i'm torn between the three and the four here. on the one hand, it's pretty difficult to write a 1100-page book. Snow Crash and Diamond Age both clearly deserve the four, perhaps even a high four. but I find with Stephenson, what if he had kept it to 700 pages, but there was absolutely no padding whatsoever?
wouldn't it be amazing to read a 700 page tightly-written, plotted draft of either Snow Crash or Diamond Age?
GR stats say Snow Crash has 92,000 reads, Crypt has 36k, Diamond 29k, and Anathem 20k even, at 3.89, 4.22, 4.16, 4.16 respectively.
pretty remarkable, Stephenson.
at this level of production, impact, and assessment, I think the terms "guru" or "visionary" start to apply.
however, this work was a little weaker of the 3 I have.
now I currently have Anathem sitting next to my foot... so, licking my chops here.
arguments why Crypt is weak:
straightforward military hero rather than complex figure
lots and lots and lots on the Ultra, which we already know from history books
modern day "remember your war crimes" angle a little cloying