Urbin Report

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday's Book Pick.

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.

Wow! Don't try this one in one sitting. Neal Stephenson skips from the math describing WWII cryptography to action, and then to late 20th Century cutthroat business dealings. Cryptonomicon is great reading, but at just short of a thousand pages, a lot of reading.

This is a typical bit of prose from the book, It takes place right after the author spends several pages describing the basic math behind the Enigma code machine.

The only other thing he notices about them,before he gives up and slinks back into the cargo hold, is that they are fucking armed to the teeth. Like they were expecting to have to kill twenty or thirty people on their way from the airplane to the latrine and back. Bobby Shaftoe has met a few of these paranoid types during his tour, and he doesn't like them very much. That whole mindset reminds him too much of Guadalcanal.

He finds a place on the floor next to the body of PFC Gerald Hottand stretches out. The teeny revolver in his waistband makes it impossible for him to lie on his back, so he takes it out and pockets it. This only transfers the center of discomfort to the Marine Raider stiletto holstered invisibly between his shoulder blades. He realizes that he is going to have to curl up on his side,which doesn't work because on one side he has a standard-issue Colt semiautomatic,which he doesn't trust, and on the other, his own six-shooter from home,which he does. So he has to find places to stash those, along with the various ammo clips, speedloaders, and maintenance supplies that go with them. The V-44 "Gung Ho" jungle-clearing, coconut-splitting, and Nip-decapitating knife,strapped to the outside of his lower leg,also has to be removed, as does the derringer that he keeps on the other leg for balance. The only thing that stays with him are the grenades in his front pockets, since he doesn't plan to lie down on his stomach.


If you like this book, here are some more to take a look at.

The Monday Book Pick List.