Talk:The Baroque Cycle

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Redirected The Baroque Cycle (novel) to here under the assumption that there is no other Baroque Cycle other than the novel of that name. - Tim Shell

All the links in the "Main Characters" section are just circular redirects back to the article. If these characters have articles of their own, the links should be fixed; if not, they should not be links but just plain text. (talk) 04:23, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

Deviations from Real History[edit]

There is a pretty big mistake in this series. The IJsselmeer does not exist in 1600 something. It only was created in 1932. Also the capitalisation is incorrect, as that of IJ. Anyway thoughts on where and how to hack this in to one the entries regarding this bookseries. Spearhead 14:47, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Slavery did not exist in France (colonies excluded) during the 17th century — "nulle personne n'est esclave en ce royaume" — so Abigail cannot be kept there in slavery by Lord Upnor. Such was, presumably, the positive law, but that doesn't mean that Lord Upnor could not possibly have managed to do so in fact. Nit-pickingly, you could call it false imprisonment rather than slavery, but the effect for Abigail wouldn't have been much different. 18:05, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

"that fine golden beer from Pilsen," (I, p. 421). The beer we call Pilsener wasn't invented until the 19th century. So there was no beer in Pilsen before then? DaddyWarlock (talk) 12:09, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

"Daniel Waterhouse founds a fledging "Massachusetts Bay Colony Institute of Technologickal Arts" that is strongly implied to be the ancestor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, when in fact MIT was founded in 1861." This is incorrect. Waterhouse's Institute gets shut down near the end of System of the World. DaddyWarlock (talk) 12:09, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Solomon Kohan[edit]

"Solomon - Anachronistic, Travelling as Solomen Kohan" Is it implied in the books that Kohan is in fact King Solomon? I never noticed that or came across it in any analysis.

He refers to himself as "the wise," and he goes way back with Enoch. Also remember all the discussion of Solomon's gold in The Confusion. Mr. Kohan has enough gold on him to prove his merit when Peter the Great finds him, and when Waterhouse et al submit Solomon's gold in the form of punch cards, it's him that identifies it and develops a scheme to have all such gold locked away in St. Petersburg, rather than floating around the world being con-fused by coiners and eaten by upstart alchemists. It's also hinted at: the tomb of the Templars is modelled after Solomon's Temple, which prompts Waterhouse to say something like "If you're that Solomon...", a question which the character dismisses without answering. Unfortunately I returned the book to the library several months ago, otherwise I might have more support. At any rate, I came to that conclusion, but I'll admit that it was never explicitly stated, and that King Solomon's use of Kohan as a last name would probably be inappropriate since he was more involved with government than with priestly activities. By the way, you can sign your messages with four tildes, like this:Joel 02:02, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
It's never confirmed nor denied, but the way it is written it's clear that the reader is supposed to have suspicions in that direction. Kungtotte 14:04, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Two relevant passages
Wikipedia forbids speculation, but what to do when the author is engaging in speculation, not about his own work, but as part of the work itself? Bear in mind that NS stacked Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle with countless celebrity walk-ons, including "speaking roles" for four sitting or future British monarchs (James II, Wm III, Geo I and his daughter-in-law Queen Caroline) and Louis XIV of France, so one more head of state would hardly be a stretch, immortal or otherwise.

During lulls they engaged in Solomon Kohan’s idea of small talk:
“This is an interesting place.”
“I am pleased you find it interesting.”
“It puts me in mind of an operation I used to have in Jerusalem a long time ago.”
“Now that you mention it, the full name of the Templars was the Knights of the Temple of Solomon. So if you are that Solomon—”
“Do not play word games with me. I refer, not to this hole in the ground, which is but an indifferent crypt for long-forgotten knights, but to what lies over.”
“The Court of Technologickal Arts?”
“If that is what you call it.”
“What would you call it?”
“A temple.”

The System of the World, pp. 607-608 (hardback), italics are those of the author.

