HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Loading...

Cryptonomicon (original 1999; edition 2002)

by Neal Stephenson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,260212166 (4.22)429
Member:w0rx
Title:Cryptonomicon
Authors:Neal Stephenson
Info:Avon (2002), Mass Market Paperback, 1168 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:personal

Work details

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (1999)

  1. 192
    Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (moonstormer)
  2. 122
    Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter (Zaklog)
    Zaklog: Cryptonomicon strikes me as the kind of book that Hofstadter would write if he wrote fiction. Both books are complex, with discursive passages on mathematics and a positively weird sense of humor. If you enjoyed (rather than endured) the explanatory sections on cryptography and the charts of Waterhouse's love life (among other, rarely charted things) you should really like this book.… (more)
  3. 100
    The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet by David Kahn (grizzly.anderson)
    grizzly.anderson: A great and fairly easy to read history of much of the history and cryptography the novel is based on.
  4. 90
    The Code Book by Simon Singh (S_Meyerson)
  5. 102
    Anathem by Neal Stephenson (BriarE)
  6. 81
    Pattern Recognition by William Gibson (S_Meyerson)
  7. 71
    Secrets and lies : digital security in a networked world by Bruce Schneier (bertilak)
  8. 40
    The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway (ahstrick)
  9. 51
    Daemon by Daniel Suarez (simon_carr)
  10. 40
    Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis (tomduck)
  11. 52
    The Alienist by Caleb Carr (igorken)
  12. 30
    PopCo by Scarlett Thomas (daysailor, Widsith)
    daysailor: Same kind of edgy writing, intertwining cryptography history with good story-telling
    Widsith: More cryptography and conspiracy and earnest philosophical asides (though Thomas writes women characters a lot better than Stephenson)
  13. 1614
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (lorax)
    lorax: Seriously. A big fat book immersing the reader in a bizarre and alien culture, with well-written infodumps on subjects of interest to the narrator interspersed throughout the story. It's a very Stephenson-esque book.
  14. 31
    Reamde by Neal Stephenson (Anonymous user)
  15. 10
    Battle of Wits: The Complete Story of Codebreaking in World War II by Stephen Budiansky (Busifer)
    Busifer: Many of the events featuring in Stephenson's Cryptonomicon have actually happened and while Budiansky isn't the most eloquent author his book is an interesting companion read.
  16. 21
    Enigma by Robert Harris (ianturton)
    ianturton: Another fictionalized look at Bletchly Park, shorter and with fewer Americans.
  17. 10
    In Code: A Mathematical Journey by Sarah Flannery (bertilak)
  18. 21
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell (psybre)
  19. 11
    The Martian by Andy Weir (sturlington)
    sturlington: If you like books with a lot of math in them...
  20. 00
    Join by Steve Toutonghi (jbizroe)

(see all 24 recommendations)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 429 mentions

English (203)  German (2)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  Romanian (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (212)
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)
My middle school math teacher went to MIT with the “Car Talk” guys. He came up with many of the silly names at the end of the show. Anyways, cryptography was an important part of our eclectic curriculum. After graduating high school I taught an advanced middle school math class, and included cryptography for them as well.

More recently I have set myself up with GPG Tools, and am of the political opinion that data privacy is a right. I don’t have anything against search warrants, but am opposed to sweeping collection programs on principle. I also have a fascination with money, including its history and its future. So when a nerdy friend recommended this book, I naturally dove right into it.

Sprawling is one word that comes to mind when describing this book. It may be the largest single volume I've ever read. In audio edition, it's forty-three hours long.

The story is split between two time periods with a lot of interconnection: World War II cryptanalysis and 1990's tech boom crypto-currency.

Some reviews I read said it was exceedingly technical. Yes, a lot of this book’s beauty are its technical passages. But I think a broad swath of the American population are nerdy enough to appreciate it. For example, I’ve taken calculus and linear algebra, but I didn’t actually need to be fresh with any of this stuff to understand the book.

The historical accuracy of the book is stunning. I had a basic understanding of World War II history coming into this book. I assumed many of the more obscure references were just invented for the narrative. But upon consulting Wikipedia, I learned that very little of the context is fictional, and I learned a lot of great new stuff about that era.

Although the story line splits its time more or less equally between the two periods, whereas the WWII storyline feels wrapped of at by the end of the book, the ‘90s one is just winding up. I wish we the book had kept going to explore what might happen with that story.

Stephenson brilliantly foreshadowed an era where Bitcoin is a household name [although not yet dominant]. It’s unfortunate that nothing has yet emerged paralleling the scope of the cryptocurrency of this book.

It’s a beautiful and engaging book. ( )
2 vote willszal | Apr 26, 2016 |
A complex plot; treasure hunt; knowledge hunt; second war stories... ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 2, 2016 |
I like big books (check), with great world-building (check), a strong voice (check). This also had a curious title - that drew me in - and I don't mind sleuthy kind of cloak and daggery type stuff, and I love historial fiction. However, as I got further and further into this, I got more and more annoyed. This is a book written BY a man, FOR men, ABOUT men. The only place for women in this story is as "release" for men, if you know what I mean. The one *ONE* female character (Amy) who gets a small story arc is mistaken for a lesbian - and when she finally gets around to consummating her relationship with the main character, it's a WTF moment. I don't want to give anything away, but REALLY?? JFC. IDK, has Neal even ever had sex with a woman? I mean one he didn't pay? Has he ever even KNOWN a woman? That whole scene had a "I don't know shit about women except what I've seen in sleezy porno movies" kind of vibe going on. Would be very curious to hear what other women thought about this. But my crazy inner feminie bitch just can't get past this. ( )
1 vote ingrid98684 | Mar 26, 2016 |
First Stephenson I read. Loved it. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
I finally read this book and it was very good. Like all of Neal Stephenson's books, it's a very immersive universe. My favorite part was the jail scene not only for the Enoch Root speech but for the idea of using XLEDS to control his computer (I also have never read a book with perl code in it, so that was cool).

