This book was a great pleasure, especially for a beach vacation, when I could read 6 hours a day and not feel guilty or sleep deprived. It was often very hard to put down. I found myself admiring the characters of the WWII era more than their modern counterparts for some reason. They were more ernest and less cynical, what they were doing REALLY counted for them. The Marine Bobby Shaftoe was most memorable. The humor, very similar to Thomas Pynchon's, was outrageous, and left me laughing out loud in two or three dozen different places. Stylistically, the book owes a genuine debt to Gravity's Rainbow. There was nothing fictive about the abundant science, philosophy, or the mathematics. Clearly Stephenson did a great deal of in-depth research on the historicity and the Asian locals, both of which I appreciated. It will not win a Nobel prize; but This is a fine piece of excellent writing and wit that offers a certain reader many hours of leisure time enjoyment and contemplation.