Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing

Some Remarks Essays and Other Writing New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson is quite simply one of the best and most respected writers alive He s taken sf to places it s never been Snow Crash Anathem He s reinvented the h

  • Title: Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing
  • Author: Neal Stephenson
  • ISBN: 9780062024435
  • Page: 336
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson is, quite simply, one of the best and most respected writers alive He s taken sf to places it s never been Snow Crash, Anathem He s reinvented the historical novel The Baroque Cycle , the international thriller Reamde , and both at the same time Cryptonomicon.Now he treats his legion of fans to Some Remarks, an e 1 New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson is, quite simply, one of the best and most respected writers alive He s taken sf to places it s never been Snow Crash, Anathem He s reinvented the historical novel The Baroque Cycle , the international thriller Reamde , and both at the same time Cryptonomicon.Now he treats his legion of fans to Some Remarks, an enthralling collection of essays Stephenson s first nonfiction work since his long essay on technology, In the Beginning Was the Command Line, than a decade ago as well as new and previously published short writings both fiction and non.Some Remarks is a magnificent showcase of a brilliantly inventive mind and talent, as he discourses on everything from Sir Isaac Newton to Star Wars.

    One thought on “Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing”

    1. Leave it to Neal Stephenson to publish a collection of essays that cover everything from office furniture to the metaphysical theories of Gottfried Leibniz. (I found the office furniture one more enjoyable.)The thing about Stephenson is that once he gets interested in a subject, he is going to write the shit out of it and leave no idea unexplored. It’s what makes him unique and his skill is usually enough to get the reader to go along for the ride. But even a fan like myself started getting se [...]

    2. I'm very forgiving of essay collections by my favorite authors. Even though in some ways it feels like cheating, I've often not read the essays, so what do I care if they get the cheap revenue? The Stephenson is not the best essay collection I've read, many of the stories are old and feel dated, but there is enough here by a great writer that it is worth reading for any fan. The vast majority of the book is from Mother Earth, Motherboard. A huge article he wrote for Wired in 1996. Don't be scare [...]

    3. A lot of the material in this collection can be found online*. (The longest piece is a reprint of Mother Earth, Mother Board, which is not only available online but has also been reprinted in the kindle edition of Cryptonomicon.) The new material is good, but not very long, so whether it makes sense for you to read this or not is going to depend on how much of it you've already read, how much you value the convenience of having all the pieces in one place, and/or how much you enjoy re-reading. I [...]

    4. I have read only two of Neal Stephenson's novels (Snow Crash and The Diamond Age) but I loved them both immensely. I would consider them both to be five-star novels. They are, in fact, two of the best science-fiction novels I've ever read. The ideas within them (which even Stephenson acknowledges--in the book I'm commenting on now--is what really counts) are mind-blowing, but the characters are not your average sci-fi novel characters. They're real people, like the kind you'd find in "literary" [...]

    5. Neal Stephenson’s Some Remarks is a highly stimulating read from my favorite living author. This collection of essays and short fiction sheds light on Stephenson’s personal background, writing methods, and modes of information synthesis. As always, we are treated to a very special version of the world––one seen through the eyes of an author who has carefully surrounded himself with some of the most intelligent, curious and capable humans on Earth (and who happens to be one of them himsel [...]

    6. Perfect for a fan like me (but you can get most of this material online.)I love "Why I am a bad correspondent" "The quality of my e-mails and public speaking is, in my view, nowhere near that of my novels. So for me it comes down to the following choice: I can distribute material of bad-to-mediocre quality to a small number of people, or I can distribute material of higher quality to more people. But I can't do both; the first one obliterates the second."

    7. Not sure how I let this slip by in 2012. Only my favorite author, who, though still in his fifties and as productive as ever, will only write a finite number of books, and reading any of them is one of the top 5-10 things I can be doing at any given time. I guess my excuse is that it's not a novel, it's a compilation of essays, short stories, and magazine columns, some of which are 20+ years old. So like, if I was a true completist I'd have already hunted down all of this stuff. Mostly interesti [...]

