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Preview — Anathem by Neal Stephenson
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Fraa Erasmas is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientist...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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.
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 ...more
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 ...more
Do your neighbors burn one another alive?” was how Fraa Orolo began his conversation with Artisan Flec ...
“Do your shamans walk around on stilts? ...
“Do you fancy you will see your dead dogs and cats in some sort of afterlife?” (c)
Orolo had asked me along to serve as amanuensis. It was an impressive word, so I’d said yes. (c)
My talent for envisioning things, and spinning yarns in my head, failed me that evening, as if it had gone on vacation. I could make no sense of my interview with Spe ...more
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 ...more
- 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 ...more
The glossary puts people off, I know, but it's only tough at the beginning. After a few hundred pages you get used to all the Orth terminology and it flows just fine. The descriptions of theorics and takes on human consciousness and the many worlds i ...more
The evolution of thinking and philosophy in conjunction with technology thought further.
Stephensons novel contains a plethora of plots, allusions, and concepts. Arbitrarily, some that caught my eye.
Societal implications are caricaturing the sober reflections of previous models of politics, economics, and religion. Or spin it into the future to a fictional, renewed collapse.
And how the splin ...more
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 ...more
On the other hand if science-fiction can ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
The plot of Anathem takes place on a different planet than ours and Stephenson invented quite a few words to go with it. As a non native spe ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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)
Farewell, YA Fantasy; I don't believe I'm ever coming back.
This is one fantastic book. Stephenson combines philosophy, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, anthropology, satire, and a lot more in what is probably one of my new favorite books of all time. Certainly the best novel I've read that was written post-2000.
Anathem's worldbuilding (physical, cultural, historical, philosophical, etc.) is brilliant. The concent of the avout idea is pretty much my idea of a utopia: it's a massive, comple ...more
I really wanted to love the world and be invested in what happens, but with the non-stop rambling about life, science, and religion of a make believe world it made it next to impossible. In th ...more
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