ABANDONED – Quicksilver

June 5, 2007

somewhere in the system there’s an open ended list of all the lies we tell unblinking, thinking, what could we be living? is it life or is it even in the realm of possibility?This was my third failed attempt to read Neal Stephenson; I’ve previously had my ass kicked by Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash, after hearing equally fantastic reviews about all three.  I don’t know what it is I’m not seeing here, but it’s unlikely I’ll try and read Stephenson again for a long time.

Generally, I make myself read at least 100 pages of books I’m not into before I can decide to give up on them, to see if they grab my attention by then.  In this case, considering that Quicksilver is not only 927 pages long but is apparently “Volume One of the Baroque Cycle”, God help us, I gave it 200, thinking that there might be more exposition required.  Well, there was a metric tonne of exposition, but still not much happening.  Historical fiction is tricky, man; I like it if it’s done properly, but it has to be much more interesting than regular history, or else I just feel like I’m doing all the work of studying but my textbook is lying to me.  This one did seem to be taking off when the King of England blew up the main character’s father while evacuating London, but that was the sensationalistic high point.  In the end, I just don’t care about the adventures of Isaac Newton’s college buddy that much.  If that’s a premise that appeals to you, try Lamb by Christopher Moore; it plays fast and loose with history and instead tells a very funny and interesting story about the eighteen years of Jesus’ life the Bible skips, via his best friend Biff.

If you’re a fan of Neal Stephenson, no offence intended.  It’s clear he’s good at what he does, and I’m sure the Baroque Cycle is a work of art in its own right, I just couldn’t handle it.


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