The Mystery of Enoch Root

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Neal StephensonPeople who have waded through, or devoured, as the case may be, the ponderous Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson may, like yours truly, have noticed a number of loose ends and unanswered questions after finishing the final volume. Many of them have to do with the mysterious character Enoch Root, whose first appearance was in the novel Cryptonomicon.

Many of the questions revolve around the exact nature of the character. Is he human? Is he immortal? Is he some sort of angelic being? And why, why, why are we not given the answers to these questions after reading approximately 2500+ pages!!! After a spur-of-the-moment web search I discovered this page and this page and finally this page, all three of which provide some food for thought but no definitive answers, the revealing of which is left to the author—should he decide to write future novels involving this frustratingly intriquing character.

For those of you who don't know, The Baroque Cycle is an ingenius look at the birth of modern science, as well as modern monetary and political systems, and is set in the late 1600's and early 1700's. The three volumes are written as novels, but can be better classified as one stupendously huge, rambling novel involving many real historical characters, including Sir Isaac Newton and Wilhelm Leibniz. And yes, I AM re-reading the trilogy.


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