The Diamond Age

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The Diamond Age

Diamond Age, The - Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer - USA.jpg

Hardcover - USA - 1st edition.

Author Neal Stephenson
Published 1995-02-??
Type Fiction
Genre Adventure
Themes Adventure, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Techno-Thriller
Age Group Adult

The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer is a techno-thriller novel by Neal Stephenson, published in February 1995.

The story is set 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 no longer 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 troublemakers. Rich people still spend all their time and money on entertainment and self-preservation 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. As the creator tries to get it back, Nell slowly becomes a very intelligent and powerful young woman.


Read?Audiobook read by Jennifer Wiltse.

I read this because I loved every other Stephenson book prior, and I ended up loving this one too.




— 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. Perhaps this is formatted differently in the printed book, I don't know.
  • 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.


Strong female character?Pass
Bechdel test?Pass
Strong person of color character?Unknown
Queer character?Unknown


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