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Neal Stephenson

Author of Snow Crash

78+ Works 109,224 Members 2,555 Reviews 776 Favorited

About the Author

Neal Stephenson, the science fiction author, was born on October 31, 1959 in Maryland. He graduated from Boston University in 1981 with a B.A. in Geography with a minor in physics. His first novel, The Big U, was published in 1984. It received little attention and stayed out of print until show more Stephenson allowed it to be reprinted in 2001. His second novel was Zodiac: The Eco-Thriller was published in 1988, but it was his novel Snow Crash (1992) that brought him popularity. It fused memetics, computer viruses, and other high-tech themes with Sumerian mythology. Neal Stephenson has won several awards: Hugo for Best Novel for The Diamond Age (1996), the Arthur C. Clarke for Best Novel for Quicksilver (2004), and the Prometheus Award for Best Novel for The System of the World (2005). He recently completed the The Baroque Cycle Trilogy, a series of historical novels. It consists of eight books and was originally published in three volumes and Reamde. His latest novel is entitled The Rise and Fall of D. O. D. O. Stephenson also writes under the pseudonym Stephen Bury. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: U.S. novelist Neal Stephenson at Science Foo Camp 2008. Author Bob Lee; cropped by Beyond My Ken

Series

Works by Neal Stephenson

Snow Crash (1992) 20,312 copies, 401 reviews
Cryptonomicon (1999) 17,066 copies, 297 reviews
The Diamond Age (1995) 11,233 copies, 207 reviews
Quicksilver (2003) 9,002 copies, 161 reviews
Anathem (2008) 8,374 copies, 293 reviews
The Confusion (2004) 6,502 copies, 78 reviews
The System of the World (2004) 5,904 copies, 70 reviews
Seveneves : a novel (2015) 4,915 copies, 251 reviews
Reamde (2011) 4,317 copies, 235 reviews
Zodiac (1988) 4,128 copies, 50 reviews
In the Beginning...was the Command Line (1999) 2,209 copies, 30 reviews
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (2017) 2,090 copies, 102 reviews
Interface (1994) 1,823 copies, 40 reviews
Quicksilver (2003) 1,659 copies, 34 reviews
The Big U (1984) 1,624 copies, 34 reviews
Fall; or, Dodge in Hell (2019) — Author — 1,516 copies, 62 reviews
The Cobweb (1996) 1,109 copies, 21 reviews
Termination Shock (2021) 975 copies, 41 reviews
The Mongoliad: Book One (2012) 872 copies, 34 reviews
Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing (2012) 518 copies, 28 reviews
The Mongoliad: Book Two (2012) 410 copies, 13 reviews
King of the Vagabonds (2004) 369 copies, 17 reviews
The Mongoliad: Book Three (2013) 347 copies, 11 reviews
Odalisque (2003) 317 copies, 12 reviews
Cryptonomicon, Part 1 (of 3) (1999) 262 copies, 4 reviews
Cryptonomicon, Part 2 (of 3) (2001) 190 copies, 2 reviews
Cryptonomicon, Part 3 (of 3) (2001) 188 copies, 2 reviews
Atmosphæra Incognita (2019) 125 copies, 7 reviews
Anathem {Part 1 of 2} (2010) 38 copies, 1 review
Anathem {Part 2 of 2} (2010) 33 copies
Les Deux Mondes T1 (2014) 16 copies
Spew {story} 6 copies
2006 5 copies
Polostan: Volume One of Bomb Light (2024) 4 copies, 1 review
Choc terminal - tome 2 (2023) 2 copies
Snow Crash {Part 1 of 2} (2001) 2 copies
Eos Reader 1998-2008 (2008) 2 copies
Snowcrash 1 copy
ERA DEL DIAMANTE (L') (2023) 1 copy

Associated Works

Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity (2003) — Introduction, some editions — 1,537 copies, 31 reviews
Steampunk (2008) — Contributor — 830 copies, 24 reviews
Suddenly, a Knock on the Door (2010) — Narrator, some editions — 515 copies, 33 reviews
Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future (2014) — Contributor — 244 copies, 9 reviews
Hackers (1996) — Contributor — 119 copies, 2 reviews
Disco 2000 (1998) — Contributor — 97 copies, 1 review
Full Spectrum 5 (1995) — Contributor — 73 copies, 1 review
Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World (2017) — Contributor — 35 copies
Starship Century: Toward the Grandest Horizon (2013) — Contributor — 35 copies, 2 reviews

Tagged

adventure (337) alternate history (628) American (340) audiobook (307) Baroque Cycle (663) computers (415) cryptography (815) cyberpunk (2,428) ebook (957) fantasy (1,375) fiction (9,641) goodreads (521) hardcover (301) historical (594) historical fiction (2,221) history (780) Kindle (683) math (658) nanotechnology (292) Neal Stephenson (424) non-fiction (509) novel (1,211) own (491) owned (350) philosophy (291) read (1,411) science (746) science fiction (12,002) Science Fiction/Fantasy (369) sf (2,058) sff (589) signed (386) speculative fiction (578) steampunk (609) technology (398) thriller (610) to-read (6,421) unread (793) virtual reality (295) WWII (509)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Stephenson, Neal
Legal name
Stephenson, Neal Town
Other names
Bury, Stephen (pseudonym)
Birthdate
1959-10-31
Gender
male
Nationality
USA
Birthplace
Fort Meade, Maryland, USA
Places of residence
Fort Meade, Maryland, USA
Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, USA
Ames, Iowa, USA
Seattle, Washington, USA
Education
Boston University (BA | Geography | 1981)
Occupations
novelist
short story writer
essayist
Subutai Corporation (Chairman of the Board, Co-Founder)
Relationships
Jewsbury, George Frederick (uncle)
Lackermann, Ellen Marie (wife)
Organizations
The Clock of the Long Now Project
Subutai Corporation
Awards and honors
Hugo Award (1996)
Arthur C. Clarke Award (2004)
Science Fiction Chronicle Reader Award (1996)
Prometheus Award (2005)
Locus Award (1996, 2000, 2005, 2009)
Agent
Liz Darhansoff
Short biography
Neal Town Stephenson (born October 31, 1959) is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction.

