Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

May 31, 2006

The Big U

Neal Stephenson's first novel has returned to print, and unsurprisingly, it is crazy. While not as skillful as his later novels (possessing a somewhat peculiar first-person narrator) it is nonetheless a blistering expose on modern educational "factories".

Containing its full share of brainless females, frat boys, live-action role players, computer geeks, lesbians, and physicists that launch weights at high rates of speed, the book goes yet further, introducing college legends that turn out to be true: nuclear waste in the basement, rats the size of dobermans, and a previous administrator turned raving lunatic.

From there, it gets really weird. In fact, it reminds me of something Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) once said: no matter how surreal his comic strip becomes, with cats in the HR department and trolls in accounting, he STILL gets letters from people saying: "this is exactly like my office!"

Well, I went to college in an education factory (washed out), and I have to say that The Big U is exactly like it. If you've gone to college, don't miss this fabulous mixture of laughter, horror, and twisted nostalgia.

Rating: 3.5

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