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The Diamond Age; Not A "SciFi" Fan?

diamond.JPGThe Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson is a science fiction book that I am reading for EL:150. I had a lot of experience with this genre last term in my Popular Fiction class with Dr.Wendland. I recall reading several short stories and liking them very much, as well as the novel Crossfire by Nancy Kress. The Diamond Age lends itself to many of the science fiction stereotypes. It deals with a lot of interesting or made up vocabulary, you have to often read passages over several times to comprehend them and no prior knowledge of any kind is needed to read this genre.

I have yet to distinguish whether this is an example of hard or soft science fiction. I think one way for me to tell if this is a good novel in general is if it has the ability to interest those people that aren't reading for the science fiction aspect of the story and their attention can still be held. From what I have read on other peoples blogs, the general feeling is that this is the 'worst book ever written' or there is that very common saying of 'well I am not really into science fiction novels.' One reason that people tend to not like this novel is the fact that it includes a lot of description (perhaps too much.) This I can agree with, but I don't think that it ruins the rest of the story.

Comments (4)


Hard science fiction, don't you agree? It is so seeped in technology and science ficton elements- so I'm calling it hard. If it was just a story with the occasional alien here and there, it might be soft.

I'd agree... the length and complexity of the technical descriptions would certainly push this novel into the "hard" category. But Bud's world is not the same world in which the rest of the novel takes place, so the other parts of the novel don't use quite so many slang terms.

What artistic goal might Stephenson might have been reaching for, that might prompt him to put so much terminology in Bud's section of the story?


I had to read the book last year. We all hated it at first, but trust me it gets a lot better. I am not a big sci-fi fan either, but seriously it gets a lot better. Come to my blog and check out the entries I wrote about it last year. Yeah, it was funny last year, everyone was like, "Dr.Jerz, why did you pick this book for us, we hate it!" I promise it gets a lot better. Oh yeah, Nell was my favorite character.


I think the focus of the book (on the relationships of the people and their reactions) make it more soft.

Leslie, I bet Dr. Wendland is smiling as he reads your genre inquiry!

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