The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

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The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer is a techno-thriller science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson, published in 1995. The story takes place in a not-too-distant future where nanotechnology has bloomed and caused severe changes in the sociopolitical landscape. Matter replicators can cheaply produce food, water, and medicine, so people don't die from a lack of resources, but nations have now become conglomerates of tribes that often fight which each other or have problems policing their own trouble makers. Rich people still spend all their time and money on entertainment leaving the poor to fend for themselves. The story primarily revolves around a young girl named Nell who finds herself in the possession of an electronic book created by a genius engineer who made it to educate his own daughter on everything from logic to self-defense.


I do not own this book, but have listened to an audio book recording.


— This section contains spoilers! —


  • The Primer is just incredibly awesome. I so wish I had one when I was a kid. I doubt I'd be able to put it down.
  • I found Nell to be a very enjoyable character.
  • The title, "The Diamond Age," or crystallized carbon, is cleverly the next level from the progression of Stone, Bronze, Iron, etc.


  • The author jumps around a lot between multiple plots, which is rather confusing, but it's especially confusing when Nell is reading her primer which keeps her name as a character from a book within a book.
  • Over all, I found several sections and characters to be superfluous. The story could have been a couple hundred pages fewer, and I would enjoy it more.


  • Nothing.


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