Silver? More like lead

I'm about 100 pages through Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver, and I'm struggling. Or maybe it's the book's fault. Anyone else further down the road willing to offer me hope? I wish Stephenson had stuck with the future, even though I enjoyed Cryptonomicon which delved into the past. The dialogue in Quicksilver is slow, and I find myself resorting to the Quicksilver Wiki just to keep characters straight.
Maybe I'm just stupid. The early Amazon reviews aren't glowing, though. Perhaps we're all stupid. Neal Stephenson is certainly very smart. I'm just not sure he's a great writer.
Fortunately, I received Lance's new bio Every Second Counts in the mail today so there's good reading ahead for a few days.