I have been meaning to note the Quicksilver status so here it is: Page 300
I have to admit I don't quite see where he is 'going with it' but it is sufficiently diverting for my not to have abandoned it for some other books that have arrived from Amazon or 2nd hand (including 'It's like this, cat' which I haven't read for decades and felt the urge to reread).
I rarely read books written or set before, say, the 2nd world war - I guess I am quite 'ahistorical' but obviously one has to make an exception for Stephenson. Ironically, I read Zodiac before any of the SF books came out, and strangely I came across it because it was wrongly put in the S.F. section of the bookshop I bought it in. I would like to think it was because someone had read it and thought that he had an S.F. sensibility - certainly I was not surprised when his next book was S.F. - but I guess it was probably because of its title.
An interesting footnote is that the Museum Of The History Of Science in Oxford is in the Old Ashmolean building which was the location of the School of Natural Philosophy (i.e. science) with the museum on the top floor, a lecture theatre on the ground floor and with a laboratory in the basement - and the museum contains a Curta calculator in its collection of calculation devices. Curtas figure in Pattern Recognition so there is a link, in a sense, between Gibson and Stephenson.