Friday, October 26, 2012

Book Review: Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing

Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing is a collection of Neal Stephenson work from various places over the past two decades. Most of it is available elsewhere and much of it for free, but the book gives you a one stop shop for it all.

Those looking for Stephenson's thoughts on real-world technologies and issues will find much of that here. There's less of his short fiction here thought that exists a bit too. I found I'd already read about a quarter of the material elsewhere, but got some value out of the remainder.

Most of it holds up pretty well, despite some being pretty dated. There's a fictional piece about virtual currencies generated around crypto algorithms which is particularly prescient. Basically nailing the whole e-spying thing and envisioning Bitcoin... in 1995!

There's a VERY lengthy piece, though a fascinating one, about how data cables are laid down on the ocean floor between countries and continents. Fascinating but wow is it long. It was written for Wired originally. Did they not have an editor somewhere?

In the end, expect some thought provoking work, but one bloated piece and a few that don't hold up as well.

Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing

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