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 Monday, 20 December 2004
Monday, 20 December 2004 13:45:25 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00) ( )

Here's a site that transforms your short text into a lengthy spam-like message. Apparently this is a technique known as steganography according to this article.

Very cool stuff, and a concept that is used very heavily in Stephenson's Baroque Cycle books, and has a lot in common with the ideas used in Cryptonomicon as well.

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Monday, 20 December 2004 14:24:40 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
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Monday, 20 December 2004 14:25:28 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I am soooo evil ;)

The original message is:

That's pretty funny, Rocky. And I have to eventually get around to reading Stephenson's Baroque books.
Tuesday, 21 December 2004 09:06:41 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I just picked up Quicksilver the other day; I hope I enjoy it as much as I did Crypto.

That previous comment was expected, but funny.
Tuesday, 21 December 2004 16:48:11 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I am half-way through the second book at this point, and on the whole it is Cryptonomicon sprinkled with ever-so-much-moreso powder.

Which is to say that the Baroque Cycle is harder and more dense than Crypto. There's also more carnal imagery. But the writing is at least as good, and the scope is much, much larger.
Tuesday, 21 December 2004 21:35:02 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Neal Stephanson makes my brain melt.

Yeah...Crypto pretty much ruined me for reading anything except non-fiction for a while, because it was such a dense, full-sensory engaging experiance.

I'mjust past the Issac Newton "eye-ball experiament" in Quicksilver...ooohhhh. Major eeewwwage...but still couldn't stop.

Trees
kemaris
Wednesday, 22 December 2004 07:09:15 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Finished the first two, eagerly anticipating book-shaped xmas gifts at the moment ;-)

The one tiny problem I have with Stephenson's books is that they tend to end in a awful hurry. They are all huge tomes full of amazing characterisation, great stories... and then they just stop. I allways got the impression that he could write more - just carry on going almost indefinateley - if he was allowed to. I am hoping that, by going for a trilogy of huge tomes, this time he wil have the space he needs to finish the story without leaving me thinking "Hey, so what happens to Raven? Or Uncle Enzo? Or the whole freeking world!"
Tim Ensor
Wednesday, 22 December 2004 10:54:34 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Ahh, but that's the nature of cyberpunk literature. That's why Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle are cyberpunk even though they have no cyber and precious little punk ;-)

It is the hallmark of cyberpunk literature to have multiple, concurrent threads of story that are quasi-unrelated, and then to have them all collapse into a single thread in a rush at the end.

Of course there are exceptions to this in the realm of cyberpunk, but it is a commonly used device on the whole.

But I agree, that type of ending does leave me wishing for more. That is true of most Gibson books as well as the Stephenson ones...
Wednesday, 22 December 2004 11:46:36 (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
True, Gibson is guilty of the same thing to some degree - but he tends to weaves some of those loose threads back in in later books - both the cyberpunk cycle and the virtual light cycle work better as trilogies than individual books.

Don’t get me wrong - if anything it is a complement for Stephenson really - he can write 900+ page books that still leave me wishing for just one more chapter. That’s a trick not many can accomplish!

PS if you havent, you must read Iain M Banks. Especially "Against a Dark Background". Not Cyberpunk but Scifi from the top drawer!
Tim Ensor
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