    8. The Best Essay Collection from 2012 Courtesy of Neal StephensonWithout a doubt, Neal Stephenson may be the most pensive, most expansive, writer of my generation, and these are traits he shows abundantly in his recent essay collection, “Some Remarks”, that also include several terse short stories he has written over the years. Stephenson’s writing is expansive in the sense that it covers many topics at once, which is why, for example, his “Baroque Cycle” trilogy is a compelling fictiona [...]

    9. From its bland title to what Stephenson admits in his "Introduction," Some Remarks is a very weak collection of Stephenson's short writings.The collection covers Stephenson's entire career as a writer, and some of its material goes back roughly twenty years. This means that many of the essays are out of date.Stephenson also makes the mistake of including what I think is an unpublished introduction to David Foster Wallace's book on infinity, Everything and More. (I own the first edition hardback [...]

    10. Some Remarks by Neal Stephenson is a collection of essays, one sentence from a novel that he never finished, and a few short stories. I’m not the typical audience for this book as I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, nor science-y essays. As a result, I read a bit of the most recent essays in the collection, the introduction, and the short fiction pieces, plus the one sentence to the novel. I can say that I see why he never went further with his novel; it wasn’t very attention grabbing for m [...]

    11. Some Remarks was, to be honest, a disappointment. As the foreword implies, it feels like it was published because "it's the thing to do" at this point during an author's career to put out a compilation of their shorter works. The result is an uneven mix of interviews, short stories and some essays.The problem with tech journalism is that it does not age well, and a full third of the volume is taken up by "Mother Board, Mother Earth", a long article about undersea cable. While I figure that the b [...]

    12. Reading Mother Earth , Mother Board a longread from 1996 about data cable infrastructure which is at points tedious but i am being rewarded by paragraphs like these During the 1980s, when Americans started to get freaked out about Japan again, we heard a great deal about Japanese corporations’ patient, long-term approach to R&D and how vastly superior it was to American companies’ stupid, short-term approach. Since American news media are at least as stupid and short-term as the big corp [...]

    13. You can read this rather enjoyable collection- if you're a fan of Mr Stephenson: you'll be curious to hear him ponder about many an issue, mostly technological. Some older material will be meh, some will be well-rounded and pleasant. He talks with an admiration you can feel about the world of the Baroque Cycle; he sheds a light on his vision of science fiction, or rather speculative fiction as he names it one speech. He edited some of the meh stuff because he cares.- if you're a geek: Mr Stephen [...]

    14. “Some Remarks,” by Neil Stephenson, is a collection of the author’s short writings and interviews. It is also a bit of an odd starting place for someone who has never read a Neil Stephenson novel – collected works generally being what people turn to after having exhausted all of the novels by a particular author. I read this on the recommendation of a friend, who particularly recommended “Mother Earth, Mother Board,” by far the longest essay in the book. I can now pass on that recomm [...]

    15. My wife asked me what I was reading at one point when I was in the midst of this book, and I said, An essay collection, and then I explained that I was halfway through a 120-page-long piece about fiber optic cable and what's involved with laying it across oceans. That sounded to her like the most boring topic imaginable, but I loved reading about, and mostly because it was written by Neal Stephenson.He is the supreme leader of finding the fascinating minutiae of technology and conveying his inte [...]

    16. This is a collection of some previously published articles by Stephenson, essays, lectures and a few fiction pieces as well.It's a trek through the Stephenson mind, where one is never sure what's around the corner. He touches on politics, writing, sci fi as mainstream, and the future of literature and publishing. I particularly enjoyed his mini-fascination with an prolonged disagreement between Newton and Leibniz.One of the longer pieces describes his adventures following several companies busy [...]

    17. A fun, mostly unremarkable read. Full of Stephenson's typical deep (deep deep) introspection and ranging in topics: fiction about private currency that sounds astoundingly like Bitcoin; analyses of how historical theories about the nature of the universe hold up to (or are supported by) modern science; a one-sentence story about a serial killer on the loose in Tolkien's Shire; excerpts of interviews; a five page description of the author's epic battles with William Gibson, etc. etc.His commentar [...]

