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Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson March 23, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Books, Brilliant words.

A gung-ho Marine circumnavigates three theaters of World War Two as a member of a code-breaking commando squad and part-time deserter.  Or a modern-day hacker gets involved with money-laundering by an eccentric Catholic priest.  Or the hacker’s grandfather breaks Nazi code involving an old friend and a Japanese gold cache that could fund a continent’s worth of currency.  Or a Japanese miner figures out the war is lost and tries to cut his personal losses.

Actually, it’s all of these things mixed together and, in the audiobook I heard, the characters perfectly execute their lines, which add immeasurably to the overall effect.  That’s very good since the book itself is really long, like many of the Neal Stephenson novels, and listening to someone read it poorly would hurt very badly.  No worries here, then; the narrator is William Dufris, who also read Old Man’s War by John Scalzi on Audible.  Each time I hear him read a book (I think I have heard five of them now) I am more impressed by his delicacy of character realization, diversity of styles and just plain human-ness that he brings to each voice.  I’m so glad I stopped acting. I just feel inadequate after hearing his readings.

The action in this book hums right along, never leaving the reader feeling bored or antsy.  Along the way there is a great deal of discussion of code-breaking techniques and information theory (not so much of that, really, but more than I get short of a textbook), wrapped up in how geeky people are, and how they relate to the mundanes (you know who you are).

Get it here.  Read it.


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