Book: The Diamond Age

Posted on Tue 14 September 2004 in general

This was one of the last books Glyn had recommended to me. I started reading it at the end of my holiday in Cyprus and have just gotten around to finishing it. This is the first Neal Stephenson book I've read but I enjoyed it so much I really must dig "Snow Crash" out of the memorial library (I assume Glyn had it) for a read.

The story follows that of a girl named Nell and her relationship with a book called "The Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" which falls into her possession. The book itself is a highly complicated teaching aid which adapts and bonds to its owner teaching them such useful life
skills as unarmed combat, computer programming, and basic survival though a highly personalised and interactive narrative. The story basically follows Nell's life as she grows up and is split between real life happenings and the narrative of the Primer. One of my favorite sections is the bit where the book tells the story about Princess Nell and Castle Turing which gives the nicest introduction to
a Turing Machine I've read. Another thing I enjoyed is the world that Stephenson has created has lots current technologies that have been developed further (like
P2P networks and distributed computing). The concept of virtual communities no longer bound by geographic regions was also intriguing. And the nano-tech was just cool, I want my matter compiler now!

After enjoying "Use of Weapons" I've just started "The Player of Games".