NYRB Classics collector. Reads anything, so long as it's good. Sometimes historian. Frequently grumpy: you've been warned. Also at aliceunderskies.tumblr.com.
Not Neal Stephenson's best, not even close. There were too many characters that I didn't care about, and I found myself really longing to skip huge sections--which is against my rules--just so I could get back to Nell and her education in awesomeness. Lately it seems I've been hampered by what I wish a book were rather than what it actually is: in this one I really wanted it to be just a story of the three Primer girls and the different ways they are shaped by it. At one point I had a glimmering of an amazing ending where the three would have some sort of revelatory intersection--not even an epic battle, though I must admit that the movie-watching, entertain-me! part of my brain longed for that--in which grand implications would abound. I'm not even sure what exactly I wanted implicated, but it definitely wasn't hive minds. In actuality, the end turned into a crazy crammed mess in which tons of things happened all at once and the few scenes that you really wanted were denied. NS is still one of my (two) favorite SF authors, and even this weak book is dazzling in its worldbuilding and delicious infodumping, but it didn't know what it wanted to be and so ended up rather confused and confusing.