Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson


Science FictionSuspense

Cryptonomicon CryptonomiconNeal Stephenson; Harper Perennial 2000WorldCat

During World War II, Lawrence Waterhouse became one of the Allies’ foremost cryptographers. He helped decode some very complicated German secret codes. He also helped establish some the Allies’ most complex codes. He knew his German counterpart was an old friend from prewar days.

Many years later, his grandson, Randy Waterhouse, is a high tech computer hacker. He has learned how to encode his electronic messages as he and his partner start an international high tech company in the Philippines. They are hoping to establish some electronic cabling highways for communication throughout the Pacific region.

During World War II, Bobby Shaftoe is the only Marine who survived a Guadocanal landing. He becomes involved in Department 2072, a military group that does some very strange things. Why would they purposefully build a new camp and spread junk around it? Within a week, it appeared the camp had been occupied over a year. His department received many other strange orders as well. Many years later, his son and granddaughter run the deep water boating service that helps lay the electronic cable and become involved with Randy Waterhouse.

This is an intriguing novel. It is slow reading. I could not put it down or jump ahead, though. I did start skipping the technical math description of different codes, algorithms, etc. It jumps between the past and the present; it jumps between characters in the time periods. The story moves from Southern California to England to Manila to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to Norway to Australia to Egypt to Japan, among other places. I was able to keep track of the characters without any problem. The hardest part was trying to figure out how the World War II story connected to the electronic commerce story of the 1990’s. There were the obvious family connections and that was all.

I recommend this novel. It is not a quick read; it is an involving read. I do not know why it was classified as science fiction rather than general fiction. In my mind, it is an intrigue novel. There is no fiction in the science used in this novel that I noticed. It is a suspense novel.

Notice: Non-graphic violence, Strong language, Suggestive dialogue or situations

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