Book Club Questions: The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

The future is small. The future is nano…

And who could be smaller or more insignificant than poor Little Nell? An orphan girl alone and adrift in a world of Confucian Law, Neo-Victorian values and warring nano-technology?

Well, not quite alone. Because Nell has a friend, of sorts. A guide, a teacher, an armed and unarmed combat instructor, a book and a computer: the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer is all these and much much more. It is illicit, magical, dangerous.

And it isn’t Nell’s. It was stolen. And now some very powerful people want to get their hands on this highly desirable object. Nell is about to discover that the world can feel very small indeed…

My friend and I had a bit of difficulty with this novel, to be honest. We both found it quite interesting and engaging for the first two-thirds, with plenty of neat concepts and strong characters. After that point, however, the book went a bit off the rails, and we were each left with a good deal of confusion by the time the novel ended. I might still recommend it if you are big into hard sci-fi and also have a soft spot for Victoriana and/or steampunk, since the first part of the book really was an interesting read that I just wish had continued in that same vein.

Discussion questions below the cut!

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