder their darlings you know he [TS]

  sets up these from Yvonne is a great [TS]

  character and gets crazier and crazier [TS]

  and then he is called and maybe it's a [TS]

  whole new bill he exits on a high note [TS]

  you don't want to be mean you can't get [TS]

  any crazier than that certain level of [TS]

  crazy for a while [TS]

  what I really like about ream d is [TS]

  actually I can't compare it to lost in a [TS]

  way except it's lost except everything [TS]

  comes together at the end but makes a [TS]

  lot of sense because you have these [TS]

  pages upon pages of these various [TS]

  characters backstory you get a character [TS]

  Olivia that's introduced to the middle [TS]

  of the book for you know you're like [TS]

  okay where did she come from she is not [TS]

  been mentioned at all previous to this [TS]

  and you just have to be patient and [TS]

  trust that she's going to get woven into [TS]

  the story appropriately and she does [TS]

  that I think happens with most of these [TS]

  characters [TS]

  oh yeah then you end up with you know [TS]

  Sheamus Costello later on [TS]

  who's sort of you know comes up like 710 [TS]

  yeah i would order the characters that [TS]

  are introduced later in the book are [TS]

  better than only all but a handful of [TS]

  ones that you meet near the outset like [TS]

  the characterizations get more [TS]

  interesting by and the and the uh you [TS]

  know the military man I mean they're [TS]

  they're good kind of archetypes to yeah [TS]

  well i mean but i loved for example i [TS]

  love the duality in the this whole thing [TS]

  sort of starts off the beginning and [TS]

  kinda gets under woman between the two [TS]

  writers Donald and Devin you know I'm so [TS]

  that part it is but it makes know if [TS]

  there's no plot [TS]

  they're really like you kept expecting [TS]

  that to go in more of a direction [TS]

  wait a second i just realized i think he [TS]

  did something to us since we've only had [TS]

  the opportunity in our lives and may [TS]

  never have a chance to read this entire [TS]

  book again because we have jobs and [TS]

  things it's possible that if you go back [TS]

  and read the book closely that the two [TS]

  riders approach to fiction is actually [TS]

  mirror two elements the book as you said [TS]

  that I realized oh he might be playing [TS]

  with us and the two writers are actually [TS]

  contending through the plot of the book [TS]

  some things that are implausible and [TS]

  follow one path and something follow [TS]

  another it's possible but now we have to [TS]

  read the book a couple more times so I [TS]

  mean that's an interesting reading of it [TS]

  i think that somebody could go back and [TS]

  no I mean but I i think there is a yeah [TS]

  there's an interesting reason there with [TS]

  the tensions of like you know sort of [TS]

  popcorn me plot vs I think that's more [TS]

  ground date and those are sort of two [TS]

  things that are clearly a war with [TS]

  Stevenson himself in this book that's a [TS]

  good catch going honda that's very very [TS]

  good because you've got you've got just [TS]

  to touch on this for a second [TS]

  you've got d squared who is this [TS]

  completely just arrogant a Cambridge [TS]

  dawn who is writes a I guess limited [TS]

  amount of fantasy but it's incredibly [TS]

  impeccably researched and Tolkien right [TS]

  yeah and then you've got for catalytic [TS]

  or don't just look brings them out and [TS]

  he's a fantasy not and it it is an [TS]

  internally consistent and he just cranks [TS]

  out book and george george RR martin of [TS]

  course no 26 year I meri teri about [TS]

  quantity alright i'm sorry you know it's [TS]

  the quantity and the sort of all right [TS]

  yeah you got this very easy he's not [TS]

  here after speed notice george RR martin [TS]

  has more consistency know he is a he is [TS]

  a pulpit [TS]

  to see novelist like a like a 1 terry [TS]

  brooks or uh honorary salvatori ok there [TS]

  you know I mean the guy is like the guys [TS]

  who write like the D&D books right like [TS]

  the novelization of all that and just [TS]

  crank those suckers out the level above [TS]

  admit he's making real money so that's [TS]

  part of making real money but he's not [TS]

  necessarily be putting your great i'm [TS]

  not sure he's not being real money until [TS]

  he until Easter with to raising its your [TS]

  right right yeah he's making it up in [TS]

  volume i can see the point but he [TS]

  popularizing the the all the ideas that [TS]

  the the dawn has he's the one who kind [TS]

  of popularizers that makes it accessible [TS]

  and it is it is a part of the success so [TS]

  we're going to take Glenn's idea about [TS]

  these two warring parts of you know [TS]

  maybe it's an evil neal stephenson's [TS]

  mind it's also interesting because [TS]

  because the offer all of the highfalutin [TS]

  this of the dawn the fact is it's the [TS]

  it's the other guy who makes it all [TS]

  successful even though he breaks some of [TS]

  the things that are in and and was back [TS]

  in right he has to come back in and fit [TS]

  everything in the end right one there's [TS]

  the Apostle pakka lips which has thank [TS]

  you for what is to come forward green [TS]

  that that was pretty good [TS]

  that entire section of the book where [TS]

  they're just like know all of these [TS]

  words have no adequate molecule meetings [TS]

  and they often be rewritten and anywhere [TS]

  that's your hundred-page digression [TS]

  although it does serve as a plot purpose [TS]

  because the idea is that there's this [TS]

  kind of war of the war the war [TS]

  yeah of the different colors yeah I want [TS]

  to come back to that we get the point [TS]

  the plot because i have some issues with [TS]

  it but well it's it's a fascinating [TS]

  it's a fascinating digression now but [TS]

  it's also somewhat the catalyst for for [TS]

  a lot of this true enemy and mirrors yes [TS]

  so structurally eat how this so there's [TS]

  so much here there's too much [TS]

  let us let us sum up so the plot here is [TS]

  I think you can summarize it it's [TS]

  actually a very simple plot right is [TS]

  there's of itself it's a story of a [TS]

  family and some people in it and in the [TS]

  end the family comes back there is an [TS]

  overarching thing about the fourth rest [TS]

  family I really might open actually i [TS]

  love i have that it starts i love that [TS]

  opening chapter [TS]

  we're thanksgiving and it's this guy [TS]

  who's like kind of on the outs with his [TS]

  family and you don't know why and it [TS]

  turns out it's because he left home and [TS]

  became successful but but in a sort of a [TS]

  questionable way it and you know it's [TS]

  just it's fascinating and then there's [TS]

  the his niece who is also kind of an [TS]

  outsider and the texture of that like [TS]

  the mud out because they're out in in [TS]

  like Missouri right and now it's a Iowa [TS]

  Iowa alright so there in the Midwest and [TS]

  it's and it's cold and it's muddy and [TS]

  they're shooting at cans and bottles and [TS]

  stuff after a while the Thanksgiving [TS]

  dessert is being served or something and [TS]

  it's just I love the texture of it and I [TS]

  thought you know what this is not what I [TS]

  expected from you'll see even somebody [TS]

  gonna go with it because i really [TS]

  enjoyed that part of it well so that the [TS]

  story so he's I mean so here's the only [TS]

  the very bare-bones one which is that he [TS]

  and another follow developed a world of [TS]

  warcraft like game he winds up hiring is [TS]

  nice after meeting her at this gathering [TS]

  she has a boyfriend who's kind of a [TS]

  slightly asperger e idiot and needs to [TS]

  raise some money fast because he's [TS]

  overextended the real estate market gets [TS]

  hooked up with Russian mafia a virus [TS]

  infects machine destroy some of the [TS]

  Russian mafias information and then you [TS]

  wind up in this worldwide trip is that [TS]

  people get carried along to China [TS]

  because this crazy russian guy this sort [TS]

  of mafioso wants to looks like his house [TS]

  of cards is falling apart [TS]

  he wants to track down the author of the [TS]

  virus whose he decides to personally [TS]

  blame for all these ills they wind up [TS]

  that's how the whole first arc of the [TS]

  story is getting to China figuring this [TS]

  out tracking down the people who wrote [TS]

  the rim d virus which infected the [TS]

  Russian systems unintentionally and a [TS]

  lot of other people stuff they get there [TS]

  then you hand off to the next part [TS]

  because they go in expecting to kill all [TS]

  these room d virus writers these hackers [TS]

  or Stewart holding data free ransom and [TS]

  instead they run into a muslim terrorism [TS]

  cell in China this industrial or [TS]

  commercial City they wanted firing up [TS]

  firing on that apartment full of Muslims [TS]

  and Islamic terrorists who are planning [TS]

  to blow stuff up and then you get the [TS]

  handoff and so zula Richards nice [TS]

  there's a programmer her boyfriends kill [TS]

  the Russian mafioso is killed [TS]

  Zula is handed off [TS]

  to Abdullah Jones and then takes the [TS]

  ball any runs where he goes he goes it [TS]

  goes and they wound up traveling again [TS]

  you know a large distances gets them out [TS]

  of China eventually into Canada where [TS]

  through a large series of adventures [TS]

  they finally wind up crossing the border [TS]

  through an area that Richard fourth rass [TS]

  when he was a drug runner before you [TS]

  started the video game company had [TS]

  figured that was a way to avoid were [TS]

  controlled by going through old mines [TS]

  and meanwhile a British spy who's going [TS]

  to involve the China tracks and they're [TS]

  Richard tracks them down and Richards [TS]

  family the rest of them wind up being [TS]

  sort of exactly survivalists but [TS]

  fundamentalist living on the other side [TS]

  of this mining tunnel where it comes out [TS]

  so you get Islam Islamic radicals [TS]

  killing people across Canada joining [TS]

  together crossing into America and [TS]

  hitting the salt of the earth religious [TS]

  fundamentalists for the big final [TS]

  showdown what you think that's pretty [TS]

  good pretty good though [TS]

  that's pretty good friend to sort of the [TS]

  main skills and apply its think there's [TS]

  two sides of the first is like we learn [TS]

  all about the video game we learn all [TS]

  about the culture and whatever and [TS]

  they're on their way to try and always [TS]

  trying to stop in the second half is [TS]

  essentially you know Muslim extremists [TS]

  on the run terminating in this sort of [TS]

  run across the border yet no that's [TS]

  that's exactly it you've got you've got [TS]

  half the book which is setting up the [TS]

  the you know multiplayer universe and [TS]

  the gold farmers in China and trying to [TS]

  figure all that out and then the second [TS]

  half is largely this action story [TS]

  involving the terrorists in canada and [TS]

  crossing the border and all of that it [TS]

  turns out you need to know almost [TS]

  nothing about the entire video game [TS]

  backstory in order to understand the [TS]

  second half of the book that pretty much [TS]

  disappears after back-to-back yeah right [TS]

  it becomes a communications tool later [TS]

  as opposed to a plot point Walton and [TS]

  not to mention you know hundreds of [TS]

  pages there and there's literally [TS]

  hundreds of pages where Richard who sort [TS]

  of his setup as the main character in [TS]

  the first you know hundred pages just [TS]

  not there's no 40 years he goes away [TS]

  yeah by the book might be about him and [TS]

  I kept waiting for him to come back I'm [TS]

  like that word where we're going to go [TS]

  back to him right [TS]

  I said it's it's like lost each [TS]

  character has their section it's amazing [TS]

  what kind of a head-fake an author can [TS]

  give a reader in the sense that [TS]

  we start at the very beginning of the [TS]

  book with Richard fourth rest and then [TS]

  by the end of that chapter zula and [TS]

  Peter have pulled up and he's befriend [TS]

  befriended them a little better said [TS]

  hello to them and and and i think they [TS]

  go somewhere and it's funny because [TS]

  without that chapter [TS]

  you could probably you would probably go [TS]

  in assuming that zula is the main [TS]

  character but he gives you this head [TS]

  fake where he says no no this is richard [TS]

  fourth-fastest that is the is the main [TS]

  character here and he's not do list the [TS]

  main characters her book is this is [TS]

  really soon but absolutely Richard [TS]

  bookends it is facilitating plot element [TS]

  but it's and she's a great i think she's [TS]

  a great character I mean she does things [TS]

  that are extreme but not unrealistic you [TS]

  can say I can't believe that aerotrain [TS]

  refugee adopting America's our parents [TS]

  adopted parents killed gone through all [TS]

  this managed to get her in on and [TS]

  whip-smart you can see her being that [TS]

  resourceful it's not like you know the [TS]

  girl her or something it's like it's a [TS]

  real so i'm sticking up for Mythbusters [TS]

  are it's it's things that somebody [TS]

  pushed to extremist with capabilities [TS]

  would do she just sort of just low-tech [TS]

  smart things right and she gets a couple [TS]

  of lucky breaks but he also just [TS]

  realizes when there's an opportunity and [TS]

  knows when attenuates for it yeah well [TS]

  you have that nice section when they're [TS]

  all trapped in the basement [TS]

  they've this is at the point where [TS]

  they've been locked to two chains and [TS]

  the broth Russian mafia is going to to [TS]

  go kill the Chinese hackers and the [TS]

  she's trapped with two other hackers who [TS]

  instantly take out lock-picking tools or [TS]

  I guess she she gives great yeah she [TS]

  gives him her Bobby their hair pins and [TS]

  they instantly start lock kicking but [TS]

  you notice she not being a hacker is not [TS]

  well versed in the art of lock-picking [TS]

  it does not spend her days idly [TS]

  practicing so she actually has to wait [TS]

  for them it's just a nice touch it's [TS]

  like no not all three characters are [TS]

  expert lock Pickers it's just the same [TS]

  as a hobby certain people pick up right [TS]

  well but the to the fact that she's [TS]

  smart and does things like I mean the [TS]

  one that got me was when she's locked in [TS]

  the bathroom of the i rise in China and [TS]

  she writes the long note and sticks it [TS]

  in the drainpipe just thinking like hail [TS]

  mary hey maybe somebody will find this [TS]

  and I kind of felt like you know reading [TS]

  that ever [TS]

  reading in thinking and it sounds like [TS]

  that's just kind of a throwaway plot [TS]

  point and maybe someone will find it [TS]

  like way way down the road or whatever [TS]

  and then I sort of forgot about it and [TS]

  then came back and actually made it [TS]

  actually turns out to be important [TS]

  i also got to say I think this book is [TS]

  also Sokolov's as well like he's a [TS]

  strong second player he cums in you [TS]

  think at some of these Russian heavies [TS]

  me totally stereotypical and he is [TS]

  remarkably resourceful he's addy is [TS]

  somehow a decent man even though his [TS]

  former Spetsnaz not even though he kills [TS]

  people [TS]

  he has the keys the kind of guy that's [TS]

  always in books of this sort he has a [TS]

  kind of honor a co-designer whole yeah [TS]

  something's obviously with the soul [TS]

  yeah it's not exactly pretty goal [TS]

  because he's doing things that are [TS]

  logical and sensible his big problem he [TS]

  doesn't kill people out of anger he [TS]

  kills them out of necessity to protect [TS]

  the client or protect himself and to [TS]

  further the mission and he's and his [TS]

  dynamic with ivana right where he's like [TS]

  slowly certifying this guy pretty sure [TS]

  that he's actually going crazy and [TS]

  trying to like figure out how do we get [TS]

  out of this situation because there's [TS]

  the people above on of we're going to be [TS]

  really pissed off when they find out [TS]

  what happened [TS]

  how are we going to get out of this [TS]

  saves from three days of the Condor [TS]

  moment in there where Sokolov's like [TS]

  well they want me to go out to this ship [TS]

  but this is not always goes they tell [TS]

  you to go to the ship something goes [TS]

  wrong they shoot you [TS]

  she never know she never knows no Olivia [TS]

  never knows what happened to me somethin [TS]

  went wrong it's like I'm not going to do [TS]

  the thing they tell me to do I thought [TS]

  he was gonna die there [TS]

  there is no way he was gonna die he he [TS]

  knew it [TS]

  yeah I know yeah the one hand you think [TS]

  he's like oh he's too clever for that [TS]

  but on the other hand you like I mean [TS]

  people died in this book right and so it [TS]

  would have been out of the question for [TS]

  him to be like well he served his plot [TS]

  purpose you know maybe he's gonna bite [TS]

  it here he doesn't mean that's nice no [TS]

  but it's nice to have that tension right [TS]

  like there's too many too many like [TS]

  action movies where it's like what this [TS]

  is the hero he can't die obviously right [TS]

  you know he's the protagonist we're [TS]

  going to see him through all the way to [TS]

  the end but whenever you know an author [TS]

  doesn't mind killing off their [TS]

  characters as we've seen several times [TS]

  earlier in the book you you get a little [TS]

  worried for the characters that you kind [TS]

  of like right because you're not sure [TS]

  they did easily they could kill them off [TS]

  I can't believe nobody has mentioned [TS]

  show [TS]

  gore yeah I said I don't like this [TS]

  pronouncement drunk or the Hungarian [TS]

  Hungarian hacker rather lovely villa to [TS]

  love Lord kilgorn he's loved Lord I like [TS]

  all the secondary characters in this in [TS]

  this wonderful look well I and then [TS]

  chocolate is another good example of [TS]

  somebody who's like kind of seems like [TS]

  well as he comes in with the bad guys [TS]

  maybe he's important maybe not and then [TS]

  turns out to be another very major [TS]

  character and i love i love the Triad [TS]

  that he force with he forms with you she [TS]

  and Marlon right like you know where [TS]

  they're on the ship and they're likely [TS]

  candidate the engineer and yeah i love i [TS]

  love that sort of unlikely pairing the [TS]

  deal is everybody is incredibly [TS]

  pragmatic you notice that in this book [TS]

  there are few insane people like [TS]

  Abdullah Jones and and it off but [TS]

  everybody else is like okay problem [TS]

  happening how do I get out tonight huh [TS]

  well you know moose and squirrel have [TS]

  chosen scroll a bomb final logo want the [TS]

  bomb how do I get out alive [TS]

  I jumped through a window Abdul Jones [TS]

  may be insane because he's a terrorist [TS]

  but he is very practical as well right [TS]

  here lyrics talking like he's one more [TS]

  very smartly pregnant in fact he is so [TS]

  business like that one of the things I [TS]

  really enjoyed about his scenes where he [TS]

  gathers the various the various guys [TS]

  first company's initial crew and then [TS]

  he's got the ones who are sort of like [TS]

  the one of the terrorists and be [TS]

  together like well I BTW if if they ever [TS]

  call me I'm in Canada but if they ever [TS]

  call me for a job I'm there knowing that [TS]

  nobody's ever called him and then he [TS]

  calls them into like oh okay all right [TS]

  for the garage haha he's he's but he's [TS]

  kind of like sociopathically charming [TS]

  right like he's got net but he's [TS]

  professional and what strikes me is that [TS]

  some of the people he's working with or [TS]

  not and you can sense a he he hates them [TS]

  right just like they don't I got to use [TS]

  the ladies like you got your lucky its [TS]

  hard to find good help right I don't [TS]

  know there's like Rapids B&C players [TS]

  he's got the razor was killed with a CD [TS]

  by the way but he's got right he's going [TS]

  to make sure she's got yellow shirts [TS]

  well I also likes I can't remember who [TS]

  describes him as this I think it's [TS]

  either a either Sheamus or Olivia but [TS]

  someone points out that he's not likely [TS]

  he's not a martyr right [TS]

  he thinks he's too thinks he's too [TS]

  valuable right you keep saying he'll [TS]

  wait for them the right moment but it's [TS]

  never the right moment you get the [TS]

  impression he's kind of maybe kind of a [TS]

  coward like it in deep inside and sort [TS]

  of like thinks he's really smart but [TS]

  he's also kind of untouchable and then [TS]

  he sort of slowly sees his plans all [TS]

  fall apart even though they're very [TS]

  carefully laid and he's devoted all [TS]

  these time to the men in one monkey [TS]

  wrench in the plan and everything goes [TS]

  to hell yeah you know what i would say [TS]

  there's other arc of the story which is [TS]

  that I think what I think one of the [TS]

  things that I'm he's playing with his he [TS]

  creates these remarkable like I would [TS]

  argue in the past that used to have a [TS]

  couple of good characters in a [TS]

  Stephenson book and everyone else sort [TS]

  of window dressing and it's everything [TS]

  in the service of the plot and you know [TS]

  there's a lot of movie mannequins around [TS]

  in this he's developed only a few really [TS]

  good simultaneous plots and a whole [TS]

  bunch of really great characters and [TS]

  sort of moves them all around the board [TS]

  so sometimes you have things like the [TS]

  video game being predominant and your [TS]

  focus on very plot e sorts of things [TS]

  understand the way of the world he's got [TS]

  this whole thing going on we're trying [TS]

  to the wharf realignment on the side and [TS]

  then you've got all the stuff where it's [TS]

  very strongly character-driven like this [TS]

  is not how you would imagine someone [TS]

  would write the scene but this is how [TS]

  would probably play out like Azula and [TS]

  Abdullah stuff where she actually [TS]

  respects her because she's on her AGame [TS]

  right she's somebody who if she were [TS]

  inside he'd be absolutely pleased to [TS]

  have you know working with him so one of [TS]

  the things that are this that did remind [TS]

  me of other neal stephenson stuff you [TS]

  mentioned the boat there are there are [TS]

  segments one of things i always liked [TS]

  about him and especially the baroque [TS]

  cycle is there there are segments of of [TS]

  the books he writes that he willfully [TS]

  commits to and that they they take on a [TS]

  life of their own and they're not that [TS]

  important to book and he could just move [TS]

  things along and say you know suffice it [TS]

  to say they were on a boat and a boat [TS]

  scene struck me as that it's like it [TS]

  suddenly we're in a totally different [TS]

  book which is there are people and [TS]

  they're stuck in a boat and they have no [TS]

  gas and they're drifting in the South [TS]

  China Sea and that none of them know how [TS]

  to be on a boat and they don't know [TS]

  and that was great and it's so you know [TS]

  again that's like a whole very well [TS]

  first off it's practically life of pi [TS]

  but it's it's there you know and he [TS]

  commits to it and and those characters [TS]

  and we've invested in you know that he [TS]

  doesn't get that shirt ripped and I feel [TS]

  I felt like that when they when they [TS]

  crash-land the jet in in canada in the [TS]

  snowy back reina de yeah and they had [TS]

  and they find a you know like I'm [TS]

  disused you know shut down like mining [TS]

  camp and they're there for a while and [TS]

  then they been and then the guys come [TS]

  back and they've killed some people and [TS]

  stolen there's there there's smoke truck [TS]

  or whatever and then they use that that [TS]

  was fully committed to in a way that i [TS]

  really like how he can kind of take the [TS]

  set pieces and compartmentalize them and [TS]

  and really commit to them so that you [TS]

  get engrossed and and it's really you [TS]

  know i said this about a few authors [TS]

  that i really like it feels like that [TS]

  could be a whole books worth of an idea [TS]

  and he just tosses it off as you know a [TS]

  couple hundred pages inside this or a [TS]

  hundred pages inside this thousand-page [TS]

  book [TS]

  well that's the same thing with the with [TS]

  the word realignment I mean ready player [TS]

  one you know would have fit neatly [TS]

  inside a few chapters of this book in [TS]

  terms of the amount of plot [TS]

  sophistication and the length [TS]

  yeah yeah ready player one through five [TS]

  importantly that's the thing that [TS]

  strikes me about Stephenson having read [TS]

  2.55 of his novels I is oriental decimal [TS]

  places well i know well as iphone pages [TS]

  but it's interesting because a lot of a [TS]

  lot of the time when i was reading this [TS]

  book and then we're not was also reading [TS]

  snow crash and now cryptonomicon it [TS]

  feels like if he had wanted to this [TS]

  could very easily been a george RR [TS]

  martin let's write five or six books [TS]

  about this topic but Stephenson phone [TS]

  seems to find a way to craft a coherent [TS]

  narrative over the course of one book [TS]

  that doesn't necessarily feel like he [TS]

  should be chopping it up into segments [TS]

  which I find interesting is a lot of [TS]

  mechanisms running I think that's the [TS]

  thing is he's a he's an incredible [TS]

  watchmaker in his worst books the hot [TS]

  springs go out of control and destroy [TS]

  the inside your kind of left with like [TS]

  what the [TS]

  like the end of cryptonomicon i will not [TS]

  spoil it for you ready I'm left going [TS]

  like there were a lot of plots and they [TS]

  all unraveled at the end I never felt [TS]

  like a Stephenson's worse problems while [TS]

  he was bad attending yeah always been [TS]

  bad endings [TS]

  he's all like he's gotten he's gotten [TS]

  better i mean i think i think baroque [TS]

  cycle through an M through 3d he's shown [TS]

  progress in each of those I was not [TS]

  horribly disappointed at the end of this [TS]

  is like it's what i would say obviously [TS]

  it was like 40 disappointed culminates [TS]

  in a huge climactic fight right like you [TS]

  know just exactly what you expect to get [TS]

  a nice little day newmont at the end [TS]

  where it sort of wraps up what happens [TS]

  to the characters in case you're curious [TS]

  that's right and and that's that like [TS]

  you know he's I think you know knowing [TS]

  when to stop has always been his problem [TS]

  and I think either he's got a you know [TS]

  an editor who's like hey Neal you got [TS]

  plenty here this is good wrap it up or [TS]

  he's just sort of figured out like oh [TS]

  yeah I've come to the end here I was [TS]

  really impressed about how the [TS]

  ridiculous amount of plot and the [TS]

  ridiculous amount of characters kind of [TS]

  came together at the end because you [TS]

  really you have them coming from all [TS]

  angles you even have Marlon yuxia you [TS]

  have them winding up in the same place [TS]

  in Iowa it's just impressive how how he [TS]

  makes the travels and the fact that like [TS]

  through this entire book I had no clue [TS]

  what was going to happen next [TS]

  couldn't even fathom it I assumed like [TS]

  with the terrorists all right they're [TS]

  going to get to Canada and maybe the US [TS]

  but the rest of the characters no idea [TS]

  well he you find that later again if you [TS]

  if i have the gumption someday to read [TS]

  this book i have read and then I think [TS]

  two or three times and there are lots of [TS]

  breadcrumb see plants when officers [TS]

  tried before shot to win but she [TS]

  realized this like going back and [TS]

  looking a little bit like oh yeah you [TS]

  know back there in the first scene he's [TS]

  planting the seed you know yeah he was a [TS]

  of Richard was a drug runner he figured [TS]

  out this great way to get through the [TS]

  border without having to build its own [TS]

  tunnels and so you know over that period [TS]

  of time it's like you realize oh that's [TS]

  where his brother settle to sort of the [TS]

  black black black sheep of the family [TS]

  the one is really far out there and as [TS]

  you go along you realize these [TS]

  converging all of these crumbs to the [TS]

  resort in the north side of this tunnel [TS]

  and the homesteading people the [TS]

  fundamentalist on the south side and you [TS]

  can sort of feel it all sort of coming [TS]

  together and it's going to all pass [TS]

  do that through that tunnel one way or [TS]

  the other looks like a GPS right you [TS]

  know point and you've no point being [TS]

  that you have no idea what route it's [TS]

  actually going to take so here's my [TS]

  here's my highfalutin analysis of this [TS]

  which is I was struck by how much of [TS]

  this book is about people being [TS]

  culturally out of place it in in a in a [TS]

  foreign culture or out of alignment with [TS]

  their culture and i'll just run off a [TS]

  few examples you have the war of [TS]

  realignment which is all about people [TS]

  forming cultures and drawing lines [TS]

  between themselves that that actually [TS]

  comes out of this universe built by d [TS]

  squared which is then a lived-in by [TS]

  Skeletor who does not really have the [TS]

  same he doesn't really match it but on a [TS]

  personal level you get zula who is a an [TS]

  African child adopted by white people in [TS]

  in America you've got Abdullah Jones who [TS]

  is a I believe in african descent [TS]

  Welshman who converts to Islam and [TS]

  becomes a jihadist you've got Olivia who [TS]

  is an Englishwoman of Chinese descent [TS]

  which allows her to be turned into an [TS]

  operative for mi6 in Asia even though [TS]

  she's very English you've got Richard [TS]

  and Richards brothers who are both sort [TS]

  of like disaffected from culture the [TS]

  brothers are totally cut off from [TS]

  american society basically living in [TS]

  this homestead Richard is cut off from [TS]

  his family you know you've got it goes [TS]

  on and on the these where where so many [TS]

  people and so many situations in this [TS]

  book are about people who are not i mean [TS]

  on one level it's just they're not quite [TS]

  what you'd expect they're not quite [TS]

  they don't fit the mold but I think [TS]

  that's purposeful that that a lot of [TS]

  this almost everybody in this is [TS]

  somebody who is that what you show is [TS]

  from another part of China and has and [TS]

  culturally is complete [TS]

  really different from where she ends up [TS]

  and and she's missing lines like [TS]

  everybody in this book is a round peg [TS]

  strut that stuck in a square hole you [TS]

  and you get this with be scared Scotty [TS]

  squared and skeletor you already sort of [TS]

  mentioned d squared C squared the whole [TS]

  land and well and nobody's going to tag [TS]

  d squared is never as d square never [TS]

  play the video game and your is getting [TS]

  dragged and totally invested in there to [TS]

  build up contingency legions and [TS]

  skeletor doesn't know this highfalutin [TS]

  literary work because he's a whole pack [TS]

  and he gets dragged into this thing with [TS]

  arguments about apostrophes right right [TS]

  but anyway I think I think it's good you [TS]

  know I think Stephenson is that that's [TS]

  certainly an undercurrent here is that [TS]

  the these are all about people who are [TS]

  in who are not sort of what you'd expect [TS]

  in the role that therein and a and i [TS]

  love that I i think that i think that's [TS]

  great but I i think it's got to be the [TS]

  most obvious examples being sulla and [TS]

  Abdallah Jones who are not if they're [TS]

  not from where they're from and that [TS]

  some says something about that's part of [TS]

  their character and I think that's [TS]

  really interesting [TS]

  I mean but in database root for writing [TS]

  it creates tension right because they're [TS]

  different from all the people around [TS]

  them and that creates conflict and [TS]

  that's what drives the plot forward [TS]

  everybody's in that situation in this [TS]

  book that's why I think it's more than [TS]

  just him structuring it for conflict i [TS]

  think that he's he's trying to do this [TS]

  on purpose to have it this this book is [TS]

  in some way I think about being somebody [TS]

  who's out of place right down to the [TS]

  fact of somebody who doesn't understand [TS]

  an MMO can't really understand what's [TS]

  going on inside the MMO because they are [TS]

  not they don't fit in the culture it's [TS]

  all a cultural misfit even though even [TS]

  though the Russian even Ivana is kind of [TS]

  like broken he his bosses don't you know [TS]

  he's not behaving properly he doesn't [TS]

  fit in anymore and sokoloff doesn't [TS]

  really fit anymore because he's got this [TS]

  job but he doesn't really clearly he [TS]

  doesn't really fit what they're asking [TS]

  him to do which is it goes on and on it [TS]

  and it i just kept being fascinated by [TS]

  finding that every single person views [TS]

  themselves as being like disaffected [TS]

  from the the job they're in or the [TS]

  culture there in or they're different in [TS]

  some way you know and i I just I I [TS]

  that was that's my that's my take on it [TS]

  I don't like to talk about some of the [TS]

  characters we didn't like or like you [TS]

  know there are some characters that were [TS]

  disposable like Peter I think Peter the [TS]

  boyfriend as my boyfriend is great [TS]

  because he's sort of unlikable when you [TS]

  meet him and you figure well you know [TS]

  the character development [TS]

  we're gonna learn to understand why we [TS]

  should like him it's like no he's kind [TS]

  of a jerk he makes really bad decisions [TS]

  and they get worse and worse and finally [TS]

  he when he's killed i gotta say i love [TS]

  the fact that Ivana is like [TS]

  indifferently at times a gentleman and [TS]

  he thinks doula is worthy of respect [TS]

  because of how she comports herself and [TS]

  her intelligence and he even off despite [TS]

  being in this situation where he's crazy [TS]

  and he's lost all this money from the [TS]

  consortium he represents that is chasing [TS]

  to China he still trying to defend that [TS]

  notion so Peter is killed [TS]

  not because Peter did something wrong or [TS]

  croston he's killed because Yvonne up is [TS]

  offended that Peter has left his [TS]

  girlfriend chained by yvonne off [TS]

  downstairs to die and Peter should be [TS]

  there [TS]

  why does Peter steal the credit cards [TS]

  that gets him in this also he's got he's [TS]

  behind it's a mortgage thing days under [TS]

  these underwater he's underwater and [TS]

  he's worried he's gonna lose his loft [TS]

  and by extension that means that you [TS]

  can't run the thing is doing its like [TS]

  it's it's not that well defined but i [TS]

  think it's sort of supposed to be this [TS]

  like a bad reason [TS]

  well you haven't had a very casual thing [TS]

  instead of borrowing money from people [TS]

  selling it [TS]

  filing for bankruptcy is like when I [TS]

  used to do this I know how to do it [TS]

  I'm going to do one last haul my last [TS]

  job that I retire and causes everything [TS]

  else to happen [TS]

  yeah a sort of blend you do blend is the [TS]

  other thing is the thing that set this [TS]

  all in motion of course is Peter on the [TS]

  one hand then Richard who completely [TS]

  essentially innocently spreads rindy the [TS]

  virus so that it it triggers this event [TS]

  Peters callousness the casualness of can [TS]

  you give me a USB stick he hands in one [TS]

  and then that's where everything goes [TS]

  right don't forget don't forget Wallace [TS]

  in there to write the match has been lit [TS]

  a fleeting character who and yet we've [TS]

  got that chain right Wallace gives way [TS]

  to Avon of gives way to Jones you know [TS]

  and sort of you know everything goes [TS]

  downhill from there [TS]

  I like Wallace though as as briefly as [TS]

  we see him as well as long as you last [TS]

  yeah yeah I was surprised that the ex [TS]

  we killed by the mob the monster who is [TS]

  also the gamer I do kind of enjoy that [TS]

  enjoy that there is a rent like i enjoy [TS]

  that sort of bizarreness that bed comes [TS]

  with this fact that like you know at the [TS]

  view hand-waving oh it's a game it's [TS]

  really popular more popular in World of [TS]

  Warcraft and the people that we see [TS]

  playing it include the bookkeeper for [TS]

  the mob basically we get the name is [TS]

  Kelly realize it shames yeah the CIA [TS]

  operative I was thinking even just a [TS]

  throwaway character that Richard sees in [TS]

  the diner and he looks over he's like a [TS]

  coffee shop out visiting Skeletor right [TS]

  and there's a guy playing t rain and so [TS]

  he calls up you know his buddy at the at [TS]

  the office and says oh yeah how many [TS]

  people are logged on from this diner [TS]

  whatever like we got the impression that [TS]

  there's people out there in the middle [TS]

  of no Missouri or wherever he is [TS]

  visiting this guy who are playing this [TS]

  game this game is huge i can we talk [TS]

  let's talk about the word realign middle [TS]

  because I think that's an extremely [TS]

  interesting development in here which is [TS]

  to say basically they end up so like any [TS]

  you know game of this sort of a sort of [TS]

  you know promulgated on the idea that [TS]

  we've got good we got your characters [TS]

  and evil characters whether it's by A&E [TS]

  or something like warcraft you can be on [TS]

  the enzyme and all the sudden you know [TS]

  there is this sort of interesting [TS]

  realization that it doesn't really make [TS]

  sense because the people who are quote [TS]

  unquote evil aren't doing anything [TS]

  particular different from the people at [TS]

  work photon quote good so it's an [TS]

  arbitrary distinction actually says the [TS]

  same coin but they need it right because [TS]

  it makes the tension it makes the [TS]

  conflict in the game and so this war of [TS]

  realignment is shifting from instead of [TS]

  it being about good versus evil [TS]

  it's about something very different and [TS]

  I think you know without sort of delving [TS]

  directly into it i think it's about [TS]

  taste right now that's what it kind of [TS]

  comes down and it emerges from it it [TS]

  emerges from the game it's not intended [TS]

  by the game and it emerges from the fact [TS]

  that the game is being played by human [TS]

  beings who have differences and [TS]

  different worldviews that go way beyond [TS]

  picking when you set up the game well [TS]

  i'm going to be evil because I want to [TS]

  be one of those cool characters that's [TS]

  only available in evil [TS]

  well I think it kind of reflects on the [TS]

  game itself because when you think about [TS]

  the the reason why terrain was created [TS]

  in the first place is Richard basically [TS]

  says well you know why was popular and [TS]

  that's great but this basically gives us [TS]

  a way to monetize all [TS]

  these chinese gold farmers and make gold [TS]

  farming an actual legitimate profession [TS]

  see already you have that where the [TS]

  Americans are playing the game for [TS]

  completely different reason than the [TS]

  rest of the cut the rest of the world so [TS]

  you already have that imbalance and to [TS]

  bring in even more well you have the [TS]

  people who want to play the game as d [TS]

  squared envisioned it you know with you [TS]

  know with all old costuming and correct [TS]

  colors and things like that and then you [TS]

  have and and and this is a real tension [TS]

  with a lot of online games where it's [TS]

  like there's the people who want to play [TS]

  for the like the role-playing story [TS]

  elements and then there are the people [TS]

  that were there to play you know a [TS]

  hack-and-slash game and don't care [TS]

  really except the stories just there as [TS]

  a crutch right you know the world is [TS]

  there's a crunch and then there's the [TS]

  other people who are just really into [TS]

  everything that's that's you know [TS]

  created by that world and and that's a [TS]

  very I think that's a very real [TS]

  distinction in you know a lot of games [TS]

  that exists today and so it's kind of [TS]

  fascinating to see that taking on like [TS]

  what if those were to become the [TS]

  factions and I mean I don't know is [TS]

  there is there an implicit sort of class [TS]

  warfare almost between them [TS]

  given the representations that we get of [TS]

  like Donald and Devin you know as the [TS]

  two polarizing figures [TS]

  oh it certainly seems like adequately oh [TS]

  one of them lives in a castle and the [TS]

  other was in the trail [TS]

  yeah good point it's an excellent like [TS]

  they're both kind of majestic [TS]

  infrastructures in their own ways [TS]

  well and they're both kind of jackasses [TS]

  right i remember reading a remembering [TS]

  lord of the rings and then sort of [TS]

