It’s not quite accurate to describe Neal Stephenson as a hermit—he quietly shops for books and attends readings all around Seattle—but he sure doesn’t make many public appearances. Maybe that’s because he’s too busy writing long, intelligent novels that examine artificial intelligence, religion, scientific thought, and language. So this reading—the debut of Reamde, an espionage thriller that Stephenson’s publisher is calling his “most accessible novel to date”—is a big goddamned deal. It’s a rare opportunity to celebrate one of Seattle’s smartest, most prolific, and most popular authors. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 634-3400, 7:30 pm, $5)

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