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The Best Neal Stephenson Characters

In the wake of awaited-with-geekly-mouth-froth Anathem‘s publication, articles about Neal Stephenson are popping up like mushrooms. Popular Mechanics (Popular Mechanics?) has gotten in on the act with a list of the six best Stephenson characters.

Hero: Randy Waterhouse /// Book: Cryptonomicon (1999) /// Profession: Programmer & Entrepreneur
Randy Waterhouse is an unlikely iconoclast: a programmer with little skills with women, firearms or the underworld. Yet his stated purpose in the novel (which has split but interconnected present day and World War II narratives) is to create an unassailable, secure data haven called the Crypt in which anyone with secrets (yes, anyone) can store private information. The plan molts into the formation of a currency-free, untraceable bank, exposing Randy to treasure hunts, FBI raids, magazine covers and a love interest named America.

Best Moment /// Randy evolves from a pudgy programmer to a slightly less pudgy outlaw and geek hero. His narrative arc has many high points, but perhaps the best written is a step-by-step primer on his method of eating Cap’n Crunch cereal, preserving the crunch without cutting the inside of one’s mouth.

This is a…peculiar…list. It is prefaced with the note that it’s “one fan’s favorite characters,” but I dunno…it’s an odd mix.

(Although maybe I’m just sore because Vitaly Chernobyl didn’t make the list.)

Link (via SF Signal)

Posted in Books & Authors September 12th, 2008 by Chip
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