Questions tagged [neal-stephenson]

Neal Stephenson is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction, which have been variously categorized as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and post-cyberpunk.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
3 votes
1 answer
58 views

Significance of van Hoek's Manila Galleon narration in The Confusion

In Neal Stephenson's The Confusion, the character Van Hoek narrates a story to the crew of Minerva whilst in the habour of Manila. At the end of the chapter, "Japan to Manila," it starts (pg....
  • 133
4 votes
0 answers
108 views

What inspired Shekondar?

Shekondar is a name that shows up across several unrelated Neal Stephenson books, always referring to something different. In The Big U: Tonight they were testing Shekondar Mark V, their state-of-the-...
  • 25.3k
18 votes
3 answers
1k views

Looking for a Neal Stephenson passage on religion as inoculation / vaccination / prophylactic

I recall a section in a Neal Stephenson book where a couple that secretly went to church (or at least didn't make it known) with their kids. As I recall it, they did this not because they were ...
  • 283
8 votes
2 answers
304 views

Is the background of Neal Stephenson's character Root revealed in previous novels?

Many years ago I started reading the Baroque series by Neal Stephenson. I really hated it and abandoned it without finishing, but I was intrigued by his enigmatic character of Root, who was long-lived ...
  • 81
8 votes
5 answers
5k views

In Neal Stephenson’s "Fall; Or, Dodge In Hell", which Meatspace characters are identified with which Bitspace characters?

Spoilers for Fall; Or, Dodge In Hell.
  • 60.9k
3 votes
0 answers
249 views

Four archetypal figures in Stephenson's "Diamond Age" and in Rajaniemi's "Le Flambeur trilogy"

Warning: minor spoilers to "Diamond Age" and "Le Flambeur" ahead. In "Le Flambeur", there are four Aun: Chimney Princess, Green Soldier, Kraken of Light and Flower Prince, former imaginary friends of ...
  • 131
10 votes
1 answer
354 views

Is the word "vitamin" meaning "any item shippable to space" a creation of Neal Stephenson in Seveneves?

As the title states. Stephenson uses (and describes the use of) the word "vitamin" to mean any goods that can be shipped to space. Is that actual space lingo?
  • 11.2k
8 votes
3 answers
4k views

Are there any plans to turn any Neal Stephenson novels into film/TV?

Are there any plans afoot to adapt any of the works by Neal Stephenson into film or television? Has Neal Stephenson sold any of the rights to anyone?
  • 4,160
5 votes
2 answers
296 views

Why did Erasmas' chant cause a commotion?

A few days after his arrival to Tredegarth, Erasmas is summoned along with other newcomers for Inbrase, and is expected to perform a chant. I was expecting a follow-up on why the chant that he ...
  • 53
6 votes
0 answers
591 views

Rise and Fall of DODO: How reasonable is Grainne's syntax, as rendered in the text?

It's not much of a spoiler to reveal that there's a character named Grainne in Stephenson and Galland's The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O, nor that this character is mostly represented in the text by ...
9 votes
1 answer
695 views

Possible anomaly in Cryptonomicon

Toward the beginning of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, Avi gives Randy two strings of sixteen supposedly random hexadecimal numbers as encryption keys: AF 10 06 E9 99 BA 11 07 64 C1 89 ...
  • 101
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

In Seveneves, what happens to this mission?

In Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, a breakaway group launches a Mars mission. A preliminary mission is sent but is it ever revealed what happened to it?
  • 607
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

In Seveneves, who are the Owners?

Ty mentions "the Owners" several times. They seem to be neither Red nor Blue and furthermore are hinted to have links to "the Purpose", but is it clarified anywhere who they are?
  • 607
7 votes
1 answer
798 views

Why does the mouse army follow Nell?

In Nell's version of the Primer she saves the mouse army and thus they are indebted to her. I assumed that each of the mouse army had her own Primer which ran its own story arc. This seems to be ...
  • 1,657
7 votes
1 answer
500 views

What becomes of the drummers?

So at the end of the book it seems as if Nell actually drowns all the drummers: They passed up through many tunnels, always taking the uphill fork until they saw sunlight shining down from above ...
  • 173
10 votes
2 answers
552 views

What sub-genre of Science Fiction is the Baroque Cycle?

Per the Wikipedia entry about the series - Despite featuring a literary treatment consistent with historical fiction, Stephenson has characterized the work as science fiction, because of the ...
3 votes
0 answers
269 views

How to find the missing appendices from the Anathem audiobook? [closed]

I've listened to Anathem by Neal Stephenson on Audible AudioBook. While browsing in my local bookshop the other day I picked up a copy of the book and had a flick through. It turns out that there are ...
  • 4,160
6 votes
2 answers
388 views

Courts, governments, and jurisdictions in The Diamond Age?

In The Diamond Age, the narration firmly establishes that the traditional geography-based nation-state has been made obsolete by technology. That is, information secrecy has made it impossible for ...
  • 807
9 votes
5 answers
2k views

Ongoing racial purity in Seveneves

Spoilers for third section of Seveneves: Moira is able to synthesize a Y chromosome to create boys for the second generation of infants on the Cradle. And yet, there is no explanation of what ...
  • 275
12 votes
1 answer
984 views

In Cryptonomicon, why does Mr Wing have to learn the coordinates of Golgotha from Randy?

In Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, Mr Wing tries to learn coordinates of Golgotha from Randy Waterhouse. If I understood this part correctly, then my question is why? Clearly, Goto Dengo knew the ...
  • 223
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Did Neal Stephenson make up the nickname for the ISS in Seveneves?

In the book Seveneves, early on it's mentioned that, unmongst the inhabitants of the International Space Station it is colloquially known as 'Izzy'. This nickname then persists throughout the rest of ...
  • 4,160
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Chain of events in second act of "Seveneves"

[The title of this questions is deliberately vague to avoid spoiling the plot] In the second act of Seveneves, hilarity ensues because However, this could have been avoided if which was justified ...
  • 3,401
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is Miss Matheson from Diamond Age, YT from Snow Crash?

In Diamond Age the character Miss Matheson alludes to her past in a reminiscence concerning the 'smart wheels' on her wheel chair. She likens them to those on skateboards and then talks about how she ...
  • 4,160
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can you find or draw a diagram of the Icosahedron orb stack from Anathem by Neal Stephenson?

I'm having a hard time visualising some of it.
  • 584
5 votes
1 answer
547 views

In Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, what other biblical stories besides Babel does he symbolize or reference?

I understand the Babel reference but am blind to the others. I'm not too familiar with the Bible. Thanks guys
  • 51
16 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is in Enoch Root's mystery box in Cryptonomicon?

I read the book(s) long time ago and I don't have them with me now (sorry if some details are vague), but as I recall, Shaftoe gets addicted to morphine as a consequence of the treatment of his war ...
  • 8,397
2 votes
2 answers
416 views

Anathem and Bread-Making

Mild spoilers for Neal Stephenson's Anathem:
  • 60.9k
2 votes
1 answer
777 views

Why was Harv sick in Diamond Age?

Why was Harv sick in Diamond Age? Wouldn't they have technology to cure those kind of diseases? In other parts of the book, they used nanocytes as defenses to to 'cure broken capillaries in the ...
  • 2,030
11 votes
4 answers
2k views

When did the Millenarian's incantations start [spoilers]?

Massive Spoiler Warning: The question discusses events very near the end of Neal Stephenson's Anathem. When Cell 317 was up in space floating with the Cold Black Mirror, several members discussed ...
  • 427
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

How does Hiro Protagonist afford his motorcycle?

From Chapter 3 of Snow Crash: But in the bleak light of full adulthood, which is to one's early twenties as Sunday morning is to Saturday night, he can clearly see what it really amounts to: He's ...
6 votes
1 answer
718 views

Is it possible to use an EMP weapon, as described in Cryptonomicon?

In chapter 76, Pulse, we see a parking lot, a street, and (the contents of) a building across the street being taken out by an EMP gun. The target was a computer within the building. This is ...
  • 37.3k
15 votes
3 answers
34k views

Why does Neal Stephenson use the term Nipponese instead of Japanese?

Is there any particular reason why Neal Stephenson consistently refers to Japan as Nippon, and the Japanese as the Nipponese? I first noticed this in the novel Cryptonomicon, again in Reamde, and ...
  • 253
12 votes
2 answers
890 views

How did YT end up in the van with religious people in Snow Crash? (spoilers)

When YT was skating away from a Fed Land building, someone launched a rocket at her and knocked her off her board. She went unconscious and woke up in a van with religious people headed to the raft. ...
  • 2,030
5 votes
1 answer
476 views

Is there a longer version of "Jipi and the Paranoid Chip"?

