> It's a frustratingly familiar structure for Stephenson.
It's a frustratingly familiar reality (CDC report, WHO report) that we are also working slowly but steadily in our own small ways to fix.
Since I started the dig, I'll clarify- I have no problem with fictionalized rape, for these reasons, playing a large role in a lot of novels. But having it done to the _main protagonistsa_ in a bildungsroman/child-to-adult-growth-epic, without blatant foreshadowing, i.e. as a shocking ending, is what I object to in a catcher-in-the-rye critique sort of way. I'm deluded enough to have written my own scifi novel where the protagonist gets skullf'd by Dick Cheney, but I mention it in chapter 1, so that readers can just toss the book asside if thats not their thing. Having Stephenson, such an A+++ author throw that in, only at the end, after a truly amazing and prophetic, and intelligent novel about nanotechnology, written in 1993-ish just ticked me off a bit. Of course there is the chinese judge torturing a character named phyrefox to get his information about the elusive CryptNet in the beginning, but still- raping your protagonista shockingly at the end of a long, great tech-fiction book... eh.... Seemed like something I'd only do after being tortured by the Chinese government into writing a totalitarian-apologist novel with the theme that protecting your daughter from the oncoming uneducated horde is a good reason to discard democratic free-speech in favor of a social contract heavy on a foundation of state sponsored torture.