Neal Stephenson is a fascinating cat and can spin a killer yarn. He's written numerous speculative novels, exploring topics of mathematics, cryptography, linguistics, philosophy, currency, and the history of science. His novels have been categorized as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, postcyberpunk, and even baroque. If you haven't read Cryptonomicon yet, run to your nearest bookshop and pick up a copy. I promise you won't be disappointed.
The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer is Stephenson's fifth novel, published in 1995. It's a coming-of-age story focusing on a girl named Nell in a world where all aspects of life are affected by nanotechnology. As usual, the novel touches on a whole array of themes including education, social class, ethnicity, and the nature of artificial intelligence. It won both the Hugo and Locus Awards, and was shortlisted for the Nebula. This is the first printing: