Coquille Fleur's Reviews > Anathem

Anathem by Neal Stephenson
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's review
Feb 12, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: aliens, dystopