This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

Close cookie details

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav

The Big U

Cover of The Big U

The Big U

Borrow Borrow Borrow
The New York Times Book Review called Neal Stephenson's most recent novel "electrifying" and "hilarious"...but if you want to know Stephenson was doing twenty years before he wrote the epic...
The New York Times Book Review called Neal Stephenson's most recent novel "electrifying" and "hilarious"...but if you want to know Stephenson was doing twenty years before he wrote the epic...
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read
  • Adobe EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Reading Level:

Recommended for you


 
Description-
  • The New York Times Book Review called Neal Stephenson's most recent novel "electrifying" and "hilarious"...but if you want to know Stephenson was doing twenty years before he wrote the epic Cryptonomicon, it's back-to-school time. Back to The Big U, that is, a hilarious send-up of American college life starring after years our of print, The Big U is required reading for anyone interested in the early work of this singular writer.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    The Go Big Red Fan was John Wesley Fenrick's, and when ventilating his System it throbbed and crept along the floor with a rhythmic chunka-chunka-chunk. Fenrick was a Business major and a senior. From the talk of my wingmates I gathered that he was smart, yet crazy, which helped. The description weird was also used, but admiringly. His roomie, Ephraim Klein of New Jersey, was in Philosophy. Worse, he was found to be smart and weird and crazy, intolerably so on all these counts and several others besides.

    As for the Fan, it was old and square, with a heavy rounded de-sign suitable for the Tulsa duplex window that had been its station before John Wesley Fenrick had brought it out to the Big U with him. Running up one sky-blue side was a Go Big Red bumper sticker. When Fenrick ran his System--that is, bludgeoned the rest of the wing with a record or tape--he used the Fan to blow air over the back of the component rack to prevent the electronics from melting down. Fenrick was tall and spindly, with a turkey-like head and neck, and all of us in the east corridor of the south wing of the seventh floor of E Tower knew him for three things: his seventies rock-'n'-roll souvenir collection, his trove of preposterous electrical appliances, and his laugh--a screaming hysterical cackle that would ricochet down the long shiny cinderblock corridor whenever some-thing grotesque flashed across the 45-inch screen of his Video System or he did something especially humiliating to Ephraim Klein.

    Klein was a subdued, intellectual type. He reacted to his victories with a contented smirk, and this quietness gave some residents of E07S East the impression that Fenrick, a roomie-buster with many a notch on his keychain, had already cornered the young sage.

    In fact, Klein beat Fenrick at a rate of perhaps sixty percent, or whenever he could reduce the conflict to a rational discussion. He felt that he should be capable of better against a power-punker Business major, but he was not taking into account the animal shrewdness that enabled Fenrick to land lucrative oil-company internships to pay for the modernization of his System.

    Inveterate and cynical audio nuts, common at the Big U, would walk into their room and freeze solid, such was Fenrick's System, its skyscraping rack of obscure black slabs with no lights, knobs or switches, the 600-watt Black Hole Hyperspace Energy Nexus Field Amp that sat alone like the Kaaba, the shielded coaxial cables thrown out across the room to the six speaker stacks that made it look like an enormous sonic slime mold in spawn. Klein himself knew a few things about stereos, having a system that could repro-duce Bach about as well as the American Megaversity Chamber Orchestra, and it galled him.

    To begin with there was the music. That was bad enough, but Klein had associated with musical Mau Maus since junior high, and could inure himself to it in the same way that he kept himself from jumping up and shouting back at television commercials. It was the Go Big Red Fan that really got to him. "Okay, okay, let's just accept as a given that your music is worth playing. Now, even assuming that, why spend six thousand dollars on a perfect system with no extraneous noises in it, and then, then, cool it with a noisy fan that couldn't fetch six bucks at a fire sale?" Still, Fenrick would ignore him. "I mean, you amaze me sometimes. You can't think at all, can you? I mean, you're not even a sentient being, if you look at it strictly."

    When Klein said something like this (I heard the above one night when going down to the bathroom), Fenrick would look up at him from his Business textbook, peering over the wall of bright, stolen record...

About the Author-
  • Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem; the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World); Cryptonomicon; The Diamond Age; Snow Crash, which was named one of Time magazine's top one hundred all-time best English-language novels; and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    HarperCollins
  • Kindle Book
    Release date:
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • Adobe EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Bookshelf to manage your titles.

×

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Bookshelf?

×

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You have reached the maximum number of titles you are permitted to recommend at this time.

×

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

×
×

×

To recommend The Big U, complete the following information:

*indicates required information

(comma separates multiple email addresses, i.e. bob@aol.com, bob@hotmail.com)

Subject: Check out this downloadable title at the Indiana Digital Media


We respect your privacy. Any and all information collected at this site will be kept strictly confidential and will not be sold, reused, rented, loaned, or otherwise disclosed.

×
Recommend this title to the library to be added to the Digital Collection
The Big U
The Big U
Neal Stephenson
×
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
The Big U
The Big U
Neal Stephenson
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title now.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Clicking on the 'Buy It Now' link will cause you to leave the library download platform website. The content of the retail website is not controlled by the library. Please be aware that the website does not have the same privacy policy as the library or its service providers.
×
×

To recommend '', complete the following information:

*indicates required information

(comma separates multiple email addresses, i.e. bob@aol.com, bob@hotmail.com)

Subject: Check out this downloadable title at the Indiana Digital Media

We respect your privacy. Any and all information collected at this site will be kept strictly confidential and will not be sold, reused, rented, loaned, or otherwise disclosed.

×