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4.18  ·  Rating details ·  52,153 Ratings  ·  4,308 Reviews
Der Planet Arbre im Jahr 3689. Seit seinem achten Lebensjahr lebt Erasmas, genannt Raz, im Konzent Saunt Edhar, einer klosterähnlichen Gemeinschaft von Wissenschaftlern, Philosophen und Mathematikern. Die Aufgabe dieser Gemeinschaft ist es, hinter den jahrtausendealten Mauern Wissen zu bewahren und es vor den schädlichen Einflüssen der säkularen Welt zu beschützen. Denn wä ...more
Hardcover, 1023 pages
Published 2010 by Manhattan (first published September 9th 2008)
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David Peterson As mentioned below, there is a glossary to help, and even a wiki (google anathem wiki) if you don't mind some spoilers. That said, the way this one…moreAs mentioned below, there is a glossary to help, and even a wiki (google anathem wiki) if you don't mind some spoilers. That said, the way this one was written, I'd recommend starting over - this may be the first book I've ever done this with, but when I finished I went right back and re-read it to pick up things that I'd missed the significance of on the first read. Coming at those first couple hundred pages with fresh eyes, and the spoilers of the future makes them even better.(less)
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Sep 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think that Neal Stephenson is very intelligent and a terrific writer. That said, I found all the made-up googlies in this snarfle, really boinged my thnoode. Surely there is a slankier way of telling us that we are reading about another zoof than to make up every other googly. It made it very difficult to forkle the snarfle and I put it down after only 80 ziffies. This will not stop me from attempting the next Neal Stephenson snarfle, however.
Oct 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for something completely unique.
One of the most challenging books I've read, and one that I got a lot of satisfaction out finishing. Stephenson's got a wildly inventive mind and reading him is like jumping onto a high speed bullet train at full speed.

It took about 70 pages to get used to the new 'language' that he invented for this story, and I had to refer to the glossary repeatedly, but suddenly it just clicked, and I was completly caught up in the world Stephenson created.

Not for casual reading, but fans of sci fi, physics
After digesting Stephenson's latest 937 page tome, my response basically boils down to "Meh."

Ok, maybe not, "Meh." exactly. Maybe more like, "Hmmm." I wish I could say something more elegant about it, but the problem is that there isn't a lot to say about the book as a whole because the book as a whole isn't really that good or that interesting. The book as a whole is difficult to describe, because so much of the book seems like a digression from even itself that instead of a book, it's more lik

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became
Simeon Berry
There are a number of technical problems to writing sci-fi and fantasy. Chief among them is the tremendous amount of work required to set up a cultural matrix: a language, a history, an iconography, etc. that makes the world fully realized and engaging. In this new 900-page doorstop, Stephenson tries to solve this problem with approximately 200 pages of exposition, setting up the mindset of a post-apocalyptic monastery where you have religious scholarship without the religion (mostly). So you ha ...more
Sean Gibson
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewing a 1,000-page book that’s part alternate history, part close encounters of the third kind, part futuristic sci-fi utopian fantasy, and part philosophical treatise is like trying to milk a camel while sitting in quicksand.

Incidentally, if you’ve never tried that, I don’t recommend it—you end up getting both milk and sand in some pretty weird places. Also, it’s worth noting that, as a general rule, male camels don’t particularly enjoy being milked and have a tendency to make their disple
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sciencefiction
Anathem is an astonishing, enormous, intimidating, and intensely enjoyable book. However, it is also the most "science fiction-y" of any book he's written so far, and that may turn some people off. Also, I'm given to understand that some people would prefer not to have to think about polar coordinates, geometric proofs, bubble universes, string theory, or relativity in their pleasure reading. That is, of course, their prerogative. Also, it's long. And at times there are scenes that go on for pag ...more
Oh my lord, this is still one of my top ten favorite works of literature. Like. Ever.

Not only has this seminal masterwork of fiction withstood a second read with flying colors, but it continues to define and defy both Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction categories. Heck, I think we can say it belongs on any Philosophy shelf, too, and I defy anyone to not laugh their heads off at the haircuts or Rakes or so many beautiful easter-eggs of ideas studded through the opening couple hundred pages.

