Some of you will have heard of Neal Stephenson
and read his books.
He's an author whose books are often found in the scifi section. His
stories often incorporate cool technological ideas which get described
in great detail in the books, sometimes detracting from the story
itself. The stories seem to be a second priority, with endings left
By the way, I am a slow reader... I like to absorb the words, imagine
the scene and take in the detail. I often read a paragraph several
Anyway, back to the point. Neal Stephenson has an enormous, big
dictionary. I've never seen it, but I know it's there! He uses
unusual words in his books. At least, words that are unusual to me.
Maybe, as a slow reader, I just haven't seen as many words. Maybe, where
he comes from (is it Seattle?), these words are in everyday usage.
As he goes out of his way to use these words, I go out of my way to look
them up in my dictionary. When I find the word, I understand its meaning
and how to pronounce it. Then, I can reread the paragraph and gain the
full sense of what he has written. A minor inconvenience, the story can continue...
BUT, sometimes there is a word that I can't find in my
dictionary. Or in my other dictionary. Now I get annoyed. What does
this word mean? Is it made up? What does the sentence mean? Can I carry
on? A fast reader would take a guess, use the context, and speed on to
finish the book. But not me... stupid perfectionism.
I offer you one example.
Any ideas? Someone who knows, write a node.
A Plea to Neal
Your stories have technological ideas, but they
are not technical papers, you do not need to use jargon
. The words you
use are interfering with the story. It should flow from chapter to
chapter and take the reader on a wonderful journey. Instead, it is a
literary obstacle course where only those with the largest vocabulary
and the biggest dictionaries can gain the full appreciation of your
Waaah! I have a small dictionary. I don't feel worthy enough to read
your books :(