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Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson (b. October 31, 1959 in Fort Meade, Maryland) is primarily a science fiction writer in the postcyberpunk genre. He also writes nonfiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired Magazine.

Although he wrote earlier novels such as the eco-thriller Zodiac, he came to fame in the early 1990s with the novel Snow Crash (1992) which fuses memetics, computer viruses, and other high-tech themes with Sumerian mythology. Averaging one novel every four years, he has written these subsequent novels: The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (1995) which deals with a future with extensive nanotechnology; Cryptonomicon (1999), a novel concerned with computing and codebreaking from the Second World War codebreakers to a modern attempt to set up a data haven; and Quicksilver (2003), a historical novel that is in some respects a prequel to Cryptonomicon.

With the 2003 publication of Quicksilver, Stephenson debuted The Metaweb, a wiki (using the same software as Wikipedia) annotating the ideas and historical period explored in the novel.

Table of contents
1 Style
2 Works
3 External links


Stephenson, at least in his earlier novels, deals heavily in pop-culture-laden metaphors and imagery and in quick, hip dialogue, as well as in extended narrative monologues. The tone of his books generally is more irreverent and less self-serious than in previous cyberpunk novels, notably those of William Gibson.

Stephenson's books tend to have elaborate, inventive plots drawing on numerous technological and sociological ideas at the same time. This distinguishes him from other mainstream science fiction authors who tend to focus on a few technological or social changes in isolation from others. This penchant for complexity and detail suggests a baroque writer. His book The Diamond Age features "neo-Victorian" characters and employs Victorian-era literary conceits. In keeping with the baroque style, Stephenson's books have gotten longer as he has gained recognition. (Cryptonomicon is nearly a thousand pages long and contains various digressions, including a lengthy erotic story about antique furniture and stockings).

A characteristic aspect of his books is the "breakdown in events", a (conscious or not) acceleration in plot development (typically about three quarters of the way into the book) accompanied by a marked increase in violence and general confusion among the characters. This pattern holds for all of the Stephenson-penned books except perhaps Quicksilver.


He has also written fiction as Stephen Bury together with J. Frederick George - at least two novels, Interface and The Cobweb.

External links