Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)

Historical Thriller, 8/10 – November 2006

After reading Snow Crash, I was initially disappointed in this not being in the same genre. But I needn’t have worried – It managed to be an exciting thriller as well as a history book and a science book on computers and cryptography. I really enjoyed the math characters like Alan Turning and Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse. Lawrence’s mathematical analysis of “horniness” made me laugh especially when you realise his son is called “Randy”. The birth of computing during World War 2 is a interesting subject for me. Bobby Shaftoe, the bloody-minded gung-ho US Marine provided some heroic action scenes which offset the scientific calmness rather well.

The Enoch Root character is a bit weird. On p541 it is clear that he dies:

“When Enoch Root dies, the only other people in the room are Rudolf von Hackelheber, Bobby Shaftoe, and the Swedish doctor. The doctor checks his watch, then steps out of the room.”

Then he appears 55 years later with Randy. Either he has faked his death to get out of his recent marriage or, more interestingly, the Enoch Root that appears later is not the same man, but the same character (since, different people can become “root” on a same Linux system)? I’m wondering whether there’s a bit of sci-fi in the book after all?

One response to “Cryptonomicon (Neal Stephenson)”

  1. Dean Ezra

    nice review Tom, intrigues me enough to make me want to read the book, but doesnt give too much away as to spoil the read.

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