REAMDE (Neal Stephenson) – a review

reamde (neil stephenson) - a review

Now that we seem to be attacked from all fronts by ransonware, REAMDE by Neil Stephenson is timely reading.

“REAMDE” has all the ingredients of the headline news. Chinese hackers, virtual currencies, multinational jihadists, Russian mob, tech millionaires and American libertarians.

So described it may sound chaotic, hardly coherent as the plot for a novel. Neal Stephenson however manages to write quite a few words, and the result is very entertaining.

The book is above all entertaining, a bit technical at times, but not overwhelming. The characters simple and in most cases quite emotional, ready to make harsh decisions in a split second. But this is no philosophical treatise, this is a techno thriller not far away from Clancy’s novels.

I quite enjoyed the first half of the book, which takes the reader from Midwest USA to China with sweeping action, turning seemingly ordinary people into almost natural heroes. That is one of Stephenson’s characters features, their readiness to become combat units, their coolness and easy attitude towards violence. Guns are everywhere, and the characters use them with ease, so much that one tends to assume by the end of the book that the libertarians are just right, it is perfectly normal to consider guns as some kind of home appliance.

The second part of the book, no spoilers here, is much less interesting in my opinion. A sort of OK Corral Shoot-out of the modern age, the good guys vs the bad guys. It runs for too long, although Stephenson is undeniably good at narrating action.

Now that the summer is just round the corner, a good one for the beach.

 

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