Customer Reviews for

The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 96 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2011

    Amazing cyber punk

    This book rivals snow crash, neuromancer, etc. I'm extremely impressed by the hard sci fi and strong gripping narative. Worth it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2002

    The Value of Education

    This book made me realize the benefits of education. Nell is no one, she is poor, crude, and is really going nowhere. However once her brother Harvey steals the Primer from Hackworth, he gives it to Nell and her journey begins. The book starts by teaching her the basics. She cannot read, so it reads to her. It teaches her defensive tactics so she can keep the book. It teaches her what exactly is sexual abuse, so that she stays healthy. This is only the beginning, though. As she gets older, the lessons become less about 'reading, writing, and arithmetic', and more philosophical, moral, and ethical. She learns about people and why they leave, and how that can be better in the end. She learns about trust, and how important it is to trust the right people. Two other little girls have their own copies of the Primer, and it gives them lessons that are tailored to them. To Fiona, Hackworth's daughter, it teaches her magical stories and new realms of thought. It develops her imagination, because that is what she is interested in developing. In the end, she becomes an actress. For Elizabeth, a granddaughter of a prominent man, the book creates a world where she is the ruler. She learns about the idea of loyalty and obedience. She later joins another group, an information cult called the CryptNet. There is another difference in their education. Elizabeth was taught by hundreds of different people. She became disillusioned by what she learned, and went off to find another group. Mainly her father, who is a strict Victorian in principle, but who has the soul of a dreamer, taught Fiona. In the Primer, he was only the dreamer so Fiona became a dreamer. And this translated to acting for her. One woman, an actor named Miranda, taught Nell. Early on, Miranda realized that she was raising someone's child, and she took it seriously. She gave up a lot of things to be there for Nell. Because of this, Nell grew up the most intelligent of the three. She grew up and took her place in history, which was to destroy existing society and change the world. I have really enjoyed this book. I read it the first time when I was in high school, and I loved it. I just reread it for this review, and I still love it for different reasons. I like the message that education, while incredibly valuable, will only take a person so far. After that, their cunning, morals, and ideas must take them the right way. Elizabeth reminded me of children who are raised by schools and universities. They are taught by lots of different people who don't really know them. Those types of students become disillusioned and rebel. Fiona shows what happens when there is no balance; she was taught only fantasy and so she immersed herself in it. Nell had balance; her individual story had an overall fairy-tale theme, but it was filled with martial arts, logic games, and moral/ethical lessons. She also had a mother figure, someone who cared for her, at least intellectually. I liked the idea of all the different societies trying to exist. I can see after all the moral corruption, a group of people going back to the Victorian ways. Overall, this book is believable as our future, and it is a future I would not mind having.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2011

    So good

    it makes you want your mommy.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2013

    It Gets No Better Than This

    Flawless, like the diamond for which it is named. This is the current selection for our book club, "Futures and Fantasies." A book for technophiles who like to laugh at themselves. Stephenson's Neo-Victorians are both believable and hilarious. He does not succumb to "oh wow, new technology," but rather immerses you in it as if it were your daily reality. His writing style borrows from the Victorian with lush use colorful, unexpected, delightful simile. Lit me up like a blowtorch in a blast furnace. I truly cared about the characters. The plot and its numerous subplots kept me glued to my Nook. Altogether a satisfying read. I look forward to reading more Neal Stephenson very soon.

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    This Book is Mind Blowing...

    I was recommended the book by a professor and therefore tried to put off reading it for as long as I could. Unable to procrastinate any longer, I began to read the book and could not put it down. I found it fascinating how technology was used in the book. Stephenson's modern world was very original. I particularly loved the way Stephenson used media in the book and how some of his ideas of technology can be seen as beginning to form in our times. I also found it very interesting the way the plots were intertwined. By the end of the book, I found myself wanting more, not because the ending disappointed me but because I couldn't get enough of it. The only problem I had with Stephenson's book was the way POV kept switching from one plotline to the other. I would have preferred that he chose to stick to one character to follow and or that he spent more time in a given POV before switching to the next. I've bought a few of Stephenson's other books and I look forward to reading them.

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  • Posted February 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Writer

    Neal Stephenson is one of the best writers out there today. Diamond Age is a wonderful book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2004

    Excellent Nanotech Fiction

    Fans of Stephenson's earlier novel SNOW CRASH will not be disappointed by this high-tech yet gritty read set in an oddly Victorian future. Readers of WILLIAM GIBSON, VERNOR VINGE, and newcomer JOHN ROBERT MARLOW will find much to like in this well-told tale by a modern master. (For a completely different take on nanotech set loose upon an unprepared world in our very near future, see Marlow's new novel NANO--another 5-star book with a great review from B&N.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2004

    Innovative ideas

    Stephenson is one of the two or three really creative fiction minds these days. The story is excellent.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2001

    AN INNOVATIVE SCI FI EPIC

    Jennifer Wiltsie gives indelible voice to this bizarre yet totally believable tale by ace science fiction writer Neal Stephenson. A versatile actress, her credits include the HBO favorite 'The Sopranos,' and the movies Wirey Spindell and Windigo. Considered by many to be the hottest scifi writer in our country today Neal Stpehenson grabbed attention and accolades with his debut sf epic Snow Crash (1992). Readers who were held sway by his rich imagination and innovation will find much to praise about The Diamond Age. John Hackworth is a genius, a nanotechnologist who designs and executes the Primer, a computer book capable of totally educating its reader. Wanting a copy for his one daughter, Hackworth steals one. But, leave it to this challenging author, the copy is lost and winds up with Nell, not a girl of privilege for whom the Primer was originally intended. The tale picks up steam as Nell begins her unique education and readers are taken on a captivating technological journey that only Stephenson's vision could have conceived.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2001

    Pretty damn good for neocyberpunk set in a revival of the Victorian age

    Any book titled The Diamond Age no doubt aspires to some kind of brilliance, and this book has it. Stephenson gives us a graceful but disturbing vision of what our society is becoming filtered through a near distant future where the Vickies, moralistic and repressive followers, of Queen Victoria II, have most of the political power. The impoverished meanwhile live through Star Trek like materializers that produce a little bit of everything, food, clothing, at extremely poor quality and durability. In this world, a semi-amnesiac and extremely repressed programmer designs 'a Primer' to educate upper-class girls, but it's more than that, and it falls into the hands of a resourceful but terrorized child. Meanwhile revolution is brewing. Fantastically absurd images and concepts. You'll be surprised at how hot nanotechnology can get.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2000

    This book was Awsome

    I loved this book! Stephenson builds a fantastic world of the not so distant future with wonderful carachters. This is my favorite book and I would recomend it to anyone.

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    Posted November 29, 2010

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