  Shannara and you know if I refined [TS]

  childhood recollections right so there's [TS]

  different kinds of things like sort of [TS]

  Shinar like yeah there was a mythos i [TS]

  think i got develop more but it was [TS]

  really like a big hack him up [TS]

  it was much more of a hack them up [TS]

  Vision Quest you know broad strokes [TS]

  thing versus you know for like a book [TS]

  created in order to enshrine languages [TS]

  with a grammar that a cut cambridge dawn [TS]

  had developed and attracts different [TS]

  people some people want first-person [TS]

  shooters that they just kill lots of [TS]

  stuff and I mean penny arcade the comic [TS]

  is constantly full of basically that [TS]

  tension between this is a really subtle [TS]

  game and look we have these scrolls and [TS]

  plant that kills y'all kill John [TS]

  and that's I think that's a constant [TS]

  tension between the sophistication of [TS]

  some aspects of game design and this [TS]

  desire to be highfalutin you know here's [TS]

  a virtual environment which we could do [TS]

  anything so why we just shooting people [TS]

  but it's like the constant arguments [TS]

  that we get over whether or not video [TS]

  games are art right you know Roger Ebert [TS]

  i know has delved into that pool and a [TS]

  variety of other people as well but is [TS]

  that idea is it is there some sort of [TS]

  higher can it can it reach a higher [TS]

  realm or is it just about killing people [TS]

  or is there are inherent in the idea of [TS]

  something even if it's just about [TS]

  killing people like you know that again [TS]

  this could be a whole book and yet it's [TS]

  sort of ends up being falls by the [TS]

  wayside as Randy progresses i have to [TS]

  say that I one thing i like about this [TS]

  novelties i'm assuming because of the [TS]

  way Neal Stephenson works that I learned [TS]

  a lot this was a day after school [TS]

  special about the Russian mob and [TS]

  chinese people living in different parts [TS]

  of the country and British Columbia's [TS]

  byways and highways you know what he was [TS]

  writing long features for wired like I [TS]

  believe he traveled around the world [TS]

  possibly twice once to follow [TS]

  fiber-optic and where it was being built [TS]

  in weird places like the middle of [TS]

  indonesian jungles and and another time [TS]

  we followed container ships you know [TS]

  like what it was the unit of container [TS]

  and how its developed and where they go [TS]

  and I feel like this is kind of the [TS]

  equivalent equivalent of that but it's [TS]

  the he went the the the detail is so [TS]

  refined [TS]

  I don't believe he made it up everybody [TS]

  here played massively multiplayer games [TS]

  before and not massively I'm not that I [TS]

  heavily now I mean I played games that [TS]

  have that multiplayer element the same [TS]

  serve you know like an MMORPG minus the [TS]

  first and that's not what you say I've [TS]

  played World of Warcraft once or twice [TS]

  alright wow I I'm i love you i have a [TS]

  little bit i played in the beta of world [TS]

  of warcraft which I realizes now since [TS]

  that was when my son was in utero that's [TS]

  like seven years ago now that their 7th [TS]

  anniversary i believe Josh my wife [TS]

  played that much more than me actually [TS]

  and then and then she had a baby and [TS]

  then there were two children and that [TS]

  was that for World of Warcraft but sort [TS]

  of a lot more time we did play at some [TS]

  and and and that gave me enough of a [TS]

  perspective on it I think 22 to get [TS]

  it's about but I wonder what that would [TS]

  be does this book make as much sense do [TS]

  you feel if you've never really played [TS]

  those games do you feel as if you [TS]

  understand what they're about by reading [TS]

  this doesn't have that kind of tour you [TS]

  know I'd feel speaking as someone who's [TS]

  never played an actual MMO but has [TS]

  played a lot of other games i think [TS]

  there's stuff that translates even in [TS]

  that two other you know from other sorts [TS]

  of gaming or for other interactions with [TS]

  people it there are very recognizable [TS]

  ideas in here and it's not a huge [TS]

  stretch in you you know especially [TS]

  someone who's universe kind of in gaming [TS]

  culture like I'm familiar enough with [TS]

  the tropes and thing and an element so [TS]

  that make up an MMO to sort of recognize [TS]

  them here and it seems pretty clear you [TS]

  know that this is a pretty accurate [TS]

  description of what goes on and it's not [TS]

  hard to extrapolate you know the kind of [TS]

  people that you're going to run into [TS]

  people like you know the trolls right [TS]

  who are there to just sort of do you [TS]

  know cause havoc to a certain extent and [TS]

  and proper rivers understand right yeah [TS]

  the griefers and you know all that I [TS]

  mean that's really interesting and I [TS]

  think I think what's fascinating to me [TS]

  about the world of T rain as its [TS]

  described is the sort of key that [TS]

  Richard hooks into in coming up with it [TS]

  which is let's take gold farming and [TS]

  legitimize it and and build our game [TS]

  around it right and not only do that but [TS]

  like you know basically in order to make [TS]

  sure that it works [TS]

  duplicate the exact same sort of [TS]

  structures that we deal with in real [TS]

  life if you had to farm gold what makes [TS]

  sense i mean it's if you if you're going [TS]

  to produce that kind of a game you need [TS]

  that kind of a structure to back it up [TS]

  you can't just randomly put gold there [TS]

  because somebody is going to figure out [TS]

  the algorithms and Exploited right but [TS]

  you wouldn't have to explain that in a [TS]

  book write and say like all the others [TS]

  golden shows up with you get into how it [TS]

  works and it's fascinating [TS]

  I've never done an important either so i [TS]

  have no idea how they play but I didn't [TS]

  feel I don't feel lost in the [TS]

  environment but i have to say i like [TS]

  again Stephenson is accuracy the fact [TS]

  that technical details were accurate was [TS]

  awesome especially after reading ready [TS]

  player one with impossible you know [TS]

  verizon see [TS]

  whatever crash yes and it's it borders [TS]

  on precondition I i like um one of the [TS]

  things that always struck me about about [TS]

  world of warcraft is the do you know [TS]

  where your character died is unlike him [TS]

  in a ready player one when your [TS]

  character dies and they're dead and you [TS]

  gotta start over [TS]

  yeah that would really haha umm you go [TS]

  into like a limbo state and you go back [TS]

  to where you were uh you know the last [TS]

  time off [TS]

  yeah you gotta go to run as a ghost and [TS]

  go back to you know it's you're [TS]

  basically a time penalty when you die [TS]

  and so I love how you know it's got its [TS]

  got a death mechanism and it's got an [TS]

  idol mechanism where Richard when he has [TS]

  taken a viewers when ya when he richard [TS]

  has taken by abdullah Jones and and [TS]

  dragged it basically across the border [TS]

  you know the last thing we see is his [TS]

  character which is the basically the god [TS]

  of terrain is it just auto walking back [TS]

  jogging back to his home i love that [TS]

  little detail [TS]

  yeah I i want to read my my favorite [TS]

  little passage from this book which i [TS]

  think you may be fine surprised about [TS]

  what part of this book it's from but it [TS]

  just made me laugh and it's so absurd [TS]

  and it's it describing so so donald d [TS]

  squared the the highfalutin cambridge [TS]

  Don who has his castle on the Isle of [TS]

  Man's he it says surrounded himself with [TS]

  toadies who are basically Society for [TS]

  Creative Anachronism type people and [TS]

  he's living as a consultant to a [TS]

  high-tech company he's living in a [TS]

  castle that is trying to be immaculate [TS]

  immaculately medieval so what happens if [TS]

  you want to contact him and and they've [TS]

  worked it out and this is my favorite [TS]

  passage which was like this so the email [TS]

  pipeline network like this down and [TS]

  Douglas the primary city of the Isle of [TS]

  Man the girlfriend of one of the [TS]

  medievalists who dwelled in a flat there [TS]

  i happen to rather like tampons would [TS]

  read these squares email as it came in [TS]

  filter out the junk and print out a hard [TS]

  copy of anything that seemed important [TS]

  and zip it up in a waterproof messenger [TS]

  bag when it came time to walk her dog [TS]

  she would stroll at the waterfront [TS]

  promenade until she reached the wii [TS]

  elephant train station its northern end [TS]

  where she would have [TS]

  the bag to the station nation with later [TS]

  handed over to the conductor of the [TS]

  narrow-gauge electrical train that wound [TS]

  its way from there up to the interior of [TS]

  the island at a certain point along the [TS]

  line it would be tossed out onto the [TS]

  sighting and later picked up by d [TS]

  squared is gamekeeper who would carry it [TS]

  up the hill and place its contents on [TS]

  the desk of the in-house troubadour who [TS]

  had translated into medieval on sea [TS]

  chicken and then sing and or recited to [TS]

  d squared at mealtime the lord of the [TS]

  manor within dictate a response that [TS]

  would follow the reverse route back down [TS]

  the hill to the girlfriends laptop and [TS]

  the internet [TS]

  oh wow it's a wonderful guy that might [TS]

  have been the most unrealistic part of [TS]

  the entire but I don't know some people [TS]

  actually it's correct their lives to be [TS]

  more like that larry ellison is built [TS]

  some kind of Japanese reconstruction on [TS]

  top of a little pop in woodside so yeah [TS]