Daniel now gave a few moments’ thought to whether he should try to introduce Solomon, and how; but Isaac had got to his feet and stalked away. As Isaac went out the tavern-door he brushed past a chap who was coming in. Though this was not the most noble person who had ever set foot in the establishment (an honor that would have to go to Peter, or—who knows?—Solomon), he was unquestionably the best-dressed, and identifiable, from a thousand yards, as a courtier.

ibid, p. 614. Bridgman (talk) 17:32, 15 December 2009 (UTC)


Why does this entry tell us that witch-hangings were a "vestige of the Middle Ages", when in fact the Middle Ages were one of the few periods in history when supposed witches were *not* routinely executed? The major periods of witch executions were antiquity and early modern times, specifically the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries - in other words, shortly before the action of the novels. 15:53, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Renamed 'Errors' to 'Deviations from Real History'[edit]

Given that these novels are a work of fantasy-fiction, not history, I think it's a bit strong to call these discrepancies 'Errors'. We simply don't know which elements are 'wrong' because Stephenson deliberately manipulated history for the sake of the story, and which are due to his lack of knowledge. We might make a reasonable guess in some cases, but if we're to call them all errors, we might as well add to the list the facts that Newton didn't really bunk-up with Daniel Waterhouse, there is no known elixir that will revive someone from death, and people don't live as long as Enoch Root. --DudeGalea 14:40, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

I have removed this entire section. This kind of material is analagous to "differences between the book and the movie" sections in film/novel articles. We would not expect such trivia to appear in any article on a work of historical fiction. Indeed, that there are so many discrepancies reinforces the notion that these books are not intended to be held up against textbooks and scholarly work. And beyond all that, only a single one is cited to a third-party source. --EEMIV (talk) 23:03, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

On the Comstocks[edit]

I changed Comstock to Silver Comstock, and also Roger Comstock to John Comstock. I thought this befitted the background... Any suggestions? Thereforethelordgod 05:23, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Why the move away from Roger? It has been a while since I read the books, but I seem to remember him being the major Comstock in the story. He was to Daniel Waterhouse what Ari was to Randy Waterhouse. I remember Daniel even saying "I don't want to live in a world with Roger Comstock in it". Am I remembering it wrong? -Armaced (talk) 03:30, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Wasn't the line "I don't want to live in a world withOUT Roger Comstock in it."? DaddyWarlock (talk) 12:39, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
You are absolutely right - that was a typo on my part. Daniel liked Roger. -Armaced (talk) 19:17, 1 May 2008 (UTC)
As far as I can remember, Roger Comstock is far more important than John and any of the "Silver Comstocks", as a friend of Daniel and as the Whig leader in "The System of the World". But why not mention both the Silver and the Golden Comstocks? I see no problem doing that! --Meile (talk) 14:25, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
By the way, is there in "Cryptonomicon" a distinction between the two Comstock families? --Meile (talk) 14:33, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I just reread "Cryptonomicon" and I didn't see any reference of any kind to a difference in the Comstock families. DaddyWarlock (talk) 12:39, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I recommend removing the "Silver" from the Comstock row and adding Roger Comstock back in, sharing the cell with John Comstock. I don't want to live in a wiki without Roger Comstock in it.  :) -Armaced (talk) 19:21, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

On the Teufelsbaum[edit]

There seems to be some interest in this tree from "The System of the World". I had some free time in Hanover recently, and actually found it! It is the "bush form" of a genetic variant, or maybe a mutation, of the red beech tree. In German, it is called "Teufelsholz" or devilwood, because it could not be used for constructing anything. It's real name in German is Süntelbuche (Fagus sylvatica Suentelensis, or Tortuosa). This gives you the tags to search for. The tree I found in Hannover is in the "Berggarten", if you want to see pictures of the model for Stephenson's tree. It is about 120 years old. There is even a kind of cage "protecting" people from the tree. These trees do not come from the Hartz mountains but from old beech forests, of which the Suenter near Hannover is the one most famous for such trees. Very few remain there however, since many were burnt for firewood or to clear farmland. There is another lovely picture of one, just as I imagined it in the novel, on the German Wikipedia page for Süntelbuche (buschform).

