README: Neal Stephenson and REAMDE


Photo of Neal Stephenson by Wikimedia Commons.

Oh, we've talked about Neal Stephenson before, discussing The Diamond Age, The Baroque Cycle, and The Mongoliad. We were also lucky enough to have Stephenson come to the Bay Area not once, but TWICE this year, promoting his newest book, Reamde.

Not README. REAMDE. I'll explain.

Stephenson -- who, with his shaved head and epic beard, resembles some of the survivalist characters that populate many of his books -- has been busy cranking out 1,000+ page epic speculative-fiction books for the past twelve years, but has been writing since 1984. It took him fifteen years to develop the style for which he is known -- huge sweeping social-engineering tomes ranging across historical and nerd-heavy topics.

Stephenson also has solid credentials as a nerd. Just take a look at his old essay "In the Beginning...Was the Command Line." (Included here with editorial comments by Garrett Birkel.)

Nerd-Heavy Topics Galore

In any case, he came down from Seattle to SF and Mountain View, giving readings and answering questions about his new book, Reamde. Reamde is, in the book, the name of a virus, a corruption of the more common README.EXE filename. The book is about ... many things. Chinese hackers, MMORPGs that resemble World of Warcraft, terrorists, and Russian gangsters. There's also a lot of shooting. This is a book filled with nerds who have an affinity for automatic weapons.

(It is my opinion that more scifi books should be about nerds who have an affinity for automatic weapons because take a look at Counter-Strike. Or Halo. Or Call of Duty. Video games and machine guns go hand-in-hand. And nerds and video games go hand-in-hand.)

(Therefore, if A equals B and B equals C, then A equals C as well.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


Author Bio:

Josh Pearce is a nerd who owns a lot of video games.

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