The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
Steampunk meets nanotechnology and virtual reality in "The Diamond Age: or, A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer". I'm generally a Neal Stephenson fan, and this novel does not disappoint. Over 20 years after its original publication in 1995, it still reads like a fresh and modern piece of science fiction. This is a tribute to Stephenson's intuitive technological vision and his ability to bring it to life. The idea of an interactive primer like this is great and I love how it handles computer science education in particular. Stephenson goes a bit off the rails with the weird drummer stuff and other assorted trippiness, but I'm mostly willing to forgive that in light of his wit ("The House of the Venerable and Inscrutable Colonel" -> KFC) and the intricacy of his worldbuilding.