November Books 8) Reamde, by Neal Stevenson

Another of Stephenson’s contemporary blockbuster technothrillers, over a thousand pages, which returns to his familiar themes of peculiar families, virtual reality games and the economics of moving large amounts of cash around the world. There are scenes set in great detail of the westernmost sector of the US-Canada border, and a vividly realised chunk of the book set in Xiamen, which I must admit was a city I had given no thought to whatsoever before picking up this book, though it sounds well worth a visit provided one can avoid a visit coinciding with Mafia and/or terrorists. There is one whacking huge unbelievable coincidence fairly early on when gur Znsvn naq gur greebevfgf ghea bhg gb or ubyrq hc va nqwnprag ncnegzragf, haxabja gb rvgure, but apart from that it is pacy and enjoyable, with even the extensive detail final shoot-out crafted entertainingly.

On reflection I have reclassified Reamde as non-sf rather than sf. There is nothing in it that requires counterfactual technology – possibly some aspects of the MMORPG are more advanced than anything in reality, but I found it all believable enough.