First in the Baroque Cycle trilogy

I haven’t read any Neal Stephenson–nope, not even Snow Crash–but Mr. Maud is a fan, and so it is in his honor that I bring the discriminating sci-fi fans among you a link to a brief interview with Stephenson about Quicksilver, his latest novel. I’ve been sitting on that one for a week. You’ve probably seen it elsewhere.

CAAF of Asheville writes that her husband “has been anxiously scanning the bookstores for [Quicksilver] for two months now, forced to comfort himself with James Gleick’s Newton as background reading (Quicksilver is the first of a trilogy about Newton and gang).”

She also passes along a link to an interesting article on Slate today by Paul Boutin, who characterizes the lengthy new novel as Stephenson’s “proof by exhaustion of information technology’s puny place in the universe.” Boutin says:

Stephenson’s endless asides and forays into 17th-century math, science, and society, plus the evolution of standardized currency and the stock market [will] bludgeon some readers into unconsciousness by page 30, but awaken the hunger for detail in others.

Here’s a cryptographic puzzle designed to whet your appetite, and here’s some information that might help you solve it.

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