NEAL STEPHENSON UPDATE: Well, only sort of. My earlier post invoking Cryptonomicon generated a lot of email. One noticeable strand involved the character of America Shaftoe, who many readers saw as unrealistic, and who was referred to by one reader as a "geek fantasy chick."
I disagree. In fact, my brother's long-term girlfriend makes America Shaftoe seem tame. She's gorgeous enough to be a swimsuit model, is in grad school in robotics, and is a crack shot. (And for extra exoticism points, is Nigerian). She even has her own software company selling network billing and management software to Internet cafes in the third world.
Plus, when they were here last weekend, she re-installed my wireless network. The replacement hardware was, of course, an upgrade from what I'd had before, and the installation was totally different. I had looked at it, groaned, and put it off until I had a full afternoon, and plenty of patience, to screw with it. She did it in a couple of hours. And, most impressively, was visibly having a great time while she did.