Mynah (talk) 13:41, 19 April 2008 (UTC)


I'm not sure Crypto-Jew counts as a "family" within the series. It simply means hidden or secret Jew in the Baroque cycle and Avi, in Cryptonomicon, doesn't meet this description. The only relation between Moseh and Avi is that both are Jewish. (talk) 19:39, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Moseh runs off to live with the indians north of Mexico. Ari comes from a group of crypto-jews living among the indians in the southwest desert. Nitpyck (talk) 06:14, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Given the sentence copied below, I can't imagine another patriarch for Ari's maternal family other than Moseh de la Cruz. Bridgman (talk) 17:50, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

But his mother’s people were unbelievably peculiar New Mexican crypto-Jews who had been living on mesas, dodging Jesuits, shooting rattlesnakes and eating jimsonweed for three hundred years; they looked like Indians and talked like cowboys.

Cryptonomicon, chapter 2

(In some American vernaculars, the word "people" is employed to mean "family," as opposed to race, creed or tribe. e.g. Southern idiomatic question "Where are your people from?", which would be answered by indicating the town or region in which recent generations of one's extended family are/were concentrated.) Bridgman (talk) 17:50, 15 December 2009 (UTC)


Upon reading this page, someone had stated that a falcy {fallacy} in the book was that gold only has a single isotope. Although this is true, this has nothing to do with the book. The special gold that is stolen in Bonanza in the books is described as a solid state solution (a material disolved in solid gold). The more common word for solid state solution for metals is alloy. Solid solutions are extremely common for minerals in raw form but upon smelting, gold is one of the few metals that commonly found in alloy form. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Luckymikemadziar (talkcontribs) 16:34, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Your viewpoint is decidedly in the minority. Most of the discussions I found ( ) consider it an isotope, and I do not see an official explanation from Mr Stephenson. In any case, the story is science fiction and therefore is allowed to deviate from real nuclear physics. - Frankie (talk) 15:52, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau[edit]

Is this person a reference to Eliza's lover (Bon Bon) and her son? Obviously, they're not the same person because the discrepancy in the their birth dates but perhaps Stephenson was alluding to him. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Luckymikemadziar (talkcontribs) 04:36, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Raskolnik means heretic[edit]

The name applied by the Russian government to any subject of the Greek faith who dissents from the established church. The Raskolniki embrace many sects, whose common characteristic is a clinging to antique traditions, habits, and customs. The schism originated in 1667 in an ecclesiastical dispute as to the correctness of the translation of the religious books. The dissenters, who have been continually persecuted, are believed to number about 20,000,000, although the Holy Synod officially puts the number at about 2,000,000. They are officially divided into three groups according to the degree of their variance from orthodox beliefs and observances, as follows: I. "Most obnoxious." the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co. Nitpyck (talk) 06:24, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

What happened to the Enoch Root article?[edit]

In September, the Enoch Root article was redirected into this one, seemingly without discussion or explanation. This effectively deleted all information, as ER gets one line in the Baroque Cycle article. Bridgman (talk) 18:03, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

I went ahead and "undid" the redirect (of both the Enoch Root article and its Talk:Enoch_Root page). Please continue this thread on that discussion. Bridgman (talk) 18:32, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Ditto on the Societas Eruditorum article[edit]

That article was pretty weak and can be incorporated into the Enoch Root article, but it should have been "decommissioned" with more consideration. Bridgman (talk) 21:53, 15 December 2009 (UTC)

Reverted edits by User:Bridgman[edit]

I'll explain my revert point-by-point:

  • "(Crypto-Jews)" seems more appropriate to me than "de la Cruz" because it's Devorah who is descended from Moseh, not Avi. Probably not a big difference, but it seems more suitable. The section is labelled "Families", however, so I'm cool with it being changed back, but I'd like to see what others think.
  • Multiple linking of Enoch Root in the same section definitely violates WP:OVERLINK.
  • While I do think that Stephenson playfully hints at Solomon being Solomon Kohan, I'm not sure that's reliable enough for our purposes. However, we definitely shouldn't be linking to Talk pages from articles.

