Neal Stephenson has become a hero in geek circles for his examinations of cryptography, philosophy, cyberpunk and science fiction in novels such as Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle. Today, Stephenson turns his pen to the world of MMOs with the release of Reamde.
Described by publisher Harper Collins as the tale of an “online war,” Reamde wades into such varied topics as “the global war on terror to social media, computer hackers to mobsters, entrepreneurs to religious fundamentalists.”
Harper Collins has more information at their official website, including a more in-depth look at the novel’s plot:
In 1972, Richard Forthrast, the black sheep of an Iowa farming clan, fled to the mountains of British Columbia to avoid the draft. A skilled hunting guide, he eventually amassed a fortune by smuggling marijuana across the border between Canada and Idaho. As the years passed, Richard went straight and returned to the States after the U.S. government granted amnesty to draft dodgers. He parlayed his wealth into an empire and developed a remote resort in which he lives. He also created T’Rain, a multibillion-dollar, massively multiplayer online role-playing game with millions of fans around the world.
But T’Rain’s success has also made it a target. Hackers have struck gold by unleashing REAMDE, a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom. They have also unwittingly triggered a deadly war beyond the boundaries of the game’s virtual universe—and Richard is at ground zero.