Quicksilver

Patrick and I are having a blast, as usual, meeting fans at the Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta. We stayed four hours signing autographs with Michaela Pereira. I'm told we met 273 people. We usually get to more but we took our time today. We'll have to work a little faster tomorrow; we both have planes to catch so we'll be leaving at 3p sharp. Come early - they'll probably cut off the line by 2pm. I needed a little escapism after watching the Giants season end so suddenly this afternoon. Fortunately, Patrick and I had picked up copies of Neal Stephenson's newest book, Quicksilver, at the airport bookstore. We were both big fans of Snow Crash and Stephenson's last, Cryptonomicon, and couldn't wait to get our hands on this one.

It's very good, but very different from Neal's previous works. It's definitely not sci-fi. So far it takes place in the time span between 1655 and 1713 and deals with the birth of modern science. We meet Ben Franklin and Isaac Newton as children and see the earliest days of the "Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technologickal Arts," already home to investigations of computing machinery and far in advance of its neighbor, Harvard College, whose dons are still stuck in the scholasticism of the Dark Ages. We also meet the author of the original Cryptonomicon. But that's only in the first hundred or so pages. I've still got 800 pages to go, and it's just the first book in the three-volume "Baroque Cycle," so who knows where we'll end up. So far it's a great read, though, and best of all... there wasn't any baseball in the 18th century.