Review: Neal Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age”

This is intriguing; the name (and subtitle) of Die Gallantly come from Heinlein (Time Enough for Love) and this recent post reviews The Diamond Age. Moreover, we end with a quote that led me to take up the “Neovictorian” moniker over 10 years ago. It’s worth restating:

But Mom broke up with Brad; she didn’t like craftsmen, she said, because they were too much like actual Victorians, always spouting all kinds of crap about how one thing was better than another thing, which eventually led, she explained, to the belief that some people were better than others.
– Neal Stephenson

Die Gallantly

Lacking any moral code, they confuse inevitability with Right.
– Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age

I don’t usually do novel reviews here, though I alternate between fiction and nonfiction in my reading. There are a couple of obvious reasons to change that: I write fiction, I hope to make money from it, and I have fiction-related goals on the blog.

The other reason might not be quite as obvious, and it ties so nicely with the particular book in question that I wish I could say I’d planned it.

In The Diamond Age (or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer), Stephenson tells the story of a very young girl named Nell – a ‘thete’ (read: welfare-class. ‘thete’ refers to landless freemen in ancient Greece. Appropriate, but I digress). Nell is living a typical poor child’s life – an unreliable mother and her carousel of abusive boyfriends leave her to be…

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