However, I prefer his more intellectually interesting books (this is a very 'actiony' book). And, I prefer his other books in the Baroque Cycle because I did not know as much about that age of the world as I do about modern crypto.

For both reasons, even though it has some action packed parts, the gold standard for books to me is still Anathem
  Lorem | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)
''Cryptonomicon,'' on the other hand, is a wet epic -- as eager to please as a young-adult novel, it wants to blow your mind while keeping you well fed and happy. For the most part, it succeeds. It's brain candy for bitheads.
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephenson, Nealprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dufris, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pannofino, GianniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peck, KellanDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
"There is a remarkably close parallel between the problems of the physicist and those of the cryptographer. The system on which a message is enciphered corresponds to the laws of the universe, the intercepted messages to the evidence available, the keys for a day or a message to important constants which have to be determined. The correspondence is very close, but the subject matter of cryptography is very easily dealt with by discrete machinery, physics not so easily." —Alan Turing
This morning [Imelda Marcos] offered the latest in a series of explanations of the billions of dollars that she and her husband, who died in 1989, are believed to have stolen during his presidency.
"It so coincided that Marcos had money," she said. "After the Bretton Woods agreement he started buying gold from Fort Knox. Three thousand tons, then 4,000 tons. I have documents for these: 7,000 tons. Marcos was so smart. He had it all. It's funny; America didn't understand him." —The New York Times, Monday, 4 March, 1996
Dedication
To S. Town Stephenson,
who flew kites from battleships
First words
Two tires fly. Two wail.
A bamboo grove, all chopped down.
From it, warring sounds.
Quotations
He is disappointed because he has solved the problem, and has gone back to the baseline state of boredom and low-level irritation that always comes over him when he's not doing something that inherently needs to be done, like picking a lock or breaking a code.
The ineffable talent for finding patterns in chaos cannot do its thing unless he immerses himself in the chaos first.
This conspiracy thing is going to be a real pain in the ass if it means backing down from casual fistfights.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (6)

Book description
Neal Stephenson enjoys cult status among science fiction fans and techie types thanks to Snow Crash, which so completely redefined conventional notions of the high-tech future that it became a self- fulfilling prophecy. But if his cyberpunk classic was big, Cryptonomicon is huge, gargantuan, massive-- not just in size but in scope and appeal. It's the hip, readable heir to Gravity's Rainbow and the Illuminatus trilogy. And it's only the first of a proposed series--for more information, read our interview with Stephenson.

Cryptonomicon zooms all over the world, careening conspiratorially back and forth between two time periods- -World War II and the present. Our 1940s heroes are the brilliant mathematician Lawrence Waterhouse, cryptanalyst extraordinaire, and gung ho, morphine-addicted marine Bobby Shaftoe. They're part of Detachment 2702, an Allied group trying to break Axis communication codes while simultaneously preventing the enemy from figuring out that their codes have been broken. Their job boils down to layer upon layer of deception. Dr. Alan Turing is also a member of 2702, and he explains the unit's strange workings to Waterhouse. "When we want to sink a convoy, we send out an observation plane first. Of course, to observe is not its real duty--we already know exactly where the convoy is. Its real duty is to be observed. Then, when we come round and sink them, the Germans will not find it suspicious."

All of this secrecy resonates in the present-day story line, in which the grandchildren of the WWII heroes--inimitable programming geek Randy Waterhouse and the lovely and powerful Amy Shaftoe--team up to help create an offshore data haven in Southeast Asia and maybe uncover some gold once destined for Nazi coffers. To top off the paranoiac tone of the book, the mysterious Enoch Root, key member of Detachment 2702 and the Societas Eruditorum, pops up with an unbreakable encryption scheme left over from WWII to befuddle the 1990s protagonists with conspiratorial ties.

Cryptonomicon is vintage Stephenson from start to finish: short on plot, but long on detail and so precise it's exhausting. Every page has a math problem, a quotable in-joke, an amazing idea or a bit of sharp prose. Cryptonomicon is also packed with truly weird characters, funky tech, and crypto--all the crypto you'll ever need, in fact, not to mention all the computer jargon of the moment. A word to the wise: if you read this book in one sitting, you may die of information overload (and starvation). --Therese Littleton, Amazon.com
Haiku summary
Encrypted message
Like an inaccessible
Mountain of gold bars
(swensonj)

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

An American computer hacker operating in Southeast Asia attempts to break a World War II cypher to find the location of a missing shipment of gold. The gold was stolen by the Japanese during the war. By the author of The Diamond Age.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
6 avail.
319 wanted
5 pay5 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.22)
0.5 6
1 52
1.5 9
2 112
2.5 24
3 398
3.5 139
4 1125
4.5 219
5 1623

Audible.com

4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,249,148 books! | Top bar: Always visible