Retail pak Time Warner AudioBooks 2001
CS ISBN 1586211129 $24.98 Four cassettes
In this version of Neal Stephenson's future, Shanghai is the heart of the 21st-century economy. But the patricians of the society have reassumed the values and practices of Victorian England, having decided 20th-century mores were a failure. The story is two parallel tales. One is about a street urchin, Nell, who doesn't realize she holds the key to interactive intelligence and learning. The other is Nell's interactive storybook, which helps her grow, mature, and uncover its secrets. The story is good, but not as intense as the author's previous book, SNOW CRASH. Because he uses Victorian society as a metaphor, he has constructed the book like a Victorian novel, including preview descriptions of the action in each chapter. But Dickensian pacing does not make Dickens. So even abridged, the novel is slow. For as much time as listeners invest in Nell, they are left not especially caring what happens to her. R.C.G. (c) AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine [Published: JUN/JUL 02]
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