May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I have been reading this book for 17 days, when you have lived with a single book this long there is inevitably separation pain, now that I have finished it I feel like I just woke up from a long weird dream. I had a lot of trepidation about reading this book, the reviews and comments from fellow sf readers (hello PrintSF dudes!) are generally positive but I gathered from them that this is a long hard one (ooh-er!) which is bit intimidating given my very average intelligence. Still, I am intrigu ...more
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
"You can get a lot done in ten millennia if you put your mind to it..."
- Neal Stephenson, Anathem


I float now between 4 and 5 stars. Drift. Bounce. Return. I need to sleep, dream, and return to this later. Perhaps, my response will solidify in my sleep. Perhaps, later I'll find words, emotions, and rational responses to this big, ambitious, knot of a novel. Later.


There are two reviews I want to write. The first follows the path which measures this novel by the volume of its output, the c
Jul 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Coral by: Harper Collins, at ALA
Shelves: recommended
I really believe this is the best book Neal Stephenson has written. For one thing--I don't want to spoil it too much, so I will be vague--it has an actual, honest to goodness ending. The book's size might be a little daunting, especially to those readers who have come to expect unnecessary verbosity from him, but I think it's entirely appropriate: he covers a hell of a lot of ground. (Full disclosure: the page of cereal discourse in Cryptonomicon didn't bother me, or even seem out of place as I ...more
Scott  Hitchcock
Oct 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, dnf
DNF 33%

To like this book you will have had to have been a philosophy major who likes a book about monks debating non sequiturs in a fictitious version of earth where there's no plot and because of your heart condition you never achieve a heart rate of over 43 in your cryogenic chamber.

To be fair some of the comparisons to the ridiculous issues of modern society did make smile at how the author spun it but the ratio of reading to a smile or a that's an interesting point moment were too few and f
Anathem is a very odd book, and one whose appeal I do not understand.

I don't think it would be unfair to call it an piece of expository nonfiction disguised as a novel. Virtues like plot momentum, characterization, drama, verisimilitude, and the like are subordinated to exposition. The book intends to do one thing, and one thing only -- it intends to expose the reader to a set of concepts and arguments Stephenson finds interesting. Stephenson is pretty explicit about this in his acknowledgements
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I may end up giving this 5 stars, depending on how it stays with me. I loved it, but it should be noted Stephenson is one of my favorite authors. THis book is a lot less verbose than his last trilogy and even Cryptomonicon. But it's also a slower, harder read - there's hard science in here, and not just science but quantum physics, the hardest of all!

The story takes place on a planet in a different cosmos. The society here has a long, involved history with many different words to learn that are
On the one hand this is a cross between a history of philosophy, a Jules Verne story, the films Independence Day and Close Encounters of the Third Kind with elements of Hesse's The Glass Bead Game, aspects of physics and mathematics that works as a lively, readable (well once or twice, it palls after that) and entertaining novel. The pacing of the novel is exponential which means that its average pace is slow and the first third e x t r e m e l y s l o w.

On the other hand if science-fiction can
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

Is Neal Stephenson the most brilliant living author currently in the United States of America? Oh, wait, I can answer that for you right away: Yes. Yes he is. And that's because Stephenson can do something almost no other American writer currently putting out work can; he can take a healthy dose of t
Violet wells
I’m amazed this was a bestseller – not because it’s bad but because it’s so difficult. “A brilliant playful tour of the terrain where logic, mathematics, philosophy and quantum physics intersects, a novel melding wordplay and mathematical theory with a gripping human adventure,” says the blurb and the only part of that assessment I’d take issue with is the “gripping” part!

I don’t really do (or get) science fiction and often this felt like reading a novel in a language I had only studied for six
Anathem: This book could be anathema to some readers…
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
At one point do you admit defeat and give up on a book? Especially one that you really WANT to like, by an author whose work you respect, and has been lauded by critics and readers alike. I’ve put off tacking Anathem for many years because: 1) it’s a massive door-stopper about an order of monks millennia in the future devoted to philosophy, science, and mathematic theorems; 2) it’s got an entirely new le
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Öncelikle 3 uyarı:
1- Neal Stephenson sizi önce suya alıştıran bir eğitmenden ziyade havuza iteleyiveren dayınıza benziyor, o yüzden biraz su yutmaya hazır olun.
2- Bu kitap yoğun derecede felsefe-bilim göndermeleri ve teknolojik ayrıntılar içeriyor, eğer bunlardan hazzetmiyorsanız elinizdeki kitabı usulca bırakıp sizi mutlu edecek başka bir dünyaya yelken açın.
3- Kitabı okumadan önce idealizm ve materyalizm ekseninde dönen tartışmalara, gerçeğin doğasına dair tarih boyunca edilmiş laflara, öne sü
Jul 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some novelists pander to their audience. Others challenge them. Neal Stephenson might be determined to make his audience feel stupid, in the nicest possible way.