In the version of "Jipi and the Paranoid Chip" that appears online, there's a note at the top: "(excerpt as appeared in Forbes, July 7, 1997)." Was the version that appeared in Forbes an excerpt of a ...
  • 5,128
5 votes
1 answer
315 views

Has Dynabook inspired Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age?

I'm looking for evidence about Dynabook, by Alan Kay, being the inspiration for Neal Stephenson self-learning book in The Diamond Age: a young lady's illustrated primer.
3 votes
1 answer
501 views

Was Enoch Root right about Heracles killing a large chunk of the offspring of Ares in original myths?

"... it appears that Heracles, backed up by Athena all the way, personally murders at least half of Hannibal Lecterish offspring of Ares." (“Cryptonomicon” By Neal Stephenson, Page 806, Enoch Root's ...
11 votes
3 answers
720 views

In Neal Stephenson's "Anathem," is Cnoüs' statue a reference to Freemasonry?

In Part 2 ("Apert") of Anathem, Erasmas was guiding a tour and was explaining the story of a statue of Cnoüs: "The central sculpture was more than six thousand years old; it had been a world-...
  • 463
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Who's Randy Waterhouse's father in Cryptonomicon?

I just read Cryptonomicon's chapter 70 - "Origin", and at the end of it I didn't quite get who's Randy Waterhouse's father. All of Lawrence Waterhouse's children are referred to as "Uncle" or "Aunt" ...
5 votes
3 answers
436 views

Were the Hindu job applicants really in danger of having their heads sawn off by their collars?

Early on in Diamond Age: A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, the following passage is used to describe a group of people who have come to apply for jobs at Machine-Phase Systems Limited: Hackworth ...
  • 53.8k
3 votes
0 answers
117 views

Was there an opposing group in "Interface?"

Near the beginning of the novel Interface, we learn of an organization (actually a business coalition) called "The Network" that acts as a driving force behind the plot of the novel. It's briefly ...
13 votes
3 answers
874 views

What is the purpose/rules of the Day Gate in Anathem?

In Neal Stephenson's Anathem, the gates of Unarian, Decenarian, Centenarian and Millenarian maths open once a year, decade, century and millennium respectively. But what is the Day Gate for? Clearly, ...
  • 22.4k
8 votes
2 answers
439 views

Was the Metaverse based on the World Wide Web?

Reading through Snow Crash today, it's hard not to think of the Metaverse and The Street as a futuristic version of the Internet which we have today. However, given that Snow Crash was published in ...
  • 684
16 votes
3 answers
595 views

Why was Raven peddling drugs on the street?

In Snow Crash, the behemoth of a man, Raven was seen trying to sell the Snow Crash "drug" to Hiro just outside the Black Sun Club in the metaverse. Why would he be doing this if If he had that plan ...
  • 42.4k
14 votes
4 answers
928 views

Is the IP address used realistically in the book "REAMDE"?

I understand that IP addresses are not reliable in pin-pointing a person's physical location. The inaccuracy is attributed to multiple factors. The IP could be from the DHCP pool and shared between ...
  • 385
11 votes
2 answers
703 views

How did Hiro help YT out of jail?

In Snow Crash, Hiro Protagonist is called on by YT to help her get out of jail when she was caught in a burbclave without a permit. How did Hiro help her out if he was in the Black Sun with David ...
  • 42.4k
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Difference between Anathem and Voco

I'm about 1/3 of the way through Neal Stephenson's 'Anathem' and so far, I've been able to follow most of his terminology, but one thing sticks out in my mind. Spoiler'ed for those who haven't read ...
  • 2,031
26 votes
1 answer
3k views

Which of the three endings to Stephenson's "Anathem" is "definitive"?

Near the end of Anathem, the story posits three different "world lines": Jad and Erasmus arrive on the bridge of the invading ship; Erasmus (and, presumably, Jad) die when Jad triggers the "...
  • 4,176
22 votes
5 answers
10k views

The ending of The Diamond Age

I have just finished rereading Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age for about the fourth time and am still confused about the ending. The part that is confusing me is as follows:
15 votes
5 answers
10k views

Do these Neal Stephenson books have a recommended chronological order?

I've had "In the Beginning...was the Command Line" by Neal Stephenson on my Amazon Wish list for a while, but I do realize it's not much of a science fiction / fantasy book (still going to get it some ...
8 votes
2 answers
507 views

Why was Seed being developed instead of iterative building on an existing solution?

Why they built a seed technology for "open source nanotechnology" instead of iterative building on feed lines? The iterative build seems to be quite simple: Establish healthy community of open feed ...