A while back I started reading Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson, the first in a long (I repeat, long) series of books known as the Baroque Cycle.
I couldn’t get past the first hundred pages.
At first I chalked it up to the tedium of my job, a general sense of ennui, low energy, and disinterest in reading anything “heavy.” But after giving it another chance, and suffering through the first book, I simply can’t stand it anymore. Quicksilver is, to be blunt, abusively dull. And despite what you might think, I’m not the kind of guy who demands ninjas, action heroes, and pulp adventure in a novel to fill the Awesome Quota. But I do demand that something fucking happen. This book should be right up my alley; I love speculative fiction. This alternate history shit is fascinating to me. But my god, it’s just unbearable. Nothing happens. I kept waiting for 500 pages for Stephenson to reach some kind of goddamn point, raise some kind of dramatic tension, or even set up the beginnings of some kind of conflict, and nothing of that sort happens.
I feel really guilty about it, too. I love this fucking guy. Snow Crash and Zodiac are works of sheer genius, and the Baroque Cycle was supposed to be his masterpiece. You can tell the guy spent years, if not decades researching this crap, and I’ll be damned if he didn’t use every fucking note he took in this endless, rambling pile of garbage.
Sorry Neal. I gave you about 400 more pages’ worth of my attention than I’d give anyone else to get me interested. I don’t know how anyone can write three books of over 3,000 pages and forget to tell a story, but you pulled it off. You shouldn’t have called if Quicksilver, you should have called it Filibuster.