Browsing through my website logs and stats, as I am wont to do when there is nothing else going on, I’ve just discovered that the most searched-for term for my website is “Neal Stephenson”; other such irrelevent terms as “Adrian Hon” come in a distant fifth. Of course, this is because Neal Stephenson is a much more well known person than I am and given that I wrote an article about a lecture given by him a while back (he never gives lectures), it’s downright predictable.
Anyway, in this Stephensonesque mood, I found a website that has links to all of his short stories, some of which are online, and some of those I hadn’t read. I have to admit that none of the ones I hadn’t read were particularly good compared to his later work, but it’s fun to see how far back his ideas for distributed republics, encrypted private electronic cash and the metaverse go. It’s also enjoyable reading them from the omniscient perspective of almost ten years after they were written; In The Kingdom of Mao Bell is particularly good, although the accuracy of many of his predictions still remains to be seen.