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The Diamond Age (1995)

de Neal Stephenson

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11,004200597 (4.09)302
Fiction. Literature. Science Fiction. HTML:Vividly imagined, stunningly prophetic, and epic in scope, The Diamond Age is a major novel from one of the most visionary writers of our time
Decades into our future, a stone??s throw from the ancient city of Shanghai, a brilliant nanotechnologist named John Percival Hackworth has just broken the rigorous moral code of his tribe, the powerful neo-Victorians. He's made an illicit copy of a state-of-the-art interactive device called A Young Ladys Illustrated Primer  Commissioned by an eccentric duke for his grandchild, stolen for Hackworth's own daughter, the Primer??s purpose is to educate and raise a girl capable of thinking for herself. It performs its function superbly. Unfortunately for Hackworth, his smuggled copy has fallen into the wrong hands.
Young Nell and her brother Harv are thetes??members of the poor, tribeless class.  Neglected by their mother, Harv looks after Nell.  When he and his gang waylay a certain neo-Victorian??John Percival Hackworth??in the seamy streets of their neighborhood, Harv brings Nell something special: the Primer.
Following the discovery of his crime, Hackworth begins an odyssey of his own. Expelled from the neo-Victorian paradise, squeezed by agents of Protocol Enforcement on one side and a Mandarin underworld crime lord on the other, he searches for an elusive figure known as the Alchemist.  His quest and Nell??s will ultimately lead them to another seeker whose fate is bound up with the Primer??a woman who holds the key to a vast, subversive information network that is destined to decode and reprogram th
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» Mira també 302 mencions

Anglès (193)  Francès (2)  Castellà (1)  Hongarès (1)  Romanès (1)  Finès (1)  Alemany (1)  Italià (1)  Totes les llengües (201)
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This is a very enjoyable book, which displays similar strengths and weaknesses to the other Stephenson books I have read (admittedly limited to the Baroque trilogy). In the pros column: it is hugely gripping; he creates convincing worlds extremely well; and he is exceptionally good at communicating complicated ideas. The castles in King Coyote's kingdom were a clever and concise description of the underpinnings and development of Computer Science (and is much better than the equivalent explanation of the workings of the emerging financial markets, in the Baroque Trilogy).

He is less good at communicating who is doing what, when and on behalf of whom, and so the plot, while dragging you along at a breakneck pace, is not always entirely coherent. Additionally, his characterisations wander a little, and, in short, his writing isn't as good as it could be.

Unlike The Baroque Trilogy, this is set in the future, on an Earth where nanotechnology has transformed people's lives, and the West has declined in influence in favour of the Far East economies. Without giving a plot synopsis easily found elsewhere, the book frequently employs a story-within-a-story device, which I found reminiscent of Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I'd recommend the bravura performances of the Baroque Trilogy over this, but it's still a fascinating book, interesting and engaging on many levels, and a great read.
( )
  thisisstephenbetts | Nov 25, 2023 |
One of the best, if not the best, of Stephenson's works. ( )
  Zoes_Human | Nov 12, 2023 |
This book has such a slow start that, when I started it a few years ago, I put it down after getting maybe 60 pages in. It has been recommended to me various times over the years, so I decided to give it another try. Stephenson's audiobooks from this era were recorded with an extremely distinctive sound. It is fall here, and I began getting nostalgic for the sound of the recording of "Snow Crash." This is what pushed me over the edge to give it another try.

The book builds momentum as it moves along, and like many of Stephenson's books, ends at the soonest possible moment, not allowing the reader the satisfaction of seeing how things play out. Even so, I very much enjoyed it.

I'm always impressed by Stephenson's creativity. I'm much more interested in "social fiction" than science fiction, but so often the books I read replicate the social structures of today (such as in books like "Parable of the Sower"). Stephenson has managed to create something different here—in this case, a world not defined by nation-states, but by "phyles," which people can opt into our out of, creating a much more.

Published in 1995, Stephenson dispels such superstition that AI could displace humans (oddly something which is still being debated today).

The technological exploration revolves around two different philosophies—one of the "feed" (3D printers that can make anything) and the "seed" (generative structures that behave much more like life forms)—and the social implications therein.

In the Diamond Age, the United States has become a backwater, and China, Japan, and the Victorians are the three global superpowers. By the end of the book, China has driven out or killed all "foreign devils," an eventuality that doesn't feel that much like fiction in current day. ( )
  willszal | Oct 29, 2023 |
I loved this book when I first read it many years ago. Coming back to it now it's still chocka block full of inspiring ideas, but it's also not nearly as well written as some of his later stuff, and it also comes across as offensive in ways I never noticed previously ( )
  emmby | Oct 4, 2023 |
The Diamond Age is an ambitious book full of rich descriptions of life in an imaginary future based on the perfection of nanotechnology. That dense world-building is the joy of the novel. Stephenson does an admirable job of creating a future that extrapolates from our present and imagines the changes that certain technologies might have on society and relationships. There's also a story in there somewhere, but I had a hard time picking it out of the dense language, sparse dialog, and long exposition.

Is this the story of John Hackworth, nanotech engineer extraordinaire, who creates the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, loses an illicit copy of it, and spends a lifetime chasing after it? Or is it the story of Nell, the underprivileged girl who winds up with the stolen Primer, is bonded with it, and wanders the clans and territories around Shanghai? Or is it the story of the mysterious Dr. X, who has a plan that requires a book like the Primer and so kidnaps and enlists Hackworth to create it? Or perhaps it's the story of Miranda, the actress, who winds up being Nell's surrogate, digital mother via the Primer. Unfortunately, I still don't have an answer for this question.

There were many sections of this book that really clicked for me. They drew me in and had me turning pages. But there were also long sections, where I no longer cared at all what was happening to the characters. I'm fascinated by the fact that so many people, including several awards committees, think so highly of this book. Stephenson is quite a writer. But quantity and quality of words aren't enough for me if I can't identify with the characters and their story. ( )
  zot79 | Aug 20, 2023 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Stephenson, Nealautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Jensen, BruceAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wiltsie, JenniferNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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By nature, men are nearly alike;
by practice, they get to be wide apart.

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The bells of St. Mark's were ringing changes up on the mountain when Bud skated over to the mod parlor to upgrade his skull gun.
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The difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people--and this is true whether or not they are well-educated--is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations--in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.
It is upon moral qualities that a society is ultimately founded. All the prosperity and technological sophistication in the world is of no use without that foundation.
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Fiction. Literature. Science Fiction. HTML:Vividly imagined, stunningly prophetic, and epic in scope, The Diamond Age is a major novel from one of the most visionary writers of our time
Decades into our future, a stone??s throw from the ancient city of Shanghai, a brilliant nanotechnologist named John Percival Hackworth has just broken the rigorous moral code of his tribe, the powerful neo-Victorians. He's made an illicit copy of a state-of-the-art interactive device called A Young Ladys Illustrated Primer  Commissioned by an eccentric duke for his grandchild, stolen for Hackworth's own daughter, the Primer??s purpose is to educate and raise a girl capable of thinking for herself. It performs its function superbly. Unfortunately for Hackworth, his smuggled copy has fallen into the wrong hands.
Young Nell and her brother Harv are thetes??members of the poor, tribeless class.  Neglected by their mother, Harv looks after Nell.  When he and his gang waylay a certain neo-Victorian??John Percival Hackworth??in the seamy streets of their neighborhood, Harv brings Nell something special: the Primer.
Following the discovery of his crime, Hackworth begins an odyssey of his own. Expelled from the neo-Victorian paradise, squeezed by agents of Protocol Enforcement on one side and a Mandarin underworld crime lord on the other, he searches for an elusive figure known as the Alchemist.  His quest and Nell??s will ultimately lead them to another seeker whose fate is bound up with the Primer??a woman who holds the key to a vast, subversive information network that is destined to decode and reprogram th

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