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Reamde: A Novel by Neal Stephenson

Reamde: A Novel (edition 2011)

by Neal Stephenson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,3671522,654 (3.9)162
Title:Reamde: A Novel
Authors:Neal Stephenson
Info:William Morrow (2011), Hardcover, 1056 pages
Collections:Read in 2012 (Micah), Owned (Micah)
Tags:fiction, science fiction

Work details

Reamde by Neal Stephenson

  1. 70
    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (mhcityplanner)
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    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Anonymous user)
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    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.
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    Halting State by Charles Stross (infiniteletters)
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    The Bloodline Feud (Merchant Princes Omnibus 1) 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 162 mentions

English (151)  German (3)  French (1)  All languages (155)
Showing 1-5 of 151 (next | show all)
This was a fun read, with much less in the way of Big Ideas (TM) than the standard Stephenson book. In fact, I wonder if the whole thing was written entirely tongue-in-cheek for the everything is so ironic crowd. ( )
  darushawehm | Oct 24, 2015 |
Well that was a blast. One thousand pages of a blast, which is quite some blast, when you think about it. I honestly think that the last time I read a thriller that was over one thousand pages long was Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six and I have no compunction admitting that I skipped huge chunks of that rubbish. Didn't skip a page of this, though I think Clancy may have been a touchstone: it is after all a big chunky international thriller with the Russian Mob and ruthless Jihadists, and while it's not a techno-thriller per se, much of the plot depends on cutting-edge tech, specifically an MMORPG called T'Rain. Ludlum also springs to mind, but mostly when he does, or Clancy, or Dale Brown it's to think how much more fun this is than having to wade through their sub-literate tosh. Oddly enough, the climactic shoot-out in the wastes of the Canadian-American border was strongly reminiscent of James Crumley's The Mexican Tree Duck. When I first read Stephenson's Zodiac, he wrote a forword where he acknowledged Crumley's influence, which prompted me to check out Crumley, for which I am eternally grateful. Anyway, I have to write a straightforward review of this for the Tipp Tatler no less, so I'll come back and do that tomorrow, I just wanted to get my initial thoughts down quick.

Here we go:

It’s rare to find a thriller that clocks in at over a thousand pages, and rarer still to find one that can justify it. Tom Clancy, in his heydey, churned out a few tomes that needed their own forklifts to carry around, but the longer Clancy’s books got, the less readable they were. Not so with Reamde.

The unpronounceable title is the name on a computer file, a misspelling of Readme, and in this file is a highly contagious virus that takes over your computer and locks all your data in an unbreakable encryption, the key to which is available on the payment of a small ransom. The ransom has to be deposited in a certain area of a virtual world, the setting for the online game T’Rain. The game’s creator, Richard Forthrast, has just hired his niece, Zula, to work for his corporation. Her boyfriend, Peter, is selling some illegally obtained credit card numbers to the Russian mob. The mob’s American connection plays T’Rain. The mob’s data gets locked up by Reamde. The mob want the data back, and fast. Paying the ransom online proves difficult, so the mob grab Zula and Peter, fly to the Chinese city of Xiamen and commence a hunt for the hacker who created the virus.

Phew. This sounds exhaustive and exhausting, but it’s all set up for for what follows and is both fast-moving and entertaining. What happens next is an explosive gun battle that sparks a small global war as Zula is captured by terrorists and the small group of unlikely friends she has made in Xiamen set out against all odds to rescue her, while her family desperately try to find out what happened to her. The whole thing ends in a lengthy running gun battle in the cold wild wastes of the Canadian-American border.

Despite its length, the pages fly by. Between the excitement of the action, the dry wit used in describing Richard’s life and times and the globe-hopping descriptions of modern life, there is never a dull moment, and the book can be both hilariously funny, deeply absorbing and incredibly gripping. Highly recommended. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
A very good techno-thriller, but honestly I think it probably could have lost a couple hundred pages and been just as (or perhaps even more) effective. That said, I did get into the story eventually and enjoyed the ride - it just took a while. And I loved all the detail that Stephenson packed into the story, as well as the range of characters that populate his worlds (physical and virtual) ... so maybe he ended up getting it just about right. A long read, but one which keeps you turning pages clear to the end. ( )
  JBD1 | Oct 17, 2015 |
This is another example of terrific storytelling by Stephenson. He has the ability to weave what seem like several disparate plots into a very tight narrative.

I was a bit disappointed with the ending, which devolved into a seemingly formulaic climax for a suspense thriller.

( )
  grandpahobo | Sep 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 151 (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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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


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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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