The American novelist has long been considered one of the great madmen of science fiction, a towering intellect who synthesizes technical mumbo-jumbo and a Monty-Pythonesque capacity for silliness into daunting tomes as entertaining as they are impenetrable. Stephenson mashes up genres with the flair of Thomas Pynchon and the intellect o
There is an amusing review here on Goodreads that mocks the language of Anathem. The reviewer has a point, there is a silliness to some of the common words that Stephenson decides should be changed to kind of nonsensical words, just to show that this is a world that is like ours but not ours. I feel a little sad for the reviewer that he stopped reading at about page 80 though. Those first hundred pages or a little less, of the book were kind of tough going with the language, but it gets easier a ...more
Mayim De Vries
Mar 04, 2018 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
💭 a world where scientists are considered danger to a society;
💭 a world where academic communities live rigorous lives ever fearing the possible Sack;
💭 a world where those who care for knowledge that is unadulterated and happiness that does not come from chemicals in your blood close themselves in secluded places opened once in ten years;
💭 a world where a mixture of the Plato Academy and the monks of Mount Athos is the ultimate counterculture and the most dangerous form of rebellion;

⭐ a book as
Jack Tripper
My first time reading Anathem was one of the most engrossing reading experiences I've ever had, in any genre. As a long-time Stepehenson fan, one could say I'm slightly biased. But, considering that I've now read this three times since it's been out, even though it's a 900+ page monstrosity, should tell you something. And I'm not one who normally rereads books.

First off, I should mention that it definitely helps to have even a slight interest in the 'big questions,' such as the nature of reality
4.5 stars. Another original, robust effort by Stephenson who is one of the best SF writers working today. Highly recommended.

Winner: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (2009)
Nominee: Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (2009)
Nominee: John W. Campbell Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (2009)
Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (2009)
Nominee: Britsh Science Fiction Award for Best Novel (2009)
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
Anathem is another incredible book by Neal Stephenson, although probably not for everyone. Highly philosophical, brimming with hard science, it is the story of a world where scientists have been more-or-less sequestered for centuries in "maths" (the scientific equivalent of a monastery), living ascetic lives and devising high philosophy of the universe. It is the story of a specific Avout (=monk), Erasmus, and what happens when the world that they know is turned upside down by an unexpected thre ...more
Bob Milne
Anathem represents my second encounter with the genius of Neal Stephenson (third, if you count my aborted read of Quicksilver), and I can honestly say that while the reading experience does not get any easier, there is the same sense of satisfaction waiting at the end. More dense, less accessible, and somehow not as interesting as Cryptonomicon, it's a book that almost violently defies categorization.

I find it a really difficult book to review. The university-educated, critical reading, spectacl
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished my second read-through of this massive tome. If you don't like novels that could also be used to bludgeon a small elephant to death... READ THIS ONE ANYWAY.

Okay, it's actually not for everyone. This review will try to help you decide if you should delve into Anathem.

It helps if you like science fiction at least a little bit. It's not a space opera, nor is it anything that could be concretely labeled sci-fi, but there is that element, and it does take place on a different planet.
This was a very frustrating book to read because somewhere in here is a very good 350 page hard Science Fiction story. The problem is that is swamped by an extra 600 pages of theoretical maths, lots of unnecessary made up words that I kept having to look up in the glossary because I couldn't remember what they were, and all wrapped up in a pseudo-monkish world with rituals that make Gormenghast look laconic in comparison.

The idea of aliens from one universe where just one of the cosmological con
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is only my third Stephenson novel. The other two being Snow Crash (great) and The Diamond Age (good).I was drawn to this one because of how "science fictiony" it sounded, relative to his more recent work. Though it is hard to top Snow Crash , simply due to how much fun it was to read, I think this is a much more impressive work.

Part social commentary, part philosophical dialogue, part physics lesson, he somehow makes it all interesting. The world he created in Arbre and the concents is sim
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Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem, and the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World), as well as Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
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“Our opponent is an alien starship packed with atomic bombs," I said. "We have a protractor.” 138 likes
“Nothing is more important than that you see and love the beauty that is right in front of you, or else you will have no defense against the ugliness that will hem you in and come at you in so many ways.” 104 likes
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