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Ranking Author Neal Stephenson’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

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“What are Neal Stephenson Best Books?” We looked at all of Stephenson authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by Neal Stephenson and looked at their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page. We will update the article if/when a new book by Neal Stephenson is released. Although it probably won’t be immediate so the scores on each site have time to settle and aren’t overly influenced by the early, usually much more opinionated, users.

Happy Scrolling!



The Top Book’s Of Neal Stephenson



15 ) The Big U (1984)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 15
  • Amazon: 15
  • LibraryThing: 15

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.

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14 ) The Mongoliad (2010)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 14
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 14

“The first novel to be released in The Foreworld Saga, The Mongoliad: Book One, is an epic-within-an-epic, taking place in 13th century. In it, a small band of warriors and mystics raise their swords to save Europe from a bloodthirsty Mongol invasion. Inspired by their leader (an elder of an order of warrior monks), they embark on a perilous journey and uncover the history of hidden knowledge and conflict among powerful secret societies that had been shaping world events for millennia.

But the saga reaches the modern world via a circuitous route. In the late 19th century, Sir Richard F. Burton, an expert on exotic languages and historical swordsmanship, is approached by a mysterious group of English martial arts aficionados about translating a collection of long-lost manuscripts. Burton dies before his work is finished, and his efforts were thought lost until recently rediscovered by a team of amateur archaeologists in the ruins of a mansion in Trieste, Italy. From this collection of arcana, the incredible tale of The Mongoliad was recreated.”

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12 ) The Cobweb (1996)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 13
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 12

“When a foreign exchange student is found murdered at an Iowa University, Deputy Sheriff Clyde Banks finds that his investigation extends far beyond the small college town—all the way to the Middle East. Shady events at the school reveal that a powerful department is using federal grant money for highly dubious research. And what it’s producing is a very nasty bug.

Navigating a plot that leads from his own backyard to Washington, D.C., to the Gulf, where his Army Reservist wife has been called to duty, Banks realizes he may be the only person who can stop the wholesale slaughtering of thousands of Americans. It’s a lesson in foreign policy he’ll never forget.”

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12 ) Interface (1994)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 12
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 13

There’s no way William A. Cozzano can lose the upcoming presidential election. He’s a likable midwestern governor with one insidious advantage—an advantage provided by a shadowy group of backers. A biochip implanted in his head hardwires him to a computerized polling system. The mood of the electorate is channeled directly into his brain. Forget issues. Forget policy. Cozzano is more than the perfect candidate. He’s a special effect.

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11 ) The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (2017)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 10
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 10

“When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics and languages, accidently meets military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons in a hallway at Harvard University, it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter their lives and human history itself. The young man from a shadowy government entity approaches Mel, a low-level faculty member, with an incredible offer. The only condition: she must sign a nondisclosure agreement in return for the rather large sum of money.

Tristan needs Mel to translate some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering. They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries. But the arrival of the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment weakened its power and endangered its practitioners. Magic stopped working altogether in 1851, at the time of the Great Exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace—the world’s fair celebrating the rise of industrial technology and commerce. Something about the modern world “”jams”” the “”frequencies”” used by magic, and it’s up to Tristan to find out why.”

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10 ) Quicksilver (2003)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 9
  • Amazon: 14
  • LibraryThing: 8

“Quicksilver is the story of Daniel Waterhouse, fearless thinker and conflicted Puritan, pursuing knowledge in the company of the greatest minds of Baroque-era Europe, in a chaotic world where reason wars with the bloody ambitions of the mighty, and where catastrophe, natural or otherwise, can alter the political landscape overnight.

It is a chronicle of the breathtaking exploits of “”Half-Cocked Jack”” Shaftoe — London street urchin turned swashbuckling adventurer and legendary King of the Vagabonds — risking life and limb for fortune and love while slowly maddening from the pox.

And it is the tale of Eliza, rescued by Jack from a Turkish harem to become spy, confidante, and pawn of royals in order to reinvent Europe through the newborn power of finance.”

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9 ) Zodiac (1988)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 5
  • LibraryThing: 11

Sangamon Taylor’s a New Age Sam Spade who sports a wet suit instead of a trench coat and prefers Jolt from the can to Scotch on the rocks. He knows about chemical sludge the way he knows about evil — all too intimately. And the toxic trail he follows leads to some high and foul places. Before long Taylor’s house is bombed, his every move followed, he’s adopted by reservation Indians, moves onto the FBI’s most wanted list, makes up with his girlfriend, and plays a starring role in the near-assassination of a presidential candidate. Closing the case with the aid of his burnout roomate, his tofu-eating comrades, three major networks, and a range of unconventional weaponry, Sangamon Taylor pulls off the most startling caper in Boston Harbor since the Tea Party. As he navigates this ecological thriller with hardboiled wit and the biggest outboard motor he can get his hands on, Taylor reveals himself as one of the last of the white-hatted good guys in a very toxic world.

