Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Book Review: Cryptonomicon

Book Review: Cryptonomicon

This is definitely a good geeky book. No earth-shattering ideas, and a slightly curtailed ending, but a solid understanding of most technical tools and there proper placing into the environment. Frankly, this is a task so rare by an author that it deserves a mentioning of its own. The "Ordo" thing was reasonably amusing, although I am not sure what kind of legal implications there would have been in using PGP as the encryption name. What I found most impressive was the ability of the author to pretty clearly explain cryptogrtaphic and mathematical material. Thus, the three strongest points of the book would have to be good use of technology as part of the plot, good explanations of crypto and math for a lay person, and well-done time/space shifts between "present" and WWII.

I certainly liked the book better than Quicksilver. Cryptonomicon was better paced and had more natural time/space transitions. It merits an 8 (out of 10), because of a somewhat rushed ending and lack of particularly original ideas. The book does a good job of popularizing some Privacy/EFF-influenced ideas and integrating computer technology into the plot. I also give high marks for the book's description of WWII technology, both cryptographic and armaments.


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