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Reamde: A Novel by Neal Stephenson
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Reamde: A Novel (edition 2011)

by Neal Stephenson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,0651383,219 (3.9)135
Member:tortoise
Title:Reamde: A Novel
Authors:Neal Stephenson
Info:William Morrow (2011), Hardcover, 1056 pages
Collections:Read in 2012 (Micah), Owned (Micah)
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, science fiction

Work details

Reamde by Neal Stephenson

  1. 50
    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (mhcityplanner)
  2. 40
    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Anonymous user)
  3. 40
    Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (Anonymous user)
  4. 20
    Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson (Galorette)
  5. 20
    Halting State by Charles Stross (infiniteletters)
  6. 10
    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.
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Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
This was one fantastic book. Taking place in two worlds at once (the real world and a virtual world) with two sets of characters (again, real and virtual) means twice the action with overlapping plots.

Richard Forthrast is the developer and owner of T'Rain, an MMORPG with millions of players around the world. When a virus starts hitting members, someone has to stop them REAMDE is a virus that attacks the files in members computers, completely encoding them until a ransom is paid in the T'Rain world. Richard's niece, Zula, an Eritrean girl adopted into his family believes that she can talk the attackers into stopping and heads of to China to track down the hackers. This is the start of a battle and chase story that moves around the globe. Mirroring the way characters meet and form alliances and battle foes, strange alliances form in the real world and connect the hackers with Zula and her gang against the accidentally created foes, a gang of Islamic terrorists. Another gang which includes a female MI6 agent and a member of a Russian mob is also in the mix as is a family of hardy survivalists in the wilds of Idaho and British Columbia.

This story completely captured me and whisked me through the hundreds of pages. The characters were rich and their interactions were, at times, surprising and deep. The action took abrupt turns from one locale to another, frequently back-tracking to catch the reader up to events in a different arena until they cross into another arena.

The reader becomes quite informed as to computer hacking, virtual worlds, trans-oceanic navigation, weapons, weapons, and more weapons.

The only ding I could give this book is for the interminable final battle up and down mountains, in and out of trees, back and forth from one group to another. ( )
1 vote mamzel | Sep 20, 2014 |
I may have to come back to this after a while to write a well-rounded review. I love Neil Stephenson's work. What impressed me most about this novel was the way he moved his characters around and put them into new combinations and situations. It wasn't easy to manage the Czech Sysadmin, Chinese rural peasant, Chinese hacker, Russian security specialist, Eritrean/American refugee, US Spook, UK Spook, marijuana mule turned gamer millionaire and his Idaho anti-government family in a way that didn't feel forced or reek of Deus-ex-machina. As an author, Stevenson's chops really shined with how he managed to put this cast into novel and interesting combinations and get them at the right time to where the action was taking place.

As far as the international MMO gold-farming virus plot, I actually think Cory Doctorow's For The Win! does a better job of explaining the finances of this to people and pointing out why regular people should care or even be fascinated by its intricacies.

Two other things I think stand out about this book. One: Stephenson makes rural American sensibilitiles seem rational and contextually appropriate. In a binary world of red versus blue, this is a big deal. Two: Stephenson draws connections between the kind of information dump that he does with the technical intricacies of military/spy/techno thrillers. He explains how things work and draws connections between the work of a Tom Clancy and the kind of thing that Stephenson writes. In a world that seems to be divided by clear boundaries, Neil Stephenson's work seem to remind us that we are more alike than we care to admit. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
My least favorite Stephenson and his most mainstream work. An awful lot of work for not much more than a Clancy thriller. ( )
  kwbridge | Sep 6, 2014 |
I hadn't yet read enough Stephenson to know what to expect with this book, so I was assuming it would be more sci-fi. So I was confused, and then didn't have enough patience for what felt like a slow start. So I put it down and came back to it a month later, and oooh, it's a techno-thriller! With terrorists! And clandestine border crossings and urban and wild adventures. What a fantastically fun read! ( )
  evilmoose | Aug 6, 2014 |
Reamde, like Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle before it, showcases Stephenson's knack for crafting intricate webs of multiple narratives, culminating in one final showdown. It reads a little like a contemporary Snow Crash, and gamers will appreciate the fact that Stephenson, characteristically, comes off as, if not a native, at least a well-informed ethnographer of MMO worlds familiar with how they actually look and feel (as opposed to the bizarre alarmist CSI-style treatment they're given in a lot of other contemporary fiction). Sadly, Reamde also retains some of the most cringeworthy parts of Stephenson's other works. Characters aren't so much well-rounded as they are painfully stereotypical, and the Hollywood action climactic scenes drag on for around 200 pages more than necessary. While that was a little more forgivable in novels stocked with nerd candy till the end (cryptography, history, weird computer viruses), in Reamde, the last few hundred pages of the book toss that all aside for a bizarre hunt-down-Osama-oops-I-Mean-Jones "climax" that leaves so much to be desired. I felt a little like I bought a ticket to see Being John Malkovich and ended up watching National Treasure.Reamde, while it gets off to a strong start and is consistently action-packed, may not be a good fit for readers who enjoyed Stephenson's previous, more sophisticated work. ( )
  | Aug 5, 2014 | edit |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (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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Dedication
First words
Richard kept his head down.  Not all those cow pies were frozen, and the ones that were could turn an ankle.
Quotations
"Fate has given us a totally awesome foe." -Qian Yuxia
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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

(saltmanz)

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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)

(summary from another edition)

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