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The System of the World – first impressions

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If you know people who run marathons, you are familiar with them sending you photos and statistics of their run. This is something similar, for I have just finished Neal Stephenson’s “The System of the World”, the third and final volume in his Baroque Cycle. Paging in at about 900 pages each (and forming a preface to the 800 page “The Cryptonomicon”) This isn’t a casual read, but it is a compelling one, and for those who are considering picking up the paperback edition of the first volume, “Quicksilver”, yes, the journey is worth it.

One of Neal Stephenson’s biggest problems as a novelist is he can’t figure out how to end his books without a deus ex machina. He restrains himself with “The System of the World” and brings the three books to a satisfying conclusion. It only uses a deus ex snuff box, as it were.

Though, if Quentin Tarantino wants to option the one sentence at the end of the book for a movie about the adventures of Jimmy and Danny Shaftoe, Red-Neck Ronin, I will be thrilled.

So, if you were waiting to start these three 900 page novels, the journey is well worth it.

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About Jim Carruthers