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The Great Simoleon Caper by Neal Stephenson

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“The Great Simoleon Caper” is a 1995 science fiction short story by Neal Stephenson. It is about a plot to foil a future electronic currency… and the even more devious plot to foil that plot!

Non-Spoiler Summary

Exchange Money Conversion to Foreign Currency by, CC 2.0 license

There is a narrator to this story, but I don’t know what his name is – so let’s call him Joe’s brother okay? So, Joe’s brother is one of those under-achievers who is really smart but doesn’t want to get a job so he crashes at Joe’s house. That’s alright, because Joe is the millionaire owner of an ad agency that operates in the virtual world, and his firm is about to release the details of a sweepstakes to win a lot of a new-fangled e-currency called Simoleons, and Joe could really use his brother’s help right about now. Joe’s brother obliges, mostly because he likes solving the odd-ball equations his brother throws at him, and soon discovers that the government is planning to destroy not only Joe’s ad campaign, but the whole idea of Simoleons as well. Ew… what a dastardly deed! Anyway, with the help of some shady crypto-anarchists, Joe and his brother set out to pull one over on the government. The question is: can they succeed with such high stakes and so many heavy hitters? Let’s hope so!

My Two Cents

  • Story: 4 stars – This was a fun story about secret agents manipulating the ebb and flow of the financial world. Nothing we haven’t seen before, but still a good yarn.
  • Writing: 5 stars – Look, if you like Neal Stephenson’s style then you’ll like this story – because it is classic Stephenson and very much like his famous novel Snow Crash. I really enjoyed it – your mileage may vary.
  • Fun Factor: 5 stars – This one kept me riveted the whole way through, and I found it to be incredibly entertaining! The only real letdown was that the ending felt a bit rushed – I wish he would have made it just a little bit longer.

Where To Get The Great Simoleon Caper

  • This story first appeared in the Spring 1995 Special Domestic issue of Time.
  • You can read “The Great Simoleon Caper” online for free at (Special thanks to Rob, one of our readers, for pointing out this great story!)

Craving More SF Stories Like This One?

If you enjoyed "The Great Simoleon Caper" then you might also like “Johnny Mnemonic” by William Gibson – about a guy with some sensitive information implanted in his head, who is running from a Yakuza hit man!