The first line in any story about Neal Stephenson will reference his massive, massively complicated, and massively successful novels. And for good reason. In Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, The Baroque Cycle, and others, the author has written genre-defining (and genre-busting) fiction. But Stephenson is more than a novelist; he's also a thinker and a doer.

Two recent projects exemplify these qualities. Some Remarks, a remarkable collection of essays, interviews, a brief work of fiction, and a single new piece, finds Stephenson delving into his archives – something he rarely does – to highlight older pieces that tackle the topics of today: the coolness of geeks, the relevance of science fiction, the ambition of politicians. One of his other current endeavors is CLANG, a video game that hopes to reinvent a longtime Stephenson obsession, swordfighting interfaces. In a sprawling interview with The Verge, the author offered up some of his many plans and thoughts, including a new “research-heavy” novel, his trouble with Twitter, and why Kickstarter might be superior to venture capital.