Cryptonomicon Spine

1999 – I have a first edition, it says, and I quote, “1999.” That’s some dated tech. But like other novels that hold up under the scrutiny of time, this one has, as well.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.

There was an iBook sale, and for $1.99, a digital copy, in addition to the massive hardback tome I already own, which is printed on very good paper, I went ahead and bought the digital copy, with an iPad substantially lighter than the paper version of the same title.

“Making license plates.” Page 233.

That was the first time I was exposed to the term, “making license plates.”

In full, gratefully quoted –

“It’s an expression that my business partner and I use,” Randy says. “With any job, there’s some creative work that needs to be done—new technology to be developed or whatever. Everything else—ninety-nine percent of it—is making deals, raising capital, going to meetings, marketing and sales. We call that stuff making license plates.”

    Excerpt From: Stephenson, Neal. “Cryptonomicon.” HarperCollins.

To me, it’s that book price point, at $1.99, having a digital copy was well-worth it.

As a writer, I tend to read a little awe-struck by the melodic, sprawling epic of a novel, easily spanning more than 900 pages. Sprawling epic.

Includes references to El Alamein, and?

    Winston Churchill said of this victory: “Now this is not the end; it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Via

Got to respect the encyclopedic view of the novel, in its broadest scope.

“In general he doesn’t know what to make of the Brits because they appear (in his personal observation) to be the only other people on the face of the earth, besides Americans, who possess a sense of humor.” Page 469.

    Excerpt From: Stephenson, Neal. “Cryptonomicon.” HarperCollins.

Casual character’s observation, right on point.

“Most of the brain’s work is done while the brain’s owner is ostensibly thinking about something else, so sometimes you have to deliberately find something else to think and talk about.”

    Excerpt From: Stephenson, Neal. “Cryptonomicon.” Page1053.

Part of the point of meditation.

With a portion of a chapter dedicated to the aesthetic – and scientific – analysis and then consumption of Cap’n Crunch Cereal. Seriously. Appeals to my inner-nerd.

“It was like going to the house of some supposedly sophisticated people and finding a neon-on-black-velvet Elvis painting hanging above their state-of-the-art Italian designer furniture.”

    From: Stephenson, Neal. “Cryptonomicon.” HarperCollins.

I have a black-velvet Elvis.

“He has the makings of either a total loser or a successful entrepreneur, or maybe one of those guys who will oscillate between those two poles.”

    Excerpt From: Stephenson, Neal. “Cryptonomicon.” HarperCollins.

That’s probably been said about more than one writer I know.

“The General extends one arm toward Manila, hand slightly cupped, palm canted upward, gesturing like a Shakespearean actor in a posed photograph.”

    Excerpt From: Stephenson, Neal. “Cryptonomicon.” HarperCollins.

Yeah, when in doubt, invoke Shakespeare.

The text itself loops back and forth with three plot lines eventually merging together, through time and space, and even thou I’ve read this before, the suspense still builds.

“Don’t you think it would be a useful item to add to your intellectual toolkits to be capable of saying, when a ton of wet steaming bullshit lands on your head, ‘My goodness, this appears to be bullshit’? Now.”

    Excerpt From: Stephenson, Neal. “Cryptonomicon.” HarperCollins.

News for nerds. Stuff that matters. Snippets from the epic tome. Besides Captain Crunch Cereal, there’s the super-geek, standard metaphor between romantic relationships and painful oral surgery.

Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson


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