His novels have been categorized as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, postcyberpunk, and baroque.

Stephenson's work explores subjects such as mathematics, cryptography, linguistics, philosophy, currency, and the history of science. He also writes non-fiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired. He has also written novels with his uncle, George Jewsbury ("J. Frederick George"), under the collective pseudonym Stephen Bury.

Stephenson has worked part-time as an advisor for Blue Origin, a company (founded by Jeff Bezos) developing a spacecraft and a space launch system,[1] and is also a cofounder of Subutai Corporation, whose first offering is the interactive fiction project The Mongoliad. He is currently Magic Leap's Chief Futurist.

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Discussions

purchased the latest Neal Stephenson book yesterday in The Green Dragon (August 2019)
entry point for Neal Stephenson in Science Fiction Fans (June 2013)

Reviews

Con: bit of a slow start, slightly underwhelmed by the ending, the made up words make it harder to get into it at the beginning

Pro: loved the science/philosophy used, the worldbuilding was great and lot of themes/Dialogs made me stop to think beyond the book.

Really enjoyed it
 
Flagged
benoitjchevalier | 292 other reviews | Jul 20, 2024 |
I heard about this book when it came out, but had no interest in reading it: a story about a Texas real estate mogul engaged in geo-engineering? No thank you!

Back in 2017 when I got into the climate sector, I was in opposition to geo-engineering. At the time, I felt that there was substantial moral hazard in geo-engineering—that corporations and governments would fail to invest in regenerative activities and instead become caught up in fragmented efforts to stabilize the climate through mechanical means.

Fast forward to 2024: the planet has already rocketed through the 1.5º C warming threshold that many weren't predicting we'd reach until 2030 or 2050. Although living systems approaches to regenerating earth systems are still of fundamental importance, at this point, geo-engineering is also a requirement. I actually feel like Stephenson walked this line quite responsibly in his book; although the story is about geo-engineering, his protagonists reiterate that geo-engineering is a stop-gap measure that doesn't in any way reduce the need for holistic approaches too.

To comment on the caliber of the writing: Stephenson continues to be one of my very favorite authors in regard to his skills as a fiction writer. He can take the most absurd or obscure topics and make them utterly captivating! There are also a number of deft techniques he uses that greatly contribute to the experience as a reader. For example, sometimes he will bring attention to some tiny detail early on, and then wrap around to an emergent significance of this detail later in the plot. When many writers do this, the initial hint they drop is either too obtuse or too obvious; with Stephenson, this is never the case. You don't think much of it at first, but know exactly what he is talking about once the plot element unfolds. This is just one of numerous ways in which he exhibits mastery of his art.

Another of Stephenson's strengths as a fiction writer is his ability to draw on non-fiction elements of which the reader might have been previously unaware! In this book, the Sikh martial art Gatka, and the Line of Control between India and China have more to do with non-fiction than fiction.

Stephenson also has an uncanny ability to make apocalypse actually fun! To launch the book, he starts with a jet crash in Texas on a day when wet bulb temperatures are above habitable levels. He somehow weaves in a backstory involving European royalty, and a vendetta against a wild boar held my a part-Native American inspired by Moby Dick. And yet despite the ridiculousness of this setup, not only does the plot hold together, it is entirely engaging and rewarding to read!

As an aside: it is interesting to note that while both this book and Kim Stanley Robinson's MINISTRY FOR THE FUTURE focus on climate disaster in India, they fell on different sides of the issue. KSR's book predicts a heat wave in India killing millions of people, hence putting India on the "pro" side of geo-engineering. Stephenson predicts a disruption in the monsoon in India, resulting in the starvation of millions of people, placing India on the "anti" geo-engineering camp. Regardless, both authors agree that India will have a central role to play regarding climate change policy.

It is also always interesting to note which trends Stephenson does or doesn't include. Crypto is notably absent from this book, while COVID is ubiquitous. Stephenson also takes for granted the precipitous decline of US prominence; which seems increasingly prescient! Biohacking and deep fakes are also a thing.

In conclusion, Stephenson has prevailed again, and will win you over as a geo-engineering advocate!
… (more)
2 vote
Flagged
willszal | 40 other reviews | Jul 9, 2024 |
I had high expectations, and was reading it really slowly and just didn’t get that engaged
 
Flagged
iamnader | 296 other reviews | Jul 6, 2024 |
As much historic fiction as Sci Fi, Stephenson does what few dare to do these days, starting with givens of Philosophy and Physics and imagining what worlds might emerge.
 
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iamnader | 292 other reviews | Jul 6, 2024 |

Lists

2010s (1)
Asia (1)
1990s (1)

Awards

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Statistics

Works
78
Also by
15
Members
109,224
Popularity
#79
Rating
4.0
Reviews
2,555
ISBNs
629
Languages
23
Favorited
776

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