really like Neal Stephenson. I loved Snow Crash and appreciated Quicksilver (haven’t gotten the guts to follow up with the next two massive books). So when I saw a copy of Some Remarks in a used book store, I had to get it.
This is a collection of a number of his articles and interviews, not all of them (some of them he looked back and and decided to leave them buried). But I did like most of it. I’ll admit that his raving about the time period he covered in Quicksilver eventually befuddled me so badly I had to abandon it mid-length. So it goes. But many of the other pieces are worth the price of admission.
The best of the lot is his extended piece he did for Wired called Mother Earth, Mother Board. Apparently Wired sent him out into the world to follow the laying of a new England-to-Orient cable, to explain how it works and the difficulties it faces. See, I love this sort of thing – you find out so much about the world when you open your eyes to one facet of it (my model train buddy John Wilkes can tell you all there is about mining and shipping Tennessee coal). So he describes the various individuals and teams getting the cable in place, how it crossed (twice) Malaysia, what happens when it comes ashore, the dangers it faces, and even the history of cable-laying (The Whitehouse/Thomson feud). It’s all stunning reading that will show you how little you know about this one thing, which translates to the infinite things you don’t know about the world around you.
So yes, good book – even with his love and constant reference to a time I know nothing about. I enjoyed what I read well enough to make it past his Royal Society bog, so that’s a good thing. If you are a fan of good cutting edge style, you may wish to dig through a bookstore for your own copy.