Wednesday, September 22, 2004

About to enter the cycle

With the release of the third volume of Neal Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle in hardcover, the first volume has entered the paperback cycle. Reviews were mixed, and I was daunted, but I think I'm ready for it now:

Staring at my 11 pounds, 3,775 pages, roughly 2 million words of Stephensonia, I feel the queasiness of a boa constrictor who has rashly swallowed not one, not two, not three, but four water buffalo. This act of digestive hubris has paralyzed me. How is all this to be reduced to manageable size? Where does one begin? Stephenson doesn't just care about technology and money and excrement — he cares about the intersection of God and science, the emergence of democracy, the rethinking of religion, the birth of the digital computer, and the abolition of slavery. All are mixed in with a love story, an action thriller, the search for Solomon's gold, an intellectual duel to the death between Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton, and the rise and fall of kings and nations.

(What's with Amazon listing the release of Necronomicon #2 and #3 on December 31, 2024? How weird is that?)

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