Mike (the Paladin)'s Reviews > Anathem

Anathem by Neal Stephenson
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's review
Sep 24, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, science-fiction

I must admit that at the end of this book my reaction was "finally". I'd been pretty much ready for it to end for some time...probably before encounter.

The book is (in my opinion) more of an "experience" than a story. It's an intricate exercise in world building that takes things from "the world" and altering them just a bit sets up a layered society.

The best part of the book in many ways is/are probably the the dialogs based on the logician debates. I haven't spent a lot of time reading philosophy in recent years and don't have the advanced math that a lot of the views here are based in, still aside from the frequent use of the "straw man" fallacy the set piece debates carry some interest.

The story follows it's arc through intro of the "Concents", their more or less monastic thinkers or intellectuals and their relations with the seculem those who live in the secular world (interestingly of course the monastic orders are largely irreligious, but those who who live outside are still the secular world.) The story is of the society and the gathering of evidence of an "extra-Arbreian" intelligent life form (Arbre being the planet) and what appears to be a UFO.

More of course would be "spoilerish".

I wasn't really taken with the book, I didn't hate it nor did I enjoy most of it overly. I would have preferred to put the time into reading some of the other books I have waiting. So..to you who enjoy this I'm happy for you. I don't plan at this time to run down further works by this author.
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06/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Mike (the Paladin) Oops, looked back, found typos...as usual.

Stuart Yes, this was definitely a self-indulgent book that I gave up on 1/3 of the way through. If you can't engage the reader in the span of a full-length novel, there's a serious problem. I have more rewarding books to read, though I still am a big fan of Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon.

Mike (the Paladin) I may try those. This one sort of put me off Stephenson.

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