    18. I just saw Mr. Stephenson at Skylight Books in Los Fe, he is a marvelous commentator on our unreal reality and technology and being a (now cool) nerd/geekI related to his view of people like myself who used to be despised and now are cool, because FINALLY smart is goodan to read it after I finish plowing through the last 2 novels I purchased to read over the summern't waithe is very astute and hilarious!! I am a teacher, and find I love being read to by talented authors such as he, not only to r [...]

    19. A really lovely collection of essays and short stories. A really nice collection tells its own stories over the course of its pages. Much of the middle of this book is taken up by an epic article, essay, thing?, about laying down undersea cables. Which is a notable and great piece of writing. One forgets that the Internet, and all of these ideas, are grounded in the physical and the messy. That essay pays homage to that.

    20. Having read a number of Neil's books, its fun to hear his voice come out in this collection. I learned about Leibniz and Ames Iowa, both of which I knew a little bit about. There is a particularly long section in the middle about the laying of new transcontinental data cables - fiber optic. It's amazing how something so critical to 1990's telecommunications can seem so quaint 20 years later. On to the Baroque Cycle!

    21. A riveting collection of essays, short stories and articles by a very appreciated science fiction writer. From Leibniz's philosophy to telecom cable laying, from interviews to book introductions, from short stories to the role of science fiction in Western civilization, "Some Remarks" covers a variety of issues in a style which is both accessible and entertaining. Recommended.

    22. Aanrader voor zowel hardcore Stephenson fans als voor wie geinteresseerd is beschouwingen over hedendaagse cultuur. Terechte erkenning voor nerd-ness, echte fans, en al die schrijvers die gewoon kunnen leven van hun werk. Maar voor de meesten net zo buitenbeeld als de tieners die massa's fans op Youtube hebben.

    23. As a reader who's read nearly all of Stephenson's novels, I can safely say this collection of short fiction, articles, interviews, and other short writings is squarely for the fans.It's a nice window into what our favorite spec-fic author thinks about, which is often an oddly nebulous combination of small-government-liberal-but-not-quite-libertarian-leaning politics, history and its murky tendrils into today, other authors, technology and its experts (and its failures to do anything really new s [...]

    24. A very good rambling book which is a collection of Stephenson's essay's, journalism and interviews. He isd an entertaining writer with an always interesting viewpoint and way of looking at issues and topics.Some comments on the included articles:The /dot q&A is wonderful and strange the section on battles between Neil Gaimen and Stephenson are amusing and fantasticalthe Time magazine article about Anathem (2012) should be required reading for high school students or it could be i just love t [...]

    25. This is a collection of Stephenson's short (relatively) pieces, including essays, long-form reporting, and short stories. Of which, to me, the most enjoyable piece is the famous the Wired piece, Mother Earth Mother Board, a piece geeking out on the global marine cable network. Learned so much of the global communications network, Lord Kelvin, and the industry that laying cables for the big telecom companies. Reading the story in 2018 gives me much historical perspective of the those early works. [...]

    26. This is Stephenson at his best and worst. "Mother Earth, Mother Board"--a mammoth essay he wrote for Wired in the '90s about ocean-spanning data connections--takes up the bulk of this collection, and it is worth the price of entry. It's a fascinating piece that is, for the most part, a breezy read despite its focus on dorky tech stuff. (And, it's interesting as a tech time capsule of sorts.) There are some other standouts as well, like his Slate interview and the forward he wrote for a David Fos [...]

    27. Anyone who, like me, wants to be smart will listen to Some Remarks in a constant state of admiration for Neal Stephenson's curiosity, or the breadth of topics he demonstrates an understanding about, or his astounding ability to retain information about those topics, or his equally astounding ability to think critically about them, or how he used that critical thinking to accurately predict the future in stories written decades ago. Anyone who, like me, is not as smart as they want to be, should [...]

    28. I have mixed feelings about this collections of works by Neal Stephenson. On one hand, we are treated to gems like "Mother Earth, Mother Board", "Innovation Starvation", or "Everything and More Forward", which exhibit all of the characteristics that make us love Stephenson's works. There is that attention to detail, no matter how small; the focus on mundane things that turn out to be wonders; the ability to glue seemingly unrelated ideas into fascinating stories.On the other hand, we have pieces [...]

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