>Fiction: “REAMDE”

“REAMDE” is the newest book by Neal Stephenson. It’s not quite science fiction. It is a techno-thriller with Russian mafia, terrorist and massively parallel online game called T’Rain (seems to be loosely modeled on Warcraft).   The two main characters of the story are middle age man, named Richard, who is the founder of the company that created the game T’Rain and his younger niece, Zula.

Unlike “Anathem” this book is full of nearly constant action, as the narrative jumps between the “adventures” of various characters, leading to the final battle between the good guys and the bad.

Although the book is pretty long (about 1000 pages) I enjoyed reading it, as the story kept moving forward. At times it the story got little over the top (like a James Bond movie). Still Stephenson managed to squeeze in some interesting ideas about how massive, multi-player games can be used for things other than just gaming.

For a more thorough review check out New York Times.

>Fiction: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

I wasn’t planning to read this book – but then I was tired one evening and I watched the movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – the Swedish version and I liked it. So I decided to read the book to see how it differed from the movie. The stories were quite close – although the book could have ended bit sooner.

The plot of the book is centered around an investigation of a 40 year old disappearance of a 16 year old girl. The two investigators are a journalist, Mikeal Blomkvist, and  a anti-social hacker, Lisbeth Salander. Lisbeth is the girl with the dragon tattoo.

In the course of their investigation the two discover a serial killer who still appears to be operating 40 years later. The novel’s climax occurs when the killer is found. However, the book does not end there. Instead it goes on for a while closing off some other sub-plots.

I enjoyed reading the book, even though I knew what the solution to the mystery was. Perhaps I will read the second book in this series before watching the movie.