Tom MacWright

I read REAMDE by Neal Stephenson on


I don’t read much fiction. I’m trying to read more, especially science fiction. An Ursula K. Le Guin book is next on my list. Read this review as coming from someone unused to long technothrillers.

REAMDE is long, and big, and stuffed to the gills. A sprawling cast of characters. A variety of guns, and storylines that depend on their particular strengths and weaknesses. A massive roleplaying game, a few hackers, and accurate details and lingo describing it all. Changes of setting, and usage of every possible means of transportation, except for a tank, unless I’m forgetting a tank scene.

Despite the twists and turns in location and character, it felt linear to me, a book that swells with complexity and chaos in the middle and then in the last scenes starts to narrow and quicken. I expected more intrigue, I guess, and though the characters are exquisitely described, I thought they weren’t developed. Maybe because they were all different variations of action heroes, even when the good guys won, it seemed okay. The bad guys were pretty cool too.