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Reamde: A Novel by Neal Stephenson

Reamde: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Neal Stephenson

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2,2141382,927 (3.89)142
Title:Reamde: A Novel
Authors:Neal Stephenson
Info:William Morrow Paperbacks (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 1056 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

Reamde by Neal Stephenson

Recently added byhadaverde, add901, wreichard, twertz, saxi, private library, lycomayflower, cabegley, KonradN, Pigletto
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    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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    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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Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
I wanted to like this book so much more than I could.

The characters were consistently unbelievable, acting in ways which didn't fit their supposed culture, history, or demonstrated personality. One particularly brazen example was a hip black Seattleite casually stereotyping a woman as a "dyke" because of the woman's clothing and hairstyle (a pixie cut!).

I kept reading long after I had lost interest, hoping to be hooked back in. Instead, I was frustrated by plot holes and Deus Ex Machinas. ( )
  wishanem | Jan 27, 2015 |
Full of clever Stephensonian bon mots. Toward the end, I lost track of the objectives of the bad guys entirely; the good guys' objective, to thwart the bad guys, was pretty obvious. The coda is a bit irritating, and so are some of the last bits of the final shootout. As with Stephenson's other novels, there are a number of groups of individuals, forming networks with internal alliances, which interact in complicated ways. This book has much in common with the thrillers, "Interface" and "Cobweb", that Stephenson penned with his father-in-law, and yet a good deal in common with "Cryptonomicon" in its intricacy and its focus on the transmission and accumulation of wealth. The book is psychologically sound; the "Furious Muses" really rung a bell for me as did Zula's preoccupations. The importance of the virtual plot diminishes as the action returns to the North American continent leaving a lot of very loose threads and a bit of a let-down.

Stephenson raises significant and disturbing questions in all his books, and it may be that his most contemporary novels are the most disturbing because the questions are more immediate.

He has constructed a mythology in which Midwesterners are the most virtuous of all people, possessed of strong family affections and good with guns and technology.

I have read some reviews that argue that Stephenson's book is somehow anti-feminist. These arguments rest mostly on dialogue and a few musings about the understanding of or knowing about the idea of "feminism" among certain people or cultures. But the book can also be viewed as extremely feminist; while Zula is put in a very bad position she makes herself the opposite of a victim in a way that has gruesome consequences for several of those who try to terrorize her. Good work, Stephenson.

The idea of the "cerulean collar" workers is as old as Zodiac. ( )
  themulhern | Nov 26, 2014 |
how long has it been since Stephenson wrote a pure thriller? Zodiac? never? and how many thrillers go 1044pp. the notion is fast, the action is non-stop. how could this work at that length? but it does. it moves so fast there are sparks on the rails. and there's no orientation period, not much Larger Picture, to plow through. and it works, clear through: the characters instantly engaging, the settings characters in themselves. chinese cyber-criminals, MI6 and old-school Russian superspies, and Arabic terrorist cells enter the picture, all with conflicting agendas and murderous intentions. by page 600-700 or so i was so into it i kept bursting into belly laughs every few pages, as the characters persevered and had some minor victories (mostly consisting in staying alive and heading in the right direction). cracks appeared in the Forces Arrayed Against Them, and their natural defenders finally began to get a clue about what was going on. only the last 200 pages or so, in which the characters converge again from across the world for a Final Battle, flag a bit. too many changes in PoV, i think, yank us out of the narrative, breaking up the flow, combined with a few too many assaults on the Suspension of Disbelief connected with the Great Convergence. but altogether, a very amusing book that NS must have had so much fun writing, because it's so much fun reading. and fun is good. so, go ahead, README. you won't be sorry.

it all feels extremely simple, at least by Neal's standards. but it's not exactly, there are layers in all that detail, in their little search for meaning, even in those vivid world settings. dip a little deeper, it's about the fuzzy logic of separating real from virtual in this wired generation. and the future consequences of that: for nationalities and borders. there is the sense that gaming is the new substitute for religion, lacking the worship thing but not in itself devoid of ethics to learn, and against that the philosophy of the jihadists, for instance, can't in the long run compete. the gamers, treating with interfaces on the fly, marshal virtual armies, monetary systems, military and civilian law, and unfamiliar environments with nothing but their wits, resilience, and access to computer tools of one kind or another, and eventually win through to the endgame, picking and standing their ground, without a lot of culture shock attached to crossing the world without money, or passports, or contacts.

and partly this is because they're the good guys. there is the game (T'Rain) and there is the virus (REAMDE) that threatens and yet in a way protects them, because they can own it, use it, overcome it. and then there's the good vs evil issue, raised in the game in the war between factions that is remaking T'Rain, the game in which rebellious writers have raised opposing armies. the original concept, that old thing about good vs evil, is one of the first things one of the two writers wants to throw out as outmoded. but to the players in that other game, technically not-virtual but overlapping the gaming war, alignment becomes everything. in their choices they reveal themselves: their alignment history doesn't matter, only their choices in the now. but making the right choices makes them allies in the field, in life and death matters. they choose and they move forward, into the Great Game, out of the cold, and into each other's hearts. choose wrong and you die: and you die alone, off the sum of those choices. ( )
  macha | Nov 10, 2014 |
REALLY long book but really interesting and unique plot. ( )
  Marleen_Cloutier | Oct 26, 2014 |
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. ( )
2 vote mamzel | Sep 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 136 (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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