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Interface Paperback – 27 Feb 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Books; New edition edition (27 Feb. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451454839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451454836
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.7 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,300,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd on 18 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
For those who don't know, Stephen Bury is the pseudonym of Neal Stephenson and his uncle writing together.
Interface posits a new computerized device that can be implanted in a person's brain that can help the brain recover from the effects of a stroke by re-making some of the neural connections destroyed by the stroke, with the side 'benefit' of allowing a two-way communication path to an external computer. This device is installed in the brain of the Governor of Illinois, who becomes a Presidential candidate. The story follows his campaign and the slow gain of complete control of his mind by a shadowy Network that financed the research for the device, directed by its media control arm as embodied by a virtuoso of a campaign/advertising manager. As the other side of the equation, another device is introduced, a very much enhanced version of a lie detector that can deliver a person's emotional reactions in real-time to whatever he is experiencing. These devices are given to 100 people who represent a complete cross-section of the American voting public, and their reactions to campaign events allow instant feedback control of what the candidate should do/say to maximize his appeal.
The story reads as a high-suspense political action thriller, with a very dark sub-text of there really are powerful, world-spanning conspiracy groups who are intent on molding the world solely to their own benefit. While the prose style is adequate and straightforward, Stephenson's normal cynicism, hysterically funny irony, and satirical stabs at the world are almost wholly lacking here, and the net result is something of a poor copy of a Tom Clancy thriller. Characterization is thin and uneven; even the Governor is little more than a cardboard setup.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book whilst on holiday, unfortunately I spent my whole time glued to it rather than the scenery. It was brilliant, thought provoking and amazingly realistic. I was literally thrown from one emotion to the next, from throwing the book down when a character I'd travelled with during the book experienced something traumatic to stunned amazement at the end. As you can tell I really enjoyed this book (and it was my husbands' book to read on holiday and not my usual reading material).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 74 reviews
70 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Is it live or is it tape? It's Stephenson . . . . 31 Dec. 1999
By Tung Yin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The central question for anyone contemplating purchasing this novel is: is it Neal Stephenson, or is it the co-author who's the intellectual engine?
It reads like Stephenson -- curiously, more like "Zodiac" and "Cryptonomicon" than like the middle works, "Snow Crash" and "The Diamond Age." "Snow Crash" is a dazzling portrait of the William Gibson's cyberspace taken to a higher level: the Metaverse. It's fascinating, but true science FICTION. The same is true of "The Diamond Age," which, while Stephenson's most intellectually thought-provoking work, is the least accessible.
"Zodiac" and "Cryptonomicon," and "Interface," on the other hand, are SCIENCE fiction. "Zodiac" is chock full of information about environmentalism and industrial pollution; "Cryptonomicon" is a cornucopia of mathematics and cryptology. The science in those novels is basically present day, without the need for more than minimal extrapolation. The same is true of "Interface."
Other Stephenson touches: a fine eye toward non-tedious detail. One thing I found amazing about "Cryptonomicon" was that Stephenson could describe eating cereal in four pages without making it boring, something that neither Herman Melville nor Charles Dickens would have been able to accomplish (for me). "Interface" has that same quality of nerdy fascination in the seemingly trivial.
In summary: if you liked "Cryptonomicon" and/or "Zodiac," you'll probably like "Interface" as well.
51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Good, but not Great! 4 Mar. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you're like me, you've already read Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, Diamond Age, Zodiac, his on-line short stories, and are now sketchin' to get your hands on anything else by him.
Well, "Interface" is good, but not as great, in my opinion, as the works penned under the author's real name. The ideas are just as killer as in his other books, but this story lacks the overall punchy Gen-X narrative that I consider to be Stephenson's greatest asset, apart from his way cool ideas. To be fair, this is really an unfair comparison since the whole purpose of Stephenson writing under the "Bury" pen name was probably to allow him to go after the mainstream (more conservative?) market without disappointing his traditional fans (but someone let the cat out of the bag) and without prejudicing the non-science fiction reader, hence "Interface" is categorized under general fiction, rather than sci-fi.
So if you don't mind a slightly watered-down read, do check this book out. As I mentioned, the ideas are still Grade-A Stephenson.
As for me, I think I'll draw the line at "Cobweb"--I heard it was a collaboration effort and that sounds too diluted for me.
42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Stephenson Lite 1 July 2005
By Ryan Silberstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is not Stephenson at his best (Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon). The book has a slow buildup to the premise described on the back cover, and then rips through most of the good stuff in the last 150 pages. The story takes place in the 1996 election (I'm assuming, as the book was written in 1994). Besides the wiplash ending, there are some other major problems with the book.

The characters are very two dimensional, adhearing to besic archetypes. There is no real protaganist. None of the charcters are developed enough for the reader to even care about them.

The plot is implausible, not from a technological standpoint, but from a political one. It takes a leap of suspension of disbelief to think that Cozzano (the hero?) makes it as far as he does.

The story skips major events in the srory, such as Election Day!

Don't get me wrong, this is an entertaining story, but nowhere near as deep as the Stephenson we know and love.
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyable pre-elections read 10 Dec. 1999
By Kim Unertl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book really made me take a step back and look at our upcoming Presidential elections in a whole new light. Sure, it's sci-fi and not real, but it's pretty scary to imagine that our political system could degenerate even further into something like this. Personally, I tried to avoid comparing this to other works of Stephenson's. I'm impressed that he's able to extend his range beyond high tech speculation to lower tech political thrillers like this book and Zodiac. These books won't appeal to readers with a narrow focus on sci fi like Snow Crash or Diamond Age. However, for readers who don't mind less technical sci fi or even those who just like political thrillers, pick up a copy of this book. There are some slow parts in the plot and it is very detail oriented, but overall this is a book I would recommend to my friends, even those who are not sci fi aficionados. Think of this book in the upcoming Presidential election race!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Great place to start for newbies to Stevenson. 22 Sept. 2005
By Christy Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you've seen the size of some of his works, the System of the World trilogy spans almost 3000 pages, then you know what I mean. Six-hundred pages seem like a quick read by comparison, and it does go by quickly.

The incumbent president's platform for re-election is the negation of the national debt. A large conglomerate decides to use it's money to get someone into office that will not renege on the American Debts. This entity sees a perfect opportunity when William A. Cozzano has a stroke and thus opens up the possibility of a new procedure. Doctors implant a chip in his brain to replace lost nerve connections. However, who is now making his decisions?

Part thriller, part political satire, this will keep you hooked wondering how it will all work out.

Oh, yeah; if you want a cheaper copy, just input "Interface" at the search for books menu and it should bring up an earlier edition printed in 1999. It is the same book under the pseudonym Steven Bury and can be had for about two dollars plus shipping.
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