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The Diamond Age (1995)

by Neal Stephenson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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11,214206597 (4.09)307
Fiction. Literature. Science Fiction. HTML:Vividly imagined, stunningly prophetic, and epic in scope, The Diamond Age is a major novel from one of the most visionary writers of our time
Decades into our future, a stone??s throw from the ancient city of Shanghai, a brilliant nanotechnologist named John Percival Hackworth has just broken the rigorous moral code of his tribe, the powerful neo-Victorians. He's made an illicit copy of a state-of-the-art interactive device called A Young Ladys Illustrated Primer  Commissioned by an eccentric duke for his grandchild, stolen for Hackworth's own daughter, the Primer??s purpose is to educate and raise a girl capable of thinking for herself. It performs its function superbly. Unfortunately for Hackworth, his smuggled copy has fallen into the wrong hands.
Young Nell and her brother Harv are thetes??members of the poor, tribeless class.  Neglected by their mother, Harv looks after Nell.  When he and his gang waylay a certain neo-Victorian??John Percival Hackworth??in the seamy streets of their neighborhood, Harv brings Nell something special: the Primer.
Following the discovery of his crime, Hackworth begins an odyssey of his own. Expelled from the neo-Victorian paradise, squeezed by agents of Protocol Enforcement on one side and a Mandarin underworld crime lord on the other, he searches for an elusive figure known as the Alchemist.  His quest and Nell??s will ultimately lead them to another seeker whose fate is bound up with the Primer??a woman who holds the key to a vast, subversive information network that is destined to decode and reprogram th
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» See also 307 mentions

English (198)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Romanian (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (206)
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
F/SF
  beskamiltar | Apr 10, 2024 |
*gasp, pant* After a couple of false starts and a break to read an easier book, I finally finished! I feel like there should be a certificate or a sticker, at the very least. 500 pages is not a long book, granted, but the text is so dense and the world-building and dramatis personae so complex and extensive that every page seemed to equal a chapter. I enjoyed the author's powerful imagination while reading, and did get caught up in Nell's story, but I'm not sure I understood half of what was going on - probably more than a William Gibson novel, though. Also, the ending was abysmal.

I was going to add that reading Snow Crash first might have helped my comprehension - but according to my library, I have read Snow Crash! Apparently Stephenson never makes any sense and my brain blocks the experience out afterwards. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Mar 5, 2024 |
Love Stephenson. ( )
  DavidRFWarner | Feb 21, 2024 |
Great ideas. Plot a little puzzling in places, and characterization got weaker as book went on. Characters seemed to be there to advance ideas or themes (like the 3 schoolgirls). Nell the adult didn't seem to have much to do with Nell the child. Still, lots of sociotech stuff to ponder. ( )
  roguelike | Feb 4, 2024 |
Inventive, uneven, progressively boring. ( )
  postsign | Dec 28, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephenson, Nealprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jensen, BruceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiltsie, JenniferNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
By nature, men are nearly alike;
by practice, they get to be wide apart.

- Confucius
Dedication
First words
The bells of St. Mark's were ringing changes up on the mountain when Bud skated over to the mod parlor to upgrade his skull gun.
Quotations
The difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people--and this is true whether or not they are well-educated--is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations--in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.
It is upon moral qualities that a society is ultimately founded. All the prosperity and technological sophistication in the world is of no use without that foundation.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. Science Fiction. HTML:Vividly imagined, stunningly prophetic, and epic in scope, The Diamond Age is a major novel from one of the most visionary writers of our time
Decades into our future, a stone??s throw from the ancient city of Shanghai, a brilliant nanotechnologist named John Percival Hackworth has just broken the rigorous moral code of his tribe, the powerful neo-Victorians. He's made an illicit copy of a state-of-the-art interactive device called A Young Ladys Illustrated Primer  Commissioned by an eccentric duke for his grandchild, stolen for Hackworth's own daughter, the Primer??s purpose is to educate and raise a girl capable of thinking for herself. It performs its function superbly. Unfortunately for Hackworth, his smuggled copy has fallen into the wrong hands.
Young Nell and her brother Harv are thetes??members of the poor, tribeless class.  Neglected by their mother, Harv looks after Nell.  When he and his gang waylay a certain neo-Victorian??John Percival Hackworth??in the seamy streets of their neighborhood, Harv brings Nell something special: the Primer.
Following the discovery of his crime, Hackworth begins an odyssey of his own. Expelled from the neo-Victorian paradise, squeezed by agents of Protocol Enforcement on one side and a Mandarin underworld crime lord on the other, he searches for an elusive figure known as the Alchemist.  His quest and Nell??s will ultimately lead them to another seeker whose fate is bound up with the Primer??a woman who holds the key to a vast, subversive information network that is destined to decode and reprogram th

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Book description
The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer is a postcyberpunk novel by Neal Stephenson. It is to some extent a science fiction coming-of-age story, focused on a young girl named Nell, and set in a future world in which nanotechnology affects all aspects of life. The novel deals with themes of education, social class, ethnicity, and the nature of artificial intelligence.
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