  in order to get an email to larry [TS]

  ellison like me to send in just a few [TS]

  actions you actually have to assassinate [TS]

  three people to send email larry ellison [TS]

  it's pretty takes a big toll so be [TS]

  careful as I realize that's ridiculous [TS]

  but I mean there are lots of directors [TS]

  great it's like great detail but that's [TS]

  it so he's created his own kind of [TS]

  physical tr8 right space created this [TS]

  this replica of an age that never really [TS]

  existed [TS]

  why go into the internet when you can [TS]

  just buy a castle exactly but I love [TS]

  that when they need he goes into the you [TS]

  know into T rain he doesn't have shoes [TS]

  right but he doesn't need to buy them [TS]

  because they cost of these like I waste [TS]

  money on shoes I don't you choose here [TS]

  and that's fascinating know that I mean [TS]

  that's an interesting point right [TS]

  because the you this is this guy who who [TS]

  who insists upon you know authenticity [TS]

  right very similar to do like he wants [TS]

  to look real and yet when he goes into [TS]

  the game it's I don't want to waste [TS]

  money on shoes he has very little [TS]

  respect for the game at first right but [TS]

  it right and that's fascinating because [TS]

  it's a divergence and not you know he's [TS]

  a snob right like that's essentially [TS]

  what he is he looks down on all of this [TS]

  and so it's funny though that he forsake [TS]

  his own principles to a certain extent [TS]

  once he gets immersed in that world [TS]

  what's interesting to me there is he's [TS]

  completely snobbish about the game until [TS]

  Richard basically is like hey look you [TS]

  can earn money here you can pay for all [TS]

  these wonderful things that you [TS]

  I'm putting in your castle and you can [TS]

  help us build a world your knowledge of [TS]

  this culture is valuable [TS]

  right i mean but that essentially [TS]

  undermines to a certain extent right [TS]

  like because this whole thing is you [TS]

  know he didn't last and / yeah exactly [TS]

  exactly mr. I mean that six-shot you can [TS]

  sell out and make money but go right so [TS]

  we're back to that and so he's kind of [TS]

  saying that the taste is kind of a low [TS]

  in the end right you know like he [TS]

  doesn't you know he doesn't necessarily [TS]

  the only run skin deep [TS]

  well you know and if he's he's a Don [TS]

  who's running a food made money ready [TS]

  fantasy novels who's already sold out [TS]

  right I really didn't see it that way [TS]

  right [TS]

  he you know he think he like Tolkien [TS]

  he's come up with the language and you [TS]

  know the whole society and culture you [TS]

  know he's kind of like you kind of pic [TS]

  from is that guy who desperately wanted [TS]

  to be you know respected academically [TS]

  but even though he really secretly [TS]

  wanted to write all this like trashy [TS]

  fantasy so I want to talk about the end [TS]

  of the book because it does end in a [TS]

  hail of bullets and uh I don't read a [TS]

  lot of books that end with this much [TS]

  gunplay and there's like a lot of [TS]

  detailed I I thought it was strange that [TS]

  he was thinking uh experts on ammunition [TS]

  and and and weaponry in the [TS]

  acknowledgments but no no it i see why [TS]

  because it's incredibly detailed in it [TS]

  and I just wanted to know what you guys [TS]

  thought about the action sequence at the [TS]

  end we've gotta chase we have a couple [TS]

  different groups coming through the [TS]

  mountains there's a helicopter that gets [TS]

  shot down by a guy and then somebody [TS]

  blow something up but then there's our [TS]

  should go to your booby traps in tunnels [TS]

  and there's a UH exchange of gunfire on [TS]

  a hillside or around like a guy was on [TS]

  anymore mind grabbing his chest [TS]

  yeah and then and then there's the [TS]

  there's that you know the shack and then [TS]

  the houses in the settlement and their [TS]

  the terrorists coming down from through [TS]

  the air coming through the tunnel [TS]

  another the other terrorists were coming [TS]

  up the street into the neighborhood and [TS]

  I mean he has so many pieces and it's [TS]

  messy and but it's it is exciting [TS]

  um you know it's not what i expected i'm [TS]

  just wondering what you guys thought of [TS]

  that the the end because the ending [TS]

  drops all pretense of being about you [TS]

  know p whatever we've said this book is [TS]

  about it and in many ways it just comes [TS]

  down to people with guns getting in the [TS]

  right position so that they can shoot [TS]

  other people try mean I I've little I've [TS]

  read a lot of tom clancy I've heard a [TS]

  few I've read a few tom clancy's and [TS]

  there are some tom clancy's that that [TS]

  kind of you know the kind of read like [TS]

  this it and you know it it's very [TS]

  reminiscent of that and yet somehow I [TS]

  you know maybe I maybe I just maybe [TS]

  myself and caught within that war of [TS]

  taste and and wanted to be better than [TS]

  that but I mean it is gripped write the [TS]

  unit's gripping it's page-turning and I [TS]

  think you know he does a very good job [TS]

  of sort of not only making it just about [TS]

  what the hail of gunfire but also you [TS]

  know we do have some some relationship [TS]

  stuff going on in these last few pages [TS]

  because we have you know Richard [TS]

  thinking he's basically you know he's [TS]

  toast [TS]

  he's just happy that you know he got the [TS]

  Sula back and happy that she'll survive [TS]

  you know if he doesn't make it out and [TS]

  we get you know a number of other [TS]

  characters who just sort of are working [TS]

  towards some other goal and we get there [TS]

  their relationships and interactions [TS]

  with some of the other characters and I [TS]

  i was surprised in the end that I [TS]

  thought more of the characters that we [TS]

  liked we're going to bite it and in fact [TS]

  the only one who really the old we lose [TS]

  to right and they're both kind of minor [TS]

  characters I mean not in there you know [TS]

  importance but in their screen time [TS]

  yeah well i was i was kind of I thought [TS]

  he did such a great job i was far more [TS]

  interested i should say in the kind of [TS]

  the t-brain aspect of this because I [TS]

  thought it was so interesting and [TS]

  original and I was kind of disappointed [TS]

  when it i could it was there is a clear [TS]

  shift into ok now it's just going to be [TS]

  a thriller [TS]

  I mean it's a well-written thriller but [TS]

  I was hoping I thought the book could be [TS]

  so much more [TS]

  it was good but I wanted to be like [TS]

  amazing and I just kind of thought it [TS]

  ended kind of like a cliche [TS]

  well that was that was my feeling when [TS]

  they made the turn is that I started to [TS]

  think I wonder if this really is him [TS]

  realizing that cory doctorow did a whole [TS]

  book about gold farmers and and [TS]

  an MMO it you know in China and i also [TS]

  will do something different [TS]

  well i should point out you having for [TS]

  the win which I don't like to think I [TS]

  don't think there was a minority opinion [TS]

  at the time or only one also read it for [TS]

  the wind has you know Chinese American [TS]

  people and other strange nationalities [TS]

  spring the globe and conspiracies and [TS]

  mafioso and things being kicked down and [TS]

  people being killed unexpectedly in the [TS]

  middle of the book it's a big shaggy dog [TS]

  story to a very different kind of want a [TS]

  lot more political than this because I'm [TS]

  not sure there's a only the moral of [TS]

  this story is there don't live it [TS]

  don't be a terrorist on the left one [TS]

  killed exactly don't be late again vs [TS]

  you vs well I mean I did the family [TS]

  themes are august i think our are part [TS]

  of it that that you've got not just the [TS]

  family and the fourth rest family that [TS]

  have a lot of differences but in the end [TS]

  you know I know it's hokey but they that [TS]

  that is one of the messages here is like [TS]

  people pull together and they may have [TS]

  some differences but in the end you know [TS]

  the you stick with the people who matter [TS]

  to you and you see these different oddly [TS]

  paired people come together and you know [TS]

  that's sort of a theme of it but it's [TS]

  not exactly something kind of deep an [TS]

  earth-shattering you know the other one [TS]

  is that everyone wants to belong to [TS]

  something right so right all those [TS]

  outsiders exactly all the characters are [TS]

  looking for some connection which is [TS]

  also kind of cliche but you know it's a [TS]

  theme in lots of stuff and and we do end [TS]

  up with a lot of them paired off at the [TS]

  end right which I thought was a little [TS]

  little it turned into a little bit until [TS]

  I guess Shakespearean combinational [TS]

  couples everywhere [TS]

  yeah everybody's getting married at the [TS]

  end except for except for Richard a lot [TS]

  of love story hiding inches thousand off [TS]

  there is but not i mean not one that [TS]

  really makes any sense [TS]

  no it's mostly gen hey we're all I mean [TS]

  it's like okay so Olivia who i love i [TS]

  actually think is a really great [TS]

  character one of the funny things about [TS]

