Friday, October 23, 2015

The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson

Nanotechnology is common and everything, including food is “printed” with matter compliers. They use “feed”, a sort of network for the raw materials and basis of created things. The feed pipes go everywhere much like the water pipes today. The society is based on “phyles” which could be called some sort tribes based on common culture, nationality or some other combining factor. The nations have apparently more or less disappeared.
Nanotechnological threats are common and the major cities have a sort of “immune system” to protect them from the worst of them.
The plot follows a young girl, who as a small child got a stolen copy of a book (or rather a computer with sophisticated teaching software), which is designed to raise children who are intelligent and ready to act when needed - and are not afraid to face adversaries. In the other chapters, the designer of the book and his attempts to get it back are followed. There are a few other subplots, too. And some of the events in the book happen in the fairytale-like fantasy world of the teaching book and some in the virtual reality.
The end result of many plot lines is a pretty confusing and hard to understand mess. There are some good and interesting parts, though.
Especially in the beginning there were a lot of expository descriptions of objects in everyday use, but mostly that was pretty unavoidable due to the strangeness of the world.
However, the beginning was better than the end of the book as it seemed to turn harder and harder read and follow when plots got more and more convoluted. The world itself was interesting and fascinating, but there were too many and too separate plotlines to follow.
This was the last of the Hugo-awards winners I hadn’t read, and it was clearly below average of the winners.
I am going to reread a few books I haven’t read in decades, and write some sort of wrap-up of all of them. Including a definite, almost official, ranking of all winners ever.
512 pp.

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