Neal Stephenson: “Superficially, this site looks like a set of FAQs about a novel that I wrote entitled Quicksilver. As time goes on, we hope that it will develop into something a little more than that. We don’t know how it will come out. It’s an experiment.
Why put the information on such a complicated system, when a simple FAQ is easier? Because we are hoping that the annotations of the book on this site will seed a body of knowledge called the Metaweb, which will eventually be something more generally useful than a list of FAQs about one and only one novel. The idea of the Metaweb was originated by Danny Hillis.”
Having just finished reading Quicksilver (FmH readers will have noted my references to it during the past few months), I found myself reluctant to return* from an immersion in late 17th century European politics, science and philosophy. Because of Stephenson’s erudition (about nearly everything), the length of the book did not make it at all ponderous, despite the fact that much of the plotting is less than compelling and things are left unsatisfyingly unresolved for the main characters (of course, as it is the first volume of a projected ‘Baroque trilogy’). From a review:
The weight of Quicksilver, just less than four pounds, is a jail. Deep inside the 900 pages of Neal Stephenson’s vast new novel can be discerned, pacing the prison yard, a small slim underlit curtain-raiser of a tale whose task it is to warm us up for the real performance to come, the massive drama Stephenson is presumably planning to unfold in stages two and three of what he is calling The Baroque Cycle.
*Does anyone have any recommendations of good historical fiction set in 17th century Europe? Has anyone read Dark Matter, by the (underrated? under-performing?) novelist Philip Kerr?