Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Neal Stephenson's "The Great Simoleon Caper" (short story, anarchy, free): Anticipating BitCoin in mid 1990s!

This is my first story of Stephenson, though I have Diamond Age lying around somewhere (unread). And if this is typical Stephenson, he just won a new fan.

Its appeal to me might have been both because I'm a programmer, & because I'm fed up with my fiscally irresponsible government. Your leverage will likely vary depending on how excited you get about these things. As a narrative, I'll say it's just about ok; it's the content that I found interesting.

Story summary.

An internet company has invented a new online currency called "Simoleons". With the promise that it will be better managed than the official government issue currency. And, of course, government wants to nip it in the bud.

This is the story of anarchist hackers rescuing the baby currency from government villains.

Fact sheet.

First published: "TIME Domestic SPECIAL ISSUE, Spring 1995 Volume 145, No. 12 (March 1, 1995)".
Download full text from Mark Damon Hughes or Internet Archive. [via Best Science Fiction Stories]
Caution: Later is the badly formatted original from Time magazine; you'll have to endlessly click "next page" that once would have generated more clicks for Time. Former link is much easier to read.
Rating: A.


Rusty said...

Hey Tinkoo,

Yep - this was a great story! If you liked it and want to try one of his novels I'd suggest Snow Crash. Even though it's not about currency, it did have very much the same feel as this story, and a lot of it takes place in the Metaverse too. A very cool book!

Tinkoo said...

Thanks, Rusty. But I noticed some more shorts where you linked this one - I'll probably begin there.

I vaguely recollect reading somewhere that Snow Crash is a door stopper. Is it in 1000-page range?