Shop now Shop now Shop now Up to 70% off Fashion Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Amazon Fire TV Amazon Pantry Food & Drink Beauty Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars8
4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Format: HardcoverChange
Price:£20.00+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 11 September 2012
Not great I'm afraid. This is a very thin collection and feels like an idea that came from the publisher rather than the author. In the preview NS is gracious enough to say that some of these pieces are old but it all feels very dated and put together as a quick money spinner by the publisher. I'd be interested to see how much of this work can be scrounged through Google.

ps. I am a big fan of NS.
11 comment15 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Neal Stephenson is a knowledgeable, idiosyncratic writer with an interest in not only current and future technology (which is standard-issue for other writers of science fiction), but also its history. The former was his sure companion when he wrote the classic Snow Crash, and it was the latter which led him into writing his sprawling (but relentlessly fascinating) Baroque Cycle. Here, he collects together a couple of short stories (one of which is his early cyberspace tale "Spew", previously only available (I think) in the 1996 Hackers anthology) with several non-fiction pieces that have previously appeared in places like "Wired" magazine. These range from a learned discussion of the metaphysics of Liebniz and an introduction to Everything and More, David Foster Wallace's book about the history of infinity, to Stephenson's musings on how important science fiction is (or isn't) as a genre and his view of geeking out (concentrating on arcane detail) and vegging out (letting the whole thing wash over you). In between, you get his lengthy travelogue about his efforts in the mid-90s to get a ringside seat for the laying of the so-called "longest wire on Earth" - i.e. the Fibre-optic Link Around the Globe, and other gems such as his (entirely persuasive) advocacy of why walking around (instead of sitting down) all day at the office is really good for you.

I greatly enjoyed this stimulating collection; its variety keeps things moving along, and Stephenson has the gift of carrying the reader with him on his journeys. For example, he opens his piece about the longest wire on Earth - which you might be forgiven for thinking an uninteresting or unpromising subject - with "Information moves, or we move to it. Moving to it has rarely been popular and is growing unfashionable; nowadays we demand that the information come to us." [p121], which provides an instant and intriguing justification for the importance of what he's going to be talking about. Highly recommended.
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 June 2013
Without a doubt, Neal Stephenson may be the most pensive, most expansive, writer of my generation, and these are traits he shows abundantly in his recent essay collection, "Some Remarks", that also include several terse short stories he has written over the years. Stephenson's writing is expansive in the sense that it covers many topics at once, which is why, for example, his "Baroque Cycle" trilogy is a compelling fictional exploration of the emerging science and personal rivalry of Leibniz and Newton during this period, as well as a most memorable action-adventure yarn whose main protagonists are the ancestors of those in his earlier post-cyberpunk novel "Cryptonomicon". In "Some Remarks" his essay on the construction of FLAG (Fiber Optic Link Around the Globe) "Mother Earth, Mother Board" compares and contrasts its construction with the successful laying of the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable in the 1860s, but is also discusses the life of William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, especially with regards to his design of the first successful undersea cable, as well as series of travel guide vignettes aimed at the "hacker tourist". His early cyberpunk short story "Spew" anticipates much of the same literary style Stephenson would use in "Cryptonomicon" and the "Baroque Cycle". Other writings discuss the relevance of the films "300" and "Star Wars" to contemporary culture, the still uneasy relationship between science fiction and fantasy with mainstream literary fiction, why scientists are distrusted by those in the far Left and the far Right, and discussing the life and literary career of David Foster Wallace. "Some Remarks" may be the finest collection of short writing by a notable contemporary writer writing in English that I have read in years, not only recently. For those who are long-time admirers of his writing as well as those who are unfamiliar with it, "Some Remarks" should be viewed as essential reading, simply as a guide to a most memorable polymath, one Neal Stephenson.
0Comment3 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 July 2015
Really enjoyable collection with nice mix of fiction and factual writing
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 July 2013
Stephenson is a visionary, technologically savvy. Politically thoughtful and with a verve for story telling and a whit that shines through even the shortest (incomplete) piece
0Comment0 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 August 2012
I do not yet own a copy; however know several articles that are in this bundle. His essay on deep sea cables is worth the book alone. Mother Earth, Mother Board. It was first published in Wired magazine and one of the best articles I read in my years of subscription to Wired.
It describes the history of communications cables, and the laying of them in modern day. It reads like an adventure novel.
I Admit, I am a big fan Neal Stephenson's work, however it is nice that previous very hard to find articles he wrote for several publications are now available in a nice bundle. I think Stephenson is one of the truly great writers of our day, and largely underestimated in literary circles (especially in Europe) due to his chosen field and the adversary of technology and mathematics with this crowd.
For me Neal Stephenson is on par with Ernest Hemmingway or Graham Greene.
33 comments11 of 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 June 2014
I have enjoyed all of his books apart from his very first which I have yet to read.

If you like his books you should enjoy this as well. By the way he is a writer!
0Comment0 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 January 2013
My brother-in-law always make a Christmas list so he always gets what he wants, so I'm presuming he's happy with all the gifts we got him
0Comment0 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.