As far as the above discussions regarding the Enoch Root and Societas Eruditorum articles, I'm not sure if they meet WP:FICT. The novels are obviously notable, but I don't know if there are any reliable, third-party sources that discuss the individual characters or societies. Wyatt Riot (talk) 06:54, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Photo of author?[edit]

This article is about one of Stephenson's works, not about him, and a photo of him adds nothing to the reader's understanding of the work. The lead already links directly to the article on Stephenson, which has an image of him—to repeat the same image here is more appropriate, as I mentioned elsewhere, to a dust-jacket. I've substituted an image of Wilkins. Hooke and Pepys would be appropriate as well. EEng (talk) 04:04, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

The picture of Wilkins is perfectly fine, and not objectionable in any way; but Wilkins is merely an historical person who appears as a character in the books, which were written by Stephenson. Please show me anywhere on Wikipedia where a picture of an author is not allowed to be used on an article about one of his major works, and I will remove the image myself, but until you do, please do not continue to remove it without consensus to do so. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:09, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Its not that it is not allowed, its just, in this case it is not relevant not as relevant. Stephenson, as Stephenson, isn't very relevant to this article: the real world information related more to historical individuals and to literary critical examinations of themes, etc. If, say, Stephenson had some type of conspiracy or outrage related to these books then it would be more appropriate. The book would be related to readers by pictures of prominent historical characters. Sadads (talk) 11:16, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
The author of a book - a novel - is always relevant to a discussion of the novel. Beyond My Ken (talk) 17:09, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Relevant yes. But more or most relevant? Sadads (talk) 17:22, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
I would have preferred some other image to the author's, but a search of Commons brought up nothing. I think it's fine to add images of historical persons involved in the book as characters but I can't think of one who was significant across all three volumes to justify their being the main image of the article. Perhaps a montage? In any case, I landed on the image of Stephenson because that was the best option available to me, not out of some prejudice for having authors' photos in articles. If someone can come up with a legitimate replacement, fine, but removing a relevant image on the basis on WP:IDONTLIKEIT is not the best way to go. Beyond My Ken (talk) 18:07, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Agree, just thought EEng had a good position, hope I didn't fan any flames. Sadads (talk) 18:08, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

My argument against inclusion (and, if I may speak for him, Sadads' as well) wasn't "I don't like it." It was that good articles are not just accretions of arbotrary stuff that happens to be "allowed." Consider the images in Gettysburg Address: Lincoln at Gettysburg; the dead on the Gettysburg battlefield; Edward Everett, who later told Lincoln that Lincoln's short remarks captured the spirit of the occasion so much better than his own lengthy oration; and so on. These enhance the reader's understanding—feeling—of the significance of Lincoln's words.

The following photos might be appropriate for the present article, if available: Stephenson discussing literary treatments of the English Restoration with other authors; Stephenson guest-lecturing before a college audience (interesting stuff about Wilkins and Newton on the blackboard behind him); Stephenson in the Royal Society archives researching historical background—an image having anything to give it more affinity to this particular article than it has to any number of other articles (e.g. those on Stephenson's other works -- will we be adding his picture to all those too?).

Mr. Ken, so far you've only answered arguments no one's made, reminding us first that a photo of the author isn't forbidden (which isn't a reason for inclusion), then that it's "relevant" i.e. not utterly unconnected to the article's topic (probably the weakest conceivable inclusion argument). What you haven't done is indicate how this photo adds to the reader's idea of what he'll find if he opens the book. Not every article needs a "main image," and if there isn't a fitting one, better to have none.

This isn't a big deal—the article isn't ruined one way or the other. But including this photo makes the article more like dust-jacket fluff than an attempt at serious treatment of the books. EEng (talk) 05:46, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

You know what would be an even better image, Mr. Eng? A picture of Stephenson juggling small models of all the characters over his head!!! That would be great!!!!!

