The Diamond Age (1995)


Neal Stephenson (writer).


A fine transitional piece between Stephenson’s extrapolative cyberpunk and his later, still-more idiosyncratic SF works. This is certainly high concept, blissfully ignoring foreseen problems with nanotechnology and diving back into history to combine that technology with the culture of The Difference Engine (1990) and a version of the Boxer Rebellion. The memes of this world were clearly thought up before Internet memes began to produce a “new” culture. I would have liked to see still more extrapolation and economics. The most annoying feature of the plot is the large number of discarded Chinese girls, which would hardly keep happening far more than a century into the publication’s future; indeed the one-child policy was phased out starting in 2015.

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