Stephenson is a geek. And he writes about geeks. His books often
take wild turns, and he sometimes loses control of his story. You
won't find a cardboard 19th century hero swashbuckling his way
across the galaxy to save the day and win the girl, but rather
smart, curious people fascinated by the world around them as the
universe throws them a curveball.
Snow Crash, probably his best known book, is a dystopian
satire of 1990's America that coined the term metaverse.
My personal favorites are Cryptonomicon, with it's parallel
World War II and present-day storylines, and the three volume /
eight book Baroque Cycle, an historical novel set in the
Enlightenment that's still somehow science fiction.
The Baroque Cycle
Originally published as three hardcover volumes each around 900
pages long and later as eight paperbacks, The Baroque Cycle
is one very long novel set in the late 1600s to early 1700s,
centered in Europe but spanning the world. It's an historical novel
about the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution, but,
somehow, it's also a science fiction novel about a society
in transition, economics and the nature of knowledge. I eagerly
dove into each volume as it was published. It's a very
long story, and after spending so many delightful hours in this
strange and wonderful world, I felt sad when I turned the last page
and there was no more. I don't often re-read novels, but this one I
will pick up again sometime.