I just started the latest from Neal Stephenson, which I notice has already hit the remainder tables after coming out in late 2008. It’s a little slow going, in large part because Stephenson really wants you to understand what he’s making up. Opening at a random page, here’s a random paragraph:
The praxis had done it with water power. Far outside of our walls, upstream of the cataract — therefore, at an altitude well above our heads — they had carved a pool, like an open cistern, out of the river’s stony course, and made it feed an aqueduct that cut due south towards the Mynster, bypassing the cataract , the bridge and the bend. After rushing through a short tunnel and loping on stone stilts across half a mile of broken terrain, this dove into the ground and became a buried pipe that passed beneath what was now a settled neighborhood of burgers. The water in the pipe, pressurized by gravity, erupted in a pair of fountains from a pond that lay just outside of the Day Gate. A causeway ran across the middle of that pond, connecting the central square of the burgers’ town, at its northern end, to our Day Gate at its southern, passing between those two fountains.
Geez, I would have just been happy to know there were two fountains in front of the gate that flanked the town’s central square!