August 08, 2004

Cryptonomicon redux

So Friday night, I stayed up until 7:30 in the morning to finish the book. I don't have that much more to say on top of what I said here, here, here, and here. The ending was much in the same vein as the rest of the book, although perhaps slightly rushed (if indeed that can be said about any part of an 1,150 page book). There were a few things that he left hanging, like what was the deal with the guy that died ("onscreen" as it were, not just presumed dead) but was then alive later.

For the most part, though, Cryptonomicon is an incredibly clever, intelligent book, filled with inspired prose about all manner of things. It offers a fairly accessible rundown of cryptography Then and Now, along with some of the sociological motivations and implications thereof. It's a war novel and it's a detective novel. It has an obfuscated Perl script (with typos, beware) that you can figure out before it gets explained in stages later on. It's a word factory, churning out coinages like "Mercato-roentgeno-gram" that never fully explained but make sense in context if, for instance, you know who Wilhelm Röntgen was, or at least what he did.

In summary, people who should read this book include:

  • linguistics geeks,
  • cryptography geeks,
  • computer programmers,
  • WWII buffs,
  • mystery aficionados, and
  • everyone else.

Now starting, not without some trepidation, on The DaVinci Code. We'll see how that goes.

"But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America." --Barack Obama

Posted by blahedo at 11:22pm on 8 Aug 2004
Comments
I've heard from some people whose opinions I trust that DaVinci Code is actually pretty good. Complex and very much worthwhile. I'm interested to hear what you have to say. It's on my list, but way down there and I don't think I'll get to it in what's left of summer. Posted by drlynn at 9:47am on 11 Aug 2004
I cannot imagine a worse lead in though. It will be like eating fishsticks after having just had good sushi. Posted by lee at 11:49pm on 11 Aug 2004
That's a pretty good analogy. I like fish sticks. Posted by Kimmitt at 3:51am on 12 Aug 2004
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