The Walter B Stine Memorial Book Thread


Hiro: So wait, is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?
Juanita: What’s the difference?

Neal Stephenson ascending to heights of euphoria as yet unreached.


Ingen you should read Zodiac next


So too the next 25% tbh, m8.

50 pages of Stephenson wanking off his personal theories about The Truth Behind the Bible™. Oh boy!


At this point I’m only still reading Snow Crash out of pure stubbornness. 82% through. I think it’s so frustrating because the book started real strong. The first few chapters with Hiro as the Deliverator and the introduction to the Metaverse and the Street, all gold. Book just nosedived after that and has not recovered.


I finished it. I rate probably 4/10.

The central concept is cool, though Stephenson does basically nothing with it. The opening was fantastic, this fast paced absurdism. The metaverse and the Street are very cool and Stephenson writes those parts great. Sadly, the book quickly deflates into alternating passages of fixation on irrelevant details of this ancap future (in very boring, very flat prose) and even duller sections where Hiro’s library demon, Expositionbot 5000, is just babbling at him about ancient Sumer–babbling which Hiro later repeats to Uncle Enzo and pals. The book gets a bit interesting once everyone gets out to the Raft, which is an undeniably awesome setting, but the book’s climax is a total dud.

There’s a solid story in here, but for apparently Neal Stephenson wasn’t interested in writing it. Hiro should have been following clues, finding different people who knew pieces about the Asherah virus, eventually putting it altogether. Basically, insert a plotline shamelessly stolen from National Treasure and this book would be solid. As it stands, Neal seems quite taken with his neat idea, so much so that he forgot about writing a book actually interesting to read.

Also, the sex scene was as bad as promised. The dentata bit reminded me of the delightfully awful horror movie Teeth. So at least briefly, Snow Crash did entertain me. If only indirectly.


the only good character in snow crash is the rat thing

because they are still good dogs


Stephenson can somehow write far more compelling dogs than he can people.



You should check out Seveneves


Read Zodiac before Seveneves


Or I could read neither. I picked up Sevnereevsfseersdse a while back on a recommendation, but haven’t read it yet. For the moment I’m back to the Expanse. On Nemesis Games.


dont read it

its more garbo

just read cryptonomicon and replace their digital money with bitcoin


Cryptonomicon was great but it’s hilariously dated


I’m currently reading the Expanse, but I’m still on the first book.
Things are happening but it’s mostly just spinning rocks


The first book is a bit of a slow burn. I found Holden insufferable, but I liked Miller’s asteroid gumshoe stuff. Helped that I had seen the show before and so mentally turned Miller into Tom Jane. Book 1 picks up as you go along and the scope expands beyond just those two.


I was fine with the book right up until

they were casually handed a heavy bomber and then proceeded to go shooting people in the neck during a fake nuclear strike


Just finished book one. Not sure how I feel about it.

Here goes book 2 I guess.



Finished The Magician King (sequel to the Magicians). Lev Grossman continues to be real fucking good. The dude doing the audibook is topshelf as well.



I am almost halfway through the Book of the New Sun (which is to say, almost done with book 2 of 4 of the series) and I think I can sum up the experience so far in three points:

  1. It is bold choice never to explain things to the reader. I mean that sincerely. There’s no Joe Protagonist here asking questions all the time so the reader can learn what a flumpkin does. Characters aren’t explaining things because to them this is normal. Wolfe gives enough context to more or less follow along, but you never fully understand, and that is part of the charm.

  2. The book is fucking weird. Strange is probably the most apt single descriptor of it. I thought when two men had an honor duel with palm fronds, that would be the apex, but when the pan-dimensional cyborg ate coffee and Danish and then went back to his home planet, I knew I had been sorely mistaken.

  3. The female parts are a little underwritten. It’s a bit unfortunately Mad Men to be honest. Jordan Peterson would approve.