Don't talk about what would be good if they were available, go look for some images. If you find something better, that's available and usable per Wiki policy -- put it in, that's what I did. If it really is better, I won't beef. Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:46, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't have to find a better image in order to say that this one doesn't improve the article and in fact, as an an awkward repetition of the identical image found a click away in the article on Stephenson himself. detracts from it. You're still assuming that something is always better than nothing, but for the nth time, an image of Stephenson here should enhance the reader's appreciation of Baroque, not just satisfy some feeling that every article needs an image, so please explain how this photo does that. Otherwise it doesn't belong. EEng (talk) 11:56, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

No response being forthcoming, I am removing the author's photo for the reasons described. EEng (talk) 19:27, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

No response was necessary, your argument was unconvincing. Consensus doesn't go to the person who made the last post. Since thwere was no consesnsus to remove the image, and it is allowed under policy, and is pertinent and relevant, I have reverted your removal, which amount to WP:IDONTLIKEIT. Do not remove it again without consensus to do so. Beyond My Ken (talk) 19:53, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Two of us believe the photo is low-value clutter, and for contrast I (somewhat fancifully) exemplified photos which might improve the article. You responded with sarcasm and contiunued misrepresentation of what we've said as being simply IDONTLIKEIT (which, no matter what other editors say, seems to be the only thing you usually hear [1]).

Consensus is reached by good-faith discussion, including substantively addressing the points made by others -- only judges and similar authority figures have the luxury of dismissing others' arguments without saying why. Meanwhile you've dodged explaining what the photo adds to the article.

I have to thank you, though, for your "personal prescription for surviving Wikipedia" [2], wherein I found this gem: When challenged, give it one more try, then drop the effort and go away; it's not worth fighting them... [Wikipedia] has more than its share of rigid, dogmatic, inflexible, unimaginative people who are unwilling or unable to see value in anything except their own fixed ideas.

The scales have fallen from my eyes. Knock yourself out. EEng (talk) 04:27, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Why thanks, I will. Beyond My Ken (talk) 04:59, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I like the montage, gave me a good laugh - I do think it does a good job at illustrating who is important to the scholarship - Stephenson plus the whole cast. Sadads (talk) 10:47, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

I agree -- catches reader's interest. But why, if you were inclined to do something like this (I lack the technical skills), didn't you just skip the sarcasm and do it when we were first talking? EEng (talk) 16:28, 2 July 2010 (UTC) P.S. Too bad we don't have a photo of Stephenson in a wig too.

I wasn't particularly inclined to do it before, given your deletion of the image without discussion, the weakness of your eventual arguments, your reversion without consensus, and the time and effort it takes to do something like that. Beyond My Ken (talk) 16:32, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

(sigh) I'm glad that one way or another the exchange led to a value-adding image for the article. Beyond that, see the italicized quotation from my earlier post. Lieutenant Uhura, end subspace transmission! [bloop!] EEng (talk) 18:07, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Combining articles[edit]

A couple of reasons for this:

  • As mentioned in the Baroque Cycle article, Neal claims that there are eight novels, but his publisher condensed them into three. And the first three books were released separately in paperback form.
  • The individual articles are mostly redundant in information including characters and general Baroque Cycle information.
    Common stuff like this can be put into a separately constructed subpage and transcluded. --Matt Westwood 19:38, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Quicksilver is a decently composed article, but the next two books are not. The combined article could be made "Good", which would be deserving of such an important book. -- KelleyCook (talk) 13:33, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep the pages separate. These are colossal books and to do them all justice would require the pages likewise be larger than usual. Merging them would cause them to become just too unwieldy. And this page is an exceptionally good one. The others need to be brought up to the same standard (such work is beyond my abilities, though). --Matt Westwood 19:37, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I would keep them separate to keep them manageable. Perhaps concentrate common material (such as characters) into either a Baroque Cycle or Characters of the Baroque Cycle article. One article would be either too superficial or too unwieldy. Ferritecore (talk) 22:57, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
For future record, when writing the Quicksilver WP:Good article several years ago, I came across enough source materials to do justice to both of the other books, especially in the way of book reviews but also in the use of the books in a scholarly context (mostly outside of literary criticism). It doesn't really matter what Stephenson thinks, these books have been talked about sufficiently as individual works, thus have enough public conversation to be their own articles, Sadads (talk) 14:57, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Sorry forgot to leave a note here, but I removed the merge tags as there is strong consensus here to keep them separate. AIRcorn (talk) 20:54, 18 October 2012 (UTC)