I just finished it :o). I had 40 pages to read during lunch.
Another excellent book from Mr. Neal Stephenson! I’d put it on par with Cryptonomicon, and definitely better than the first book in the trilogy, Quicksilver. Like the first book in the Baroque Cycle, The Confusion had the advantage of not having to end, and therefore having an excellent “To be continued…” ending. Stephenson’s endings have always been my least favorite parts of his books, but maybe that’s just because I didn’t want them to end.
The other neat thing about this book is the way in which he makes connections with the other two books featuring the Waterhouse and Shaftoe families. They’re subtle, but they’re there. It’s interesting to see what survived from the 1700s into the modern day era of Cryptonomicon…
Best character concept: A Jesuit ronin samurai.
Best quote: “All sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a yo-yo.” — Enoch Root
Suffice it to say that I am really looking forwards to the release of System of the World in September, and I am really hopeful he doesn’t screw up the ending, or make it anti-climactic, as he has done in some of his other books. I think I could go so far as to say the The Confusion had the best ending of any of his books, but maybe I’ve just gotten to much into the characters.
I’ve found that I’ve mapped some of my real-world acquaintances onto some of the characters in the book, due to various similarities in character. It makes it easier to perceive the characters, in one way.
If you are any sort of self-respecting geek, you need to read this series. Read it in publication order; I feel that Cryptonomicon is the best place to start, both in terms of introduction, and in terms of not discovering connections between the books in the wrong order. The two books of the Baroque Cycle thus far reveal a lot more about certain characters, families, and histories that show up in Crypto, and I think you’d enjoy it more if you didn’t already know about them.
Time to go work on my pan-tilt-zoom visualizer for the interface…