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Neal Stephenson’s first commercially successful book about life in the world and the metaverse. A good effort at a fairly realistic virtual universe, despite some major flaws in the interface design (like how does Hiro Protagonist find himself in the parking lot after his virtual sword fight, frankly ?..). This is an unfortunate flaw for an S.F. writer, and one which Stephenson is excessively prone to as a general rule, it would seem. Apart from that, the book is often funny, with some interesting insights into some future possible social and economic relationships. Stephenson should drop the moral stance and the pseudo-intellectual historical reference and concentrate on thinking about the real world of today and what it harbours in embryonic form for the future, rather than try and draw some superficial meaning out of old myths, far too obviously digested. Writers who think they are professors get very rapidly boring. Or they should stick to private school religious manuals.