If you haven't read Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, or In the Beginning ...was a Command Line, then we could be better friends if you'd just get off your ass and get to the library.
If you haven't read The Baroque Cycle, well, don't worry, I haven't finished it either.
That's about to change, though, because this article at Wired about author Neal Stephenson is one of those peeks into a celebrity's life and persona that force you to stop and say, "Ah, dammit, that guy really is as cool as he seems." His new book takes place in a brand new world, with its own history, its own language, its on socio-political turmoil into which its characters are thrust (and thus, vicariously, are we). I don't know about you, but this sounds to me like it could possibly maybe be perhaps ohgodi'mafraidtotypethis...
... you know, Neal Stephenson's Dune.
And if that's true, my inner geek has died and gone to heaven. Like the theatre nerd inside me did when he heard that Burton and Depp had teamed up to do Sweeney Todd. Like the comic book loser inside me did when Mike Mignola took on the steam-punk Batman story "Gotham by Gaslight".
The skinny is that yes, Stephenson is a sci-fi writer. He gets long-winded and his action is laced with subtle but ever-present philosophical suggestions. But he is amazing at what he does, and this is one of those rare times in popular culture where a talented person has worked their way into enough real-time success that they can do exactly what it is that they're so good at - and in its fullest form.
Catch up on the Neal if you don't know him already. I'll meet you at the library over lunch.