  Olivia's when she said on her mission [TS]

  she specifically told basically please [TS]

  don't have sex with anybody which is [TS]

  like hey wow that's what I'm just a lady [TS]

  is she makes equipment like James Bond [TS]

  gets to you and how come I don't ya at [TS]

  what I mean she's the most i like their [TS]

  relationship the best out of all the [TS]

  girls you because it's the only [TS]

  that has a substitute go through all of [TS]

  that and then and then there are the [TS]

  island right they swim to the Taiwanese [TS]

  island and and they you know well we're [TS]

  tired and you know we got to spend the [TS]

  night here [TS]

  alright and that's adding one of one of [TS]

  the things that my friends used to [TS]

  criticize Stephenson about in his [TS]

  earlier books is starring in gratuitous [TS]

  sex scenes all the time which i think is [TS]

  still a little i mean he doesn't [TS]

  cryptonomicon and in Snow Crash to a [TS]

  certain extent like it's just like out [TS]

  yeah it's probably the sexy in here like [TS]

  it doesn't it's kind of weird like it's [TS]

  it makes sense into a certain degree in [TS]

  the in the illogical plot but you also [TS]

  didn't necessarily need Bolivian [TS]

  sokoloff i felt i was earned right i [TS]

  mean yeah they have the best [TS]

  relationship with anybody I mean like as [TS]

  much as I like gore and Zula his [TS]

  fascination with her like it's a little [TS]

  strange [TS]

  yes on it's sort of like you know he [TS]

  sees it's like love at first sight right [TS]

  and I mean I like too much better when [TS]

  he was the foil to Peter and like Peters [TS]

  a jerk and doesn't really care about [TS]

  anything but soooo does and stronger was [TS]

  like hey you know like i'm kind of a [TS]

  gentleman you know at least be polite [TS]

  but like the fact that he then goes all [TS]

  the way across you know around the world [TS]

  to track her down is a little bit thin [TS]

  yeah you did get the sense that [TS]

  Stephenson he wanted to get some people [TS]

  together he wanted to be about love in [TS]

  the end straight [TS]

  love conquers all people and there [TS]

  seemed no one love to do it [TS]

  love conquers all but not as much as I [TS]

  got unstuck and unhurt [TS]

  I i do like Abdullah Jones is excellent [TS]

  a in a by nearly by animal that he's [TS]

  like you know it's an ok it's a cougar [TS]

  at Penn or whatever he says it is what [TS]

  it is it's a it's a it's a cougar to [TS]

  mount like what does he say says it's a [TS]

  it's a big cat [TS]

  yeah it's just a big cat but it's like [TS]

  of course because nobody in there and [TS]

  then Richard I mean that's the great you [TS]

  know loop there as you open with people [TS]

  shooting guns for the hell shooting gone [TS]

  to the beginning and the end with him [TS]

  you know shooting doing the thing you [TS]

  have to do which is to shoot Jones & [TS]

  Jones finally being flummoxed after that [TS]

  many thousands of miles and thousands of [TS]

  life [TS]

  there's nothing operatic or anything [TS]

  about that that death which actually [TS]

  kind of appreciate it is that in the end [TS]

  which is finally got a shot and he takes [TS]

  it and Jones is dead [TS]

  it and Jones is dead [TS]

  and that's it I was wondering I mean did [TS]

  you guys find yourself wondering who was [TS]

  gonna get to do it you know like because [TS]

  i'm certain poetic justice right you [TS]

  kind of expect Zullo more but at the [TS]

  same time you're kind of relieved that [TS]

  she doesn't have to be you know have [TS]

  that sort of burden or what have you or [TS]

  you know have to you know kill somebody [TS]

  face like that or something but I don't [TS]

  know it's interesting I kept wondering [TS]

  who was going to turn out to be 0 was [TS]

  gonna turn out to be Sheamus was you [TS]

  know Sokolov I don't know after they [TS]

  bash in Richards brothers skull with his [TS]

  own prosthetic leg I feel like Richard [TS]

  kind of gets the honor there right [TS]

  why makers you know basically to design [TS]

  shoot up his best friend and get him to [TS]

  blow himself alright that was spread out [TS]

  that was badass and I do I like cat i [TS]

  like i like his little digression at the [TS]

  beginning right was riding the [TS]

  motorcycle and he gets the corn stock [TS]

  like shoved up his eye [TS]

  oh yeah terribly terribly grows it you [TS]

  kind of forget about times before he [TS]

  goes away for like 700 pages then he [TS]

  comes back and he's like that so so [TS]

  wrapping up what are we what do we think [TS]

  what you know in the grand scheme of of [TS]

  neal stephenson and his books and also [TS]

  just sort of that's as its own thing [TS]

  what's the verdict on windy always buy a [TS]

  kilogram of tea from a short Chinese one [TS]

  wearing bright luminous i gotta-i gotta [TS]

  fortunate said that the other day we [TS]

  recently by worked out didn't it [TS]

  I I mean depends on your definition of [TS]

  art out and she ever go home again [TS]

  oh that's good question know what so uh [TS]

  so what's the verdict ran what do you [TS]

  think I quite liked it is again having [TS]

  only read to stevens and books i've [TS]

  started with no crash and then i read [TS]

  this one so far my my records pretty [TS]

  good of course i'm still halfway through [TS]

  cryptonomicon so anything there but [TS]

  really a quite light my kryptonite [TS]

  economy is Krypton is worth weather for [TS]

  the journey if not the if not the [TS]

  destination so Scott what did you think [TS]

  of this book I have conflicted feelings [TS]

  about this book after you I ready player [TS]

  one either before or after this and this [TS]

  is clearly [TS]

  like 14 million times better than ready [TS]

  player one haha there's there's no [TS]

  comparison love uu x 0 scat well its [TS]

  trip which ready player one it's so it [TS]

  may I don't think he would hate that [TS]

  book that much I didn't like it but I [TS]

  was stunned level of hate and yeah it a [TS]

  set where we did a whole pie Kassai we [TS]

  don't need I didn't like it i just got [TS]

  so if every remind very successful i [TS]

  thought it was a fun book but I I [TS]

  thought I have to admit that he kind of [TS]

  missed an opportunity to write like a [TS]

  great book and i know i read some [TS]

  interviews with him after reading the [TS]

  book because I was like this book is not [TS]

  anything like what I expected and he [TS]

  just wanted to write a thriller and so [TS]

  he wrote a thriller have you know check [TS]

  you succeeded neal stephenson yeah [TS]

  alright Dan what about you [TS]

  I quite liked it as well you know our [TS]

  colleague John syracuse I asked me the [TS]

  other night [TS]

  should I read this and I SAT there [TS]

  thinking about it for a while trying to [TS]

  figure out how to answer that question i [TS]

  mean i think i recommended to I a lot of [TS]

  people including I think I told him in [TS]

  the end I think he should read it i'm [TS]

  not sure if you like it or not but I [TS]

  think it's a good book and you know it [TS]

  like Scott says a kind of it goes into [TS]

  their a direction obviously that you [TS]

  don't expect a lot and in such is not it [TS]

  is very unexpected but unexpected book [TS]

  for neal stephenson but then again all [TS]

  of neal stephenson books are kind of [TS]

  unexpected this guy's reading like a [TS]

  like a huge epic about like the Mongols [TS]

  right now [TS]

  among other things so but in the end of [TS]

  the day I i really like it i had some [TS]

  minor quibbles and flaws but in it grips [TS]

  and it keeps you going right like I kept [TS]

  wanting to read the next page and in if [TS]

  you know sort of some it down to that I [TS]

  think that's a that's pretty successful [TS]

  giving you know reader to turn the page [TS]

  to want to turn the page is a little bit [TS]

  so that's the magic trick d laundry on [TS]

  your part of a writer and he had to [TS]

  accomplish that a thousand time so I'll [TS]

  and what about you [TS]

  I think this is one of my favorite [TS]

  students and novels and I actually quite [TS]

  you know I I like NM i read if you read [TS]

  that you have to establish base camps at [TS]

  various points in [TS]

  be supplied with you because it's a long [TS]

  trip to the top and then you have to get [TS]

  down the other side that's right then [TS]

  you have to climb down with the quite [TS]

  literally actually go and you have [TS]

  together with old down the Avatar I look [TS]

  to the east but the but I've been all [TS]

  worth it I thought he did a terrific job [TS]

  in integrating like keeping the stuff [TS]

  that that we like about his work without [TS]

  pandering to us you know it doing his [TS]

  sort of oh I don't know it's a little [TS]

  Moby Dick is kind of like that's gonna [TS]

  put that there [TS]

  I bet your partner gonna start cleaning [TS]

  tag urban television in that you know he [TS]

  likes to be heard that villain and the [TS]

  middle of you know fighting away i'll [TS]

  have 500 pages on your abstract whale [TS]

  oil but he and he said he submerges that [TS]

  desire just like a whale here and made [TS]

  it much more riveting story and i think [TS]

  i like that i was surprised I was sort [TS]

  of like okay wow this is different and [TS]

  then just raced through it read it like [TS]

  crazy [TS]

  I'll compare this to Great Bear a few [TS]

  years ago that is a sci-fi author by [TS]

  trade I think now not really consider [TS]

  that he can move the book called [TS]

  Quantico that was sort of about the [TS]

  American racks anthrax attacks and had a [TS]

  plausible scenario about coming created [TS]

  somewhere and there was no mysterious [TS]

  man traveling around the country and [TS]

  weird attacks in Islamic extremists or [TS]

  Jewish extremist something in this case [TS]

  perhaps and and so forth and I don't [TS]

  think I don't feel like that pulled it [TS]

  off like he just couldn't make a good [TS]

  story without having supernatural [TS]

  ridiculous elements it was he was rooted [TS]

  in the real and he couldn't make that [TS]

  transition give up the things that made [TS]

  Greg Barrett what what he is and [TS]

  Stephenson I think you know he tries to [TS]

  tell a good story in this time he really [TS]

  did it just it just moves along there's [TS]

  a point where I'm just devouring the [TS]

  book as fast as I can which I i don't [TS]

  recall ever having done with anything [TS]

  but maybe we start crashing zodiac are [TS]

  more like that snow crash is less dense [TS]

  but there are a lot shorter and shorter [TS]

  you still crossed over too many times or [TS]

  it's just you know I think I mean like [TS]

  his weakest book i think almost the [TS]

  diamond age which I feel like I don't [TS]

  know what you like that there's some [TS]

  great stuff in it that's my favorite [TS]

  ways lots of my favorite of his yeah [TS]

  really [TS]

  Scott nice you're wrong down with me to [TS]

  have a land of evolution [TS]

  Stephenson fight club episode clearly [TS]

  but diamond a job that was full of [TS]

  clever stuff but I don't feel like it [TS]

  come together and there's a lot of [TS]

  extraneous things lots of sort of you [TS]

  know weird cultural ideas the end up [TS]

  throwing a blender and then make us [TS]

  believe was real but I great stuff at [TS]

  this I felt held together as a real as [TS]

  an interesting work without without [TS]

  going too far astray from his core [TS]

  liking this thing we like about him [TS]

  thank you Jason what did you get [TS]

  oh thank you for asking Scott your [TS]

  mobile uh I liked it but i want i have [TS]

  some caveats III I like that it has an [TS]

  ending [TS]

  even though the ending is really the [TS]

  ratcheting of the plot machinery Neal [TS]

  Stephenson has a real problem with [TS]

  endings and I like his i love his work i [TS]

  really do it's so inventive i love his [TS]

  digression sometimes the digression of [TS]

  the best part [TS]

  they're just so delightfully strange and [TS]

  fully realized but his hands like Snow [TS]

  Crash such a great book and in the end [TS]

  is just a disaster it he doesn't know [TS]

  what to do and and I feel that way in a [TS]

  lot of his books and sometimes I feel [TS]

  like the length of his books because he [TS]

  can't figure out how to end it so he [TS]

  just keeps writing hoping that you'll be [TS]

  struck down and they'll say well it's [TS]

  unfinished but here it is and so so I [TS]

  like that this book has an ending and I [TS]

  don't mind that it ends and in a giant [TS]

  hail of gunfire I what I'd say is that [TS]

  it's a strange conglomeration of a book [TS]

  at as as interesting and and strange as [TS]

  it is that the book takes a left turn [TS]

  when sulla decides to send them to the [TS]

  wrong apartment in China because that's [TS]

  really what this is she says go to the [TS]

  third floor instead of the second floor [TS]

  or whatever fifth floor into the sixth [TS]

  floor might what I would say is i think [TS]

  this book would have been better if the [TS]

  stories were more integrated and there [TS]

  wasn't a left turn and so what what you [TS]

  ended up getting was when you get to [TS]

  that climax with the guns that there's [TS]

  also something happening in terrain and [TS]

  there's more you know it's more [TS]

  simultaneous and it [TS]

  and it's part of a bigger story and and [TS]

  where I felt let down with I just felt [TS]

  let down that he was dropping large [TS]

  elements and that you know it was it was [TS]

  messier than i thought i would like I [TS]

  feel like I don't have a problem with [TS]

  what he did but I feel like it was kind [TS]

  of too big of a change for him to solve [TS]

  so he just went ahead with the left turn [TS]

  and my sort he throws are in ballast [TS]

  overboard in order to you know to [TS]

  achieve or or something like that and [TS]

  let all the air out of the balloon to [TS]

  land the plot or something right well [TS]

  right yeah it's something sure those [TS]

  little words was a template so you just [TS]

  throwing all those metaphors out that's [TS]

  until I hit enjoy the chase for the up [TS]

  with what you know you know what I mean [TS]

  it's sort of like what I what I wanted [TS]

  to have at the end was was the action [TS]

  integrated a little bit more with some [TS]

  of the other kind of technical [TS]

  extrapolation stuff no I i totally agree [TS]

  with you because the video game at some [TS]

  point you're like wait a minute they [TS]

  sort of this brushed off that whole [TS]

  thing that we've been talking about for [TS]

  inner pages in passing here and there [TS]

  that's been connective tissue suddenly [TS]

  it's completely unimportant compared to [TS]

  you know the local police department [TS]

  flying in a helicopter which could [TS]

  suddenly shot down by the air-to-ground [TS]

  missile yeah yeah so so I liked it right [TS]

  that was my that so that would be my [TS]

  take those I wish it was more integrated [TS]

  together instead of it just being a left [TS]

  turn because as clever as that left left [TS]

  turn twist is in a way cuz you're like [TS]

  whoa I'm surprised it goes for the rest [TS]

  of the book and it ends up not seeming [TS]

  so much as a clever authorial decision [TS]

  as it does that he regretted the story [TS]

  he was writing and decided to write [TS]

  something different and at so i love [TS]

  that that he wrote it he's learning how [TS]

  to do an ending [TS]

  I wish that it had been more of a whole [TS]

  work instead of feeling like a book that [TS]

  he started and thought better of and bed [TS]

  wrote something else and then sold the [TS]

  whole thing to us that's what I think [TS]

  Scott thank you for asking will you [TS]

  regret it now [TS]

  no i agree with you that I'm under [TS]

  surprised how much we all like book i [TS]

  was i was thinking that I might be the [TS]

  odd one out or one of the other ones out [TS]

  and that the parts of it like as much [TS]

  but I was great read and I'm glad we for [TS]

  once we were all like his style and his [TS]

  inventiveness and his intelligence [TS]

  it's gets let him get away with a lot I [TS]

  think [TS]

  yes this is truly respected respect the [TS]

  fact that respects as a reader that he [TS]

  thinks we're actually going to be [TS]

  interesting stuff he has to tell us and [TS]

  not up to walk us you know take us by [TS]

  the nose through it [TS]

  yeah yeah and so and so that's why I [TS]

  i'll buy you know I need nail Stephenson [TS]

  anything because you know he's a good [TS]

  writer with lots of good ideas and his [TS]

  smarts and and writes about things that [TS]

  I'm interested in [TS]

  and even though he's got his faults be [TS]

  it's worth taking a chance when he when [TS]

  he does something new and so yes even [TS]

  though it's it's it's flawed and it's [TS]

  not what i would recommend to somebody [TS]

  who wants to read first Neal Stephenson [TS]

  i would probably recommend snow crash or [TS]

  the diamond age or cryptonomicon or or [TS]

  zodiac which is actually in some ways [TS]

  more the mode book its most like this in [TS]

  that there's a lot of action but it is [TS]

  what it is from the start though [TS]

  exactly and that's where it gets back to [TS]

  my complaints about this is that i feel [TS]

  it's almost I don't feel it was a [TS]

  bait-and-switch I feel it was him [TS]

  thinking he was going to write one story [TS]

  and then deciding to write another but [TS]

  in the end perhaps he should have gone [TS]

  back and done more work to to spackle [TS]

  that over i mean i think anything to a [TS]

  certain extent as I was saying about you [TS]

  know cryptonomicon I think it's true for [TS]

  a lot of his books that the you know the [TS]

  reward and reading them is in the [TS]

  reading of them not necessarily in the [TS]

  you know where where it ends up and I [TS]

  think we know we agreed about that with [TS]

  cryptonomicon I think that's true with [TS]

  the baroque cycle as well which is to [TS]

  say not that book doesn't have you know [TS]

  i think that that series has a [TS]

  serviceable ending but the the interest [TS]

  in that series comes from all the things [TS]

  that you encounter along the way right [TS]

  that are just his fantastic his [TS]

  digressions as you were saying and how [TS]

  interested in detail he gets in all [TS]

  these things and thus makes them [TS]

  fascinating to us the readers things [TS]

  that you wouldn't think for fascinating [TS]

  you know the economic development of you [TS]

  know Europe right right in the 16th [TS]

  century it's like wow that had that [TS]

  sounds boring as hell what I feel as if [TS]

  we've come to the end of our book club [TS]

  did everybody enjoy the tea and the and [TS]

  a little lemon cookies missing just got [TS]

  lucky next time I'll make scones [TS]

  skype scones enjoyed the complaint was [TS]

  delicious kind [TS]

  yes everybody take your complimentary [TS]

  ammunition as you leave I'll take two [TS]

  Clips before our NATO rounds you [TS]

  shouldn't have [TS]

  it's through and and somebody here gets [TS]

  a claim or no on the claim under your [TS]

  seat [TS]

  the door is gone now because the [TS]

  claymore was under it [TS]

  oh well I let's say thank you Jason for [TS]

  inspiring me to Rita this very long book [TS]

  which I would have done this soon and [TS]

  would not enjoy this much otherwise so [TS]

  thank you [TS]

  a while why you're very welcome i'm i'm [TS]

  happy to inspire you to read long books [TS]

  it it's very sad what I'm the only one [TS]

  who has to read these thousand page long [TS]

  book so I like I like a bit of that will [TS]

  do it too yes but my kingdom for a [TS]

  300-page book for pete's sake these [TS]

  thousand-page books are going to kill me [TS]

  so until next time on the incomparable [TS]

  book club [TS]

  I'm Jason still and i would like to [TS]

  thank my guests here around our little [TS]

  table they're finishing your tea and the [TS]

  scones right now serenity called well [TS]

  thank you thank you Jason Scott McNulty [TS]

  thank you again [TS]

  o earth tones forever earth tones [TS]

  forever nice glad and Fleischmann thank [TS]

  you for being here and reading this [TS]

  thousand-page book with me thank you [TS]

  very much and Dan Morgan thanks as [TS]

  always as always you're welcome [TS]

  you're so lucky to have been invited let [TS]

  me tell you [TS]

  until next time on the incomparable [TS]

  thanks to all of you for listening to [TS]

  buy [TS]

  [Music] [TS]

  ok boys mhm alright so wow that really [TS]

  that snaps out of it doesn't be ok [TS]

  because it's okay well that's enough of [TS]

  your silliness now get-get yes ma'am [TS]

  that now and alright alright alright [TS]

  boys for tonight on that that's the new [TS]

  this podcast / goodnight [TS]