Posts Tagged ‘A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer’

Neal Stephenson is an excellent Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk and Historical Fiction Author who has met with extraordinary success in the past few decades.


His book Snowcrash was a game changer for the Sci-Fi world. He is widely regarded as being a major contributor to Cyberpunk, but not content with that fictional genre he continues to push the envelope into what could be considered “Steampunk” with his series “The Baroque Cycle” , although he travels so far back into history and the very origins of Science that it might be better termed “Horsepunk”.

His books are extremely entertaining, virtually all of them are a good read (You might want to skip his earliest works such as “The Big U” and “Zodiac”).

My favorite book of his that is in the Sci-Fi genre was “The Diamond Age”  or by it’s full title “The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer” which takes place in a future where humanity has mastered nano-technology, and much of the worlds goods are supplied by “Matter Compilers” very much like computer compilers. The book has several fascinating characters, such as a  very poor and disadvantaged young girl named Nell, who comes into possession of a book, which is actually one of the most advanced computers of its age, designed not only to educate a young person, but to transform them into a leader, which is an education that necessarily includes some very rebellious ideas.  It’s a very fascinating notion, and not only did I fall in love with the Princess Nell character, but really wanted to get my hands on that book.

diamond age

The book also includes a very fascinating character that Stephenson admits is based on the 18th century detective novel series hero  “Judge Dee“, which are quite good stories in their own right and the books have a fascinating origin.

This is one of my all time favorite books, and highly recommend you give it a read, after this alphabet series is finished I will be posting a list of my “Top 25 Favorite Sci-Fi Books of All Time” and this book is on that list.

I actually met Neal Stephenson at a book signing when I was and undergrad at Berkeley, at the time he had a pony tail and long leather trench-coat, and had never heard of him nor read his work, and he seemed pretty impressed with himself, I almost wanted to dismiss him out of hand for his obvious arrogance, however, I have to hand it to him, he is a very talented and imaginative writer and was quickly hooked on his work. I might not invite him to go fishing, but I always eagerly await his next book.


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