Neal Stephenson answers Slashdot readers' questions in this interview posted today. (For those unfamiliar with the Slashdot interview model, the initial notice of the interview gets posted as a regular Slashdot story, and readers post their proposed questions as responses to the notice. The most highly moderated questions are then sent to the interview subject, who writes back, and the results are what you can read above.) As usual, Stephenson is funny, thoughtful, and long-winded. The Gibson question is the comedic highlight. But the entire thing is worth reading.
By the way, I've started reading The System of the World but I'm only a few pages into it so far. I haven't been carting it back and forth to work to read on the subway, so that's hindering my progress. But I have some large blocks of time available this weekend to devote to it.