more than 500 pages?

Tanaqui tweaver at
Fri Feb 7 02:38:21 EST 2003

Jacob (responding to Christian's cut-off point):
+ Oh man.  I can't believe you'd say that as a rule for all authors.  What a
+ waste of good books.  Cryptonomicon was *excellent* and worth every word.

It's fair to say, though, that _Cryptonomicon_ is a bit of a gallimaufry.
Neal Stephenson is rather fond of the word "ramify", I've noticed, and his
books have been increasingly likely to respond to this subconscious imperative

Yes, it's all enjoyable, and I look forward to the sprawl of _Quicksilver_,
but you could skip the "set pieces" like obsessional breakfasts, or the
equally obsessional sexual quirks, without losing the plot. Now, I like
Stephenson's set pieces, but _Cryptonomicon_ undeniably sprawls. There's
even maths to skip <insouciant grin>.

A fat book like _Perdido Street Station_ needs every one of its words, and
is also a joy to read, but I would never dream of attempting to push it on
someone who didn't have much time to spare for books that don't deliver a
hit as fast as games or anime (I can't include films, because of my
structuralist tendencies: the sort of films I like are ones where you can't
tell if you'll be able to watch it again until you've seen the whole thing
- unless it's a joy to watch the structure unfold, I tend not to reread films).

I like my fast hits from games and anime as well... oh, and I do watch Studio
Ghibli, _Lain_, and other slowish Japanese filmic art, so I know it's not
all robots and psychic powers running amok in anime/manga!

I can't think of a slow game that unfolds gorgeously. Maybe I should make one.
Something like LucasArt's _Grim Fandango_ is certainly a structuralist's
dream (and more gorgeous than, say, _Day of the Tentacle_ which is even more
interlocking in solution), but it's still serving up reward hits.

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