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8 ) Seveneves (2015)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 7
  • Amazon: 9
  • LibraryThing: 8

“What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .”

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7 ) Reamde (2011)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 8
  • LibraryThing: 7

With Reamde, this visionary author whose mind-stretching fiction has been enthusiastically compared to the work of Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Kurt Vonnegut, and David Foster Wallace—not to mention William Gibson and Michael Crichton—once again blazes new ground with a high-stakes thriller that will enthrall his loyal audience, science and science fiction, and espionage fiction fans equally. The breathtaking tale of a wealthy tech entrepreneur caught in the very real crossfire of his own online fantasy war game, Reamde is a new high—and a new world—for the remarkable Neal Stephenson.

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6 ) Snow Crash (1992)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 5
  • LibraryThing: 5

“Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison—a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age.

In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse.

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4 ) Anathem (2008)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 5
  • LibraryThing: 3

For ten years Fraa Erasmas, a young avout, has lived in a cloistered sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside world. But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the brink of cataclysmic change—and Erasmas will become a major player in a drama that will determine the future of his world, as he follows his destiny to the most inhospitable corners of the planet . . . and beyond.

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4 ) The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer (1995)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 6

In Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson took science fiction to dazzling new levels. Now, in The Diamond Age, he delivers another stunning tale. Set in twenty-first century Shanghai, it is the story of what happens when a state-of-the-art interactive device falls in the hands of a street urchin named Nell. Her life—and the entire future of humanity—is about to be decoded and reprogrammed…

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2 ) Cryptonomicon (1999)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 3
  • LibraryThing: 2

“In 1942, Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse—mathematical genius and young Captain in the U.S. Navy—is assigned to detachment 2702. It is an outfit so secret that only a handful of people know it exists, and some of those people have names like Churchill and Roosevelt. The mission of Waterhouse and Detachment 2702—commanded by Marine Raider Bobby Shaftoe-is to keep the Nazis ignorant of the fact that Allied Intelligence has cracked the enemy’s fabled Enigma code. It is a game, a cryptographic chess match between Waterhouse and his German counterpart, translated into action by the gung-ho Shaftoe and his forces.

Fast-forward to the present, where Waterhouse’s crypto-hacker grandson, Randy, is attempting to create a “”data haven”” in Southeast Asia—a place where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of repression and scrutiny. As governments and multinationals attack the endeavor, Randy joins forces with Shaftoe’s tough-as-nails granddaughter, Amy, to secretly salvage a sunken Nazi submarine that holds the key to keeping the dream of a data haven afloat. But soon their scheme brings to light a massive conspiracy with its roots in Detachment 2702 linked to an unbreakable Nazi code called Arethusa. And it will represent the path to unimaginable riches and a future of personal and digital liberty…or to universal totalitarianism reborn.”

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2 ) The Confusion (2004)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 3

“In the year 1689, a cabal of Barbary galley slaves — including one Jack Shaftoe, a.k.a. King of the Vagabonds, a.k.a. Half-Cocked Jack, lately and miraculously cured of the pox — devises a daring plan to win freedom and fortune. A great adventure ensues, rife with battles, chases, hairbreadth escapes, swashbuckling, bloodletting, and danger — a perilous race for an enormous prize of silver … nay, gold … nay, legendary gold that will place the intrepid band at odds with the mighty and the mad, with alchemists, Jesuits, great navies, pirate queens, and vengeful despots across vast oceans and around the globe.

Meanwhile, back in Europe …

The exquisite and resourceful Eliza, Countess de la Zeur, master of markets, pawn and confidante of enemy kings, onetime Turkish harem virgin, is stripped of her immense personal fortune by France’s most dashing privateer. Penniless and at risk from those who desire either her or her head (or both), she is caught up in a web of international intrigue, even as she desperately seeks the return of her most precious possession — her child.

While …

Newton and Leibniz continue to propound their grand theories as their infamous rivalry intensifies, stubborn alchemy does battle with the natural sciences, nobles are beheaded, dastardly plots are set in motion, coins are newly minted (or not) in enemy strongholds, father and sons reunite in faraway lands, priests rise from the dead … and Daniel Waterhouse seeks passage to the Massachusetts colony in hopes of escaping the madness into which his world has descended.”

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1 ) The System of the World (2004)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 2
  • LibraryThing: 1

Everything that was will be changed forever … The System of the World is the concluding volume in Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, begun with Quicksilver and continued in The Confusion.

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Neal Stephenson’s Best Books



Neal Stephenson Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOveral Rank
The System of the World 121 1
Cryptonomicon 232 2
The Confusion 313 2
Anathem 553 4
The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer 436 4
Snow Crash 655 6
Reamde 887 7
Seveneves 798 8
Zodiac 11511 9
Quicksilver 9148 10
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. 101210 11
The Cobweb 13912 12
Interface 12913 12
The Mongoliad 141214 14
The Big U 151515 15