Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

22 Sep 2011, 9:28 a.m.


Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2011 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Just finished REAMDE, walked into the study, thudded it onto Leonard's desk, and said with wonder, "I cannot recommend that you read this."

I cannot recall the last Stephenson I read that had fewer ideas, and I include his short fiction in this. And you know those lovely little similes and metaphors and fanciful explanations of technical topics and arias, soliloquies on the nature of things, the Stephenson signatures? Nearly absent. Imagine a Michael Crichton novel that stretches to over a thousand pages. I'm disappointed and a little disgusted. REAMDE is essentially a serviceable technothriller, and that's all. An unworthy followup to Anathem.


22 Sep 2011, 11:16 a.m.

I haven't read this (and now I probably won't ... but then, I wasn't going to bother with Anathem either and then my mother gave me a copy for my birthday). However, I have read Halting State (Stross) which -- based on the reviews I've seen of the Stephenson -- is covering the same territory, and I thought that was quite good. The only caveat is that it's multi-viewpoint second-person narrative, which can be annoying.

23 Sep 2011, 1:07 a.m.

That's a shame.

I take it that you won't be at the reading tomorrow, at the Union Square B&N?

23 Sep 2011, 10:11 a.m.

Zack: I'll consider the Stross, thanks!

Avram: Probably not going. I have seen Stephenson in person once or twice and thus gotten that off my bucket list.