Reader, friend, and WWF (now, technically, WWE) aficianado Michael Thomas brought this article in TIME to my attention. It brings news of Stephenson’s Quicksilver and what’s to follow:
The Baroque Cycle is so huge that it’s being released in six-month intervals, Matrix-style: Quicksilver drops in September, The Confusion in April 2004 and The System of the World in October 2004. But you’ll wish it were longer. Its scope is galactically vast and encompasses the lives of noblemen, vagabonds and, above all, thinkers. Amid the still smoking aftermath of the Fire of London, the likes of Isaac Newton and Gottfried Liebniz (both major characters) are laying the foundations of modern science by hand, equation by equation. Stephenson has a once-in-a-generation gift: he makes complex ideas clear, and he makes them funny, heartbreaking and thrilling. In The Baroque Cycle, he proves on an epic scale that the key to knowing what’s next is understanding what has come before.
To quote Mike: “Booyah, baby. Boo-frickin-ya.”
The natural thing to fear here would be that The Baroque Cycle represents a hideous case of overwriting. Given Stephenson’s track record, though, we’re probably safe. Cryptonomicon has so much freaking stuff happening in it that, if anything, it’s underwritten.
Now, the possibility that he wrote a 500 page novel and then spent 2500 pages trying to end it is much more realistic. But I’d still be happy to read it.