Neal Stephenson is one of my favorite authors. My favorites are Crypotnomicon and Snow Crash, but Diamond Age and Anathem were also great. REAMDE was fun and very much Stephenson’s style. One of my favorite passages is when Richard takes his brother and the MI6 spy Olivia to a local biker bar in Seattle.
“Is this a real blue-collar bar or a simulacrum thereof?” Olivia asked.
“Both,” Richard said. “It started out as a pure simulacrum, a few years ago, before the economy crashed, when it was hip for twentysomethings to move down here and dress in Carhartts and utili-kilts. But they did such a good job of it that actual blue-collar people began to show up. And then the economy did crash, and the hip people discovered that they were, in actual point of fact, blue collar, and probably always would be. So you’ve got guys here who run lathes. But they have colored Mohawks and college degrees, and they program the lathes in computer languages. I was trying to come up with a name for them. Cerulean-collar workers, maybe.”