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Reamde by Neal Stephenson


by Neal Stephenson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4811572,462 (3.89)179
  1. 80
    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (mhcityplanner)
  2. 60
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (Anonymous user)
  3. 60
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Anonymous user)
  4. 30
    Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson (Galorette)
  5. 20
    For the Win by Cory Doctorow (kjforrest)
    kjforrest: Both books cover gaming, gold farming and economics in an interesting way. For The Win is much shorter and a better read, but Reamde is good too.
  6. 20
    Halting State by Charles Stross (infiniteletters)
  7. 00
    The Bloodline Feud: The Family Trade and The Hidden Family by Charles Stross (Anonymous user)
  8. 00
    Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay (themulhern)
    themulhern: There has been some talk about Stephenson's female characters and some assertion that he is anti-feminist. My feeling is that he is, perhaps, writing his female characters as "bad feminists" in the sense that Roxane Gay uses that term in this collection of essays.… (more)

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» See also 179 mentions

English (156)  German (3)  French (1)  All languages (160)
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
Gripping. As usual with Stephenson, crazy level of detail and heaps of digressions.
  supremumlimit | Apr 29, 2016 |
I could not finish this book, so this review is based on just the first 525 pages.

Reamde was an enormous disappointment. I read good reviews and was really looking forward to a new Stephenson after the fascinating Anathem. But what for a while seemed like an interesting plot against the background of a MMORPG devolved into a turgid, poorly-paced action/thriller with cardboard characters and an almost complete lack of narrative drive. I persevered for hundreds of pages through a tedious action sequence in Xiamen, hoping desperately that somehow the characters were being maneuvered into situations that would let the author return to something interesting, but it was not to be. I cheated, and read a few reviews on Amazon to see if I could get a hint about the second half of the book, but abandoned all hope when the reviews talked about a long shootout sequence at the end.

If there was one interesting takeaway from the book, it was to see how an author as gifted as Stephenson could do such a bad job with action/thriller, a genre handled much better by less talented writers in any number of pulp airport books. ( )
1 vote quokka70 | Apr 24, 2016 |
Years back, ex-pot smuggler and WoW addict Richard Forthrast developed an MMO, T'rain, that took the world by storm. Now, he's a billionaire. At the latest Forthrast family reunion he reflects on the legend (and wiki entry) that has grown up around him, then reconnects with his niece, Zula, and her geek boyfriend Peter. Shortly thereafter, Peter's illicit hacking gets him (and by extention, Zula) embroiled in a Russian mobster's vendetta against a hacker team that is using T'rain to propogate a computer virus called Reamde. To get revenge, the mobster flies Peter, Zula, and a team of mercenaries to China to take out the hackers. But instead, the mercenaries accidentally attack a group of Islamic terrorists, which starts an international hunt for the terrorists.

There is a lot of everything to this book. Epic adventures and violence are accompanied by the most prosaic of details; the page after a bloodbath, there's a full page detailing the kind of shoes an MI6 agent has chosen to wear. The almost plodding level of detail both grounds the action, making it seem more believable and realistic, while slowing down the novel as a whole. So on the one hand, I knew each of the (many, MANY) characters very well by the end of the novel, even though only a few weeks at most have passed. On the other, I don't care in the slightest what kind of modifications someone made to their gun, or some random mercenary's pizza order, or the history of a fictional mine, so I was constantly fighting the urge to skim.

Stephenson is great at peppering his scenes with characters having profound realizations about oneself and the world and making it seem natural. He has a terrible tendency to infodump, or have a character monologue for far too long. And his action scenes are just awfully written: a character will twist his hips one way, twist his ankle another, this finger will do this, his head will slightly duck, etc. and meanwhile I the reader will have lost any focus or sense of urgency. Same with the plot--Stephenson has a tendency to introduce some new character, plot thread, or idea and then pursue it ad nauseum, while all the other plots the reader is already invested in are ignored. In his defense, the characters really are compelling, and the way the various plot threads come together is impressive. And it seems like he did try to do his research and put as much realism as he could into this novel. That said, [b:Reamde|10552338|Reamde|Neal Stephenson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1305993115s/10552338.jpg|15458989] feels like an odd patchwork of all the things Stephenson thought were cool at the time he was writing it, with a big dollop of guns and terrorists for spice. It has some great moments and a lot of really boring ones. If I could use only one word to describe it, it would be "uneven." ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Oh, I sure do love Neal Stephenson.
Here's my new and revised list of his books, in order of how much I like them:

Snow Crash (1992)
The Diamond Age (1995)
Anathem (2008)
Cryptonomicon (1999)
Reamde (2011)
Zodiac (1988)
Interface (1994) & The Cobweb (1996)
The Big U (1984)
The Baroque Cycle (2003-2004)

I considered bumping Reamde up past Crytonomicon, but then decided, no, I really can't, because although Reamde is non-stop fun, Cryptonomicon was more interesting and in-depth, as far as its subject matter.
Reamde is an action-packed thriller. It's a very clever, intelligent, geeky thriller, but it's basically an action movie in literary form. A friend of mine compared it to the books he wrote with his uncle (Interface and Cobweb). I can see the comparison, but those books were both very mainstream in outlook - almost something you'd expect to pick up at an airport newsstand - and Reamde goes miles beyond that.

It's over a thousand pages, but it doesn't feel long at all. (Although it does feel heavy - I was actively envying people with Kindles as I was reading this.) It's got: gamers, hackers, Russian mobsters, Al-Qaeda, businessmen, spies, right-wing militias, nerds, things that blow up, people getting shot, kidnapping, hostages, China, the Philippines, Canada, large amounts of cash, airplanes, boats, and many other People and Things that are Bad-Ass and Awesome.

Great both for Stephenson fans and as an introduction to his work. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
A computer virus gets everything started, we meet members of the Russian mafia and some jihadists, fly on a private jet to China (and back from the Philippines), and get stranded on drifting boats. Lots of fast-paced cliffhangers later, we find everyone focused on the Pacific Northwest for a nail-biting finale. Rather than imagining some near-future, Stephenson makes up a captivating thousand-page chase set in the present day. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
All of Stephenson's fiction has thrilling moments (and as his novels tend to be big, those moments can go on for many, many pages), but this is the first of his books that is nothing but a thriller, one that will sit comfortably on shelves weighed down by, say, the complete works of Robert Ludlum.
added by dcozy | editThe Japan Times, David Cozy (Nov 27, 2011)
Sci-fi geeks flock to the master's wildly complex novels -- but his latest, "Reamde," is maddeningly conventional
added by bertilak | editSalon, Andrew Leonard (Sep 19, 2011)
REAMDE, Stephenson's latest novel [...] is a book that represents a new kind of equilibrium in Stephenson's literary canon: a book that is simultaneously as baroque as System of the World and as cleanly and crisply finished as Anathem. It is, in other words, a triumph, all 980 pages of it
added by r.orrison | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Sep 14, 2011)

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neal Stephensonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hillgartner, MalcolmReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Iacobelli, JamesCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Richard kept his head down.  Not all those cow pies were frozen, and the ones that were could turn an ankle.
"Fate has given us a totally awesome foe." -Qian Yuxia
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Book description
Four decades ago Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of his Iowa-based family, fled to a wild and mountainous corner of British Columbia to avoid the draft. Quickly realizing that he could make a lot of fast cash carrying backpack loads of high-grade marijuana across the border into Northern Idaho he began to amass an enormous and illegal fortune. Living an affluent but lonely and monotonous life in B.C., Richard became addicted to the online fantasy game World of Warcraft and like many serious players of the game he also fell into the habit of purchasing viral gold pieces and other desirables from Chinese gold farmers—young men who make a living playing the game and accumulating virtual weapons and armor that can be sold to American and European buyers who have more money than time. Luckily for Richard, it was the perfect opportunity to launder his aging hundred dollar bills and begin a new business venture to further expand his fortune.

Now the head of a major computer gaming group called Corporation 9592 with its own super-successful online fantasy game, T’Rain, Forthrast is caught in the center of a global thriller and a virtual war for dominance that is accidentally triggered by a young gold farmer.
Haiku summary
A fast-paced thriller
Hackers, mobsters, terrorists
Done Stephenson-style


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When his own high-tech start up turns into a Fortune 500 computer gaming group, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa family who has amassed an illegal fortune, finds the line between fantasy and reality becoming blurred when a virtual war for dominance is triggered.… (more)

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