Should I read Cryptonomicon before Quicksilver?
September 29, 2004 1:40 PM   Subscribe

NealStephensonFilter: I just bought Quicksilver in the airport, am enjoying it, but curious if I should be reading Cryptonomicon first. Any opinions?
posted by elsar to Writing & Language (10 answers total)
No. The Baroque Cycle, though containing distant relatives of the characters in Cryptonomicon, is a standalone series. Actually, I think you will enjoy Cryptonomicon more if you read it after the three books starting with Quicksilver.... only 3600 pages in all.
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 1:59 PM on September 29, 2004

You don't need to have read Cryptonomicon first.

But I'd recommend it, weakly. If you've read Cryptonomicon first, you'll recognize that So-and-so is Blah-de-blah from C's ancestor. Sometimes this won't be completely obvious at first meeting, either. And you'll get a better introduction to Qwlghm, and some other details.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:44 PM on September 29, 2004

No, you needn't read it first. In fact, I think I might have liked the Baroque Cycle even better (if possible) if I hadn't read it until afterward. Or maybe, I would have liked Cryptonomicon more after. Either way, the series works on its own.

If you like Quicksilver, just wait. The 2nd and 3rd books are so. much. better.
posted by maniactown at 3:39 PM on September 29, 2004

Plus, even if you don't wind up liking Quicksilver, there is still a good chance you might like Cryptonomicon. Of the people I've spoken to, people that only like one tend to like that one more.
posted by jessamyn at 4:19 PM on September 29, 2004

No, you should be reading Cryptonomicon instead.
posted by jjg at 4:23 PM on September 29, 2004

Response by poster: why should i?
posted by elsar at 4:33 PM on September 29, 2004

(Crypto Related Spoliers Within!)

Can someone answer me something about Cryptonomicon? So Enoch Root dies, right? But then he's alive again in the present? Was my copy missing a chapter?

(End Spoilers!)
posted by hughbot at 4:59 PM on September 29, 2004

You should read Cryptonomicon, not because it's required background, but because it's the best of his books.

Incidentally, just started The System of the World today!
posted by vito90 at 5:18 PM on September 29, 2004

hughbot: IIRC, a little bit of time elapses between when we see him "die" (or are we only assuming he dies?) and when he's carried out. Who knows what Interesting Things might have taken place in that time? Maybe the same sorts of things that Enoch did for Bobby Shaftoe on the island with giant lizards and Nipponese officers who ARE CARRYING FUCKING SWORDS!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:48 PM on September 29, 2004

why should i?

I have to admit, I'm struggling to get involved in Quicksilver, but I really enjoyed Cryptonomicon (well, about 90% of it, until it turned into Tom Clancy-territory).
posted by John Shaft at 12:16 AM on September 30, 2004

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