Books by Neal Stephenson

FALL; OR, DODGE IN HELL by Neal Stephenson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 4, 2019

"An audacious epic with more than enough heart to fill its many, many pages."
When Richard "Dodge" Forthrast dies under anesthesia for a routine medical procedure, his story is just beginning. Read full book review >
THE RISE AND FALL OF D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 13, 2017

"A departure for both authors and a pleasing combination of much appeal to fans of speculative fiction."
Immense and immensely entertaining genre-hopping yarn from hard-core sci-fi veteran Stephenson (Seveneves, 2015, etc.) and historical novelist Galland (Stepdog, 2015, etc.). Read full book review >
SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: May 19, 2015

"Meanwhile, all those exploding planetoids make a good argument for more STEM funding. Wise, witty, utterly well-crafted science fiction."
No slim fables or nerdy novellas for Stephenson (Anathem, 2008, etc.): his visions are epic, and he requires whole worlds—and, in this case, solar systems—to accommodate them.Read full book review >
SOME REMARKS by Neal Stephenson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 7, 2012

"A occasionally uneven but mostly engaging assortment from a talented literary mind."
The author of The Baroque Cycle series and works of speculative fiction offers a miscellany of stories and essays, some of classic Stephensonian length. Read full book review >
REAMDE by Neal Stephenson
MYSTERY THRILLER
Released: Sept. 20, 2011

"Who'll prevail? We don't know till the very end, thanks to Stephenson's knife-sharp skills as a storyteller. An intriguing yarn—most geeky, and full of satisfying mayhem."
Who lives by the joystick dies by the joystick: Noir futurist Stephenson (Anathem, 2008, etc.) returns to cyberia with this fast-moving though sprawling techno-thriller. Read full book review >
ANATHEM by Neal Stephenson
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Sept. 9, 2008

"Light on adventure, but a logophilic treat for those who like their alternate worlds big, parodic and ironic."
A sprawling disquisition on "the higher harmonics of the sloshing" and other "polycosmic theories" that occupy the residents of a distant-future world much like our own. Read full book review >
THE SYSTEM OF THE WORLD by Neal Stephenson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"Learned, violent, sarcastic, and profound: a glorious finish to one of the most ambitious epics of recent years."
The Baroque Cycle crosses the finish line: somewhat winded but still spry. Read full book review >
THE CONFUSION by Neal Stephenson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 13, 2004

"Packed with more derring-do than a dozen pirate films and with smarter, sparklier dialogue than a handful of Pulitzer winners, this is run-and-gun adventure fiction of the most literate kind."
Stephenson's Baroque Cycle grows streamlined in a hefty but propulsive second volume. Read full book review >
QUICKSILVER by Neal Stephenson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 2003

"An incorrigible showoff, Stephenson doesn't know when to stop, but that's a trifle compared to his awe-inspiring ambition and cheeky sense of humor."
First in a trilogy about vagabonds and alchemists in Baroque Age Europe. Read full book review >
CRYPTONOMICON by Neal Stephenson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 4, 1999

Stephenson's prodigious new yarn (after The Diamond Age, 1995, etc.) whirls from WWII cryptography and top-secret bullion shipments to a present-day quest by computer whizzes to build a data haven amid corporate shark-infested waters, by way of multiple present-tense narratives overlaid with creeping paranoia. Read full book review >
THE DIAMOND AGE by Neal Stephenson
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Jan. 16, 1995

"All of this is staggeringly inventive and meticulously detailed, but, lacking a coherent plot and set forth in an irritatingly vainglorious style, it's ultimately soulless and uncompelling."
Stephenson (Snow Crash, 1992) imagines a 21st century in which molecular machines (nanotechnology) can create any desired object or structure. Read full book review >
SNOW CRASH by Neal Stephenson
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: May 15, 1992

"The flashy, snappy delivery fails to compensate for the uninhabited blandness of the characters. And despite the many clever embellishments, none of the above is as original as Stephenson seems to think. An entertaining entry that would have benefitted from a more rigorous attention to the basics."
After terminally cute campus high-jinks (The Big U) and a smug but attention-grabbing eco-thriller (Zodiac), Stephenson leaps into near-future Gibsonian cyberpunk—with predictably mixed results. Read full book review >
ZODIAC by Neal Stephenson
NONFICTION
Released: May 26, 1988

Although Stephenson credits the hard-boiled detective novels of James Crumley as the spiritual spark plug for this antic thriller, these adventures of an ultrahip sleuth who tracks ecological crooks owe more to the comic iconoclasm of Richard Farina and William Kotzwinkle—and the immature campus high jinks of Stephenson's own The Big U (1984)—than to Crumley's knowing, semitragic ironies. Narrator Sangamon Taylor, "the granola James Bond," is the resident gumshoe of GEE, a Greenspeace clone based in Boston and dedicated to nonviolent sabotage of polluting companies. A self-styled "professional asshole," late-20s Taylor dresses like a slob, struts his self-righteousness like a badge, and lists nitrous oxide as his drug of choice. Fortunately, he also spins a funny, cocky, engaging rap as he tells of his battle with the villainous Basco company—a battle catalyzed by his find that lobsters in Boston Harbor are packed with PCBs, legacy of an illegal 1956 dumping by Basco. A nighttime boat duel with Basco's goons—Sangamon on his trusty Zodiac raft, the heavies on a smuggler's Cigarette speedster—and a daytime showdown in Basco's boardroom plunges Sangamon into hot water as Basco frames him as a terrorist bomber, sending him on the run. Hiding out in Maine, Sangamon joins forces with a real, world-class terrorist; after they make national news by foiling an assassination attempt on Basco's owner by a polluted Basco employee, they return to Boston to tackle the Big Problem: in trying to cover up its PCB dumping, Basco has loosed a gene-spliced organism that threatens to convert all the salt in the sea to organic chlorine. A violent confrontation in Boston Harbor (on an island of garbage inhabited by fans of a satanic heavy-metal band), a tense brush with a lethal Navy SEAL, and a "mediagenic" assault on a Basco ship loaded with pollutants end this manic tale. Stephenson's high-octane narration, drenched in environmental lore, grabs from start to finish despite its cloying smugness; a likely hit in college/cult circles, this book—with film rights already sold—may entice a wider readership as well. Read full book review >
THE BIG U by Neal Stephenson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1984

A terminally cute 1980s campus novel—as first-novelist Stephenson blends imitation-Thomas Pynchon with imitation Animal House: Apocalypse Meets the Practical Joke is the primary motif. Sarah Jane Johnson, student-body president, and Casimir Radon, physics major, seem to be the only two authentic humans left at American Megaversity—a metastasized academic plant squeezed vertically into a few great skyscrapers; in the aggregate, this ultra-modern campus is known to all as the "Plex." But the Plex also has rats galore and terrorist fraternities and lesbian/feminist cults and an unlimited supply of stereo-amp wattage. And when actual war—civil revolt—breaks out within the Plex, Stephenson's adolescent jollies go into high gear: there are rat swarms, guns, electronic devices, Dungeons and Dragons, exploding foodstuffs in the cafeteria; mysterious exchange students called Crotobaltislavonians appear; and the ruthless combatants come up with murderously elaborate schemes—involving scalding-in-the-shower as a result of thousands of dorm toilets flushed at the same moment. Some obvious campus appeal—but readers no longer living in dorms (and many of those still on campus) will probably find this merely repetitious, labored, and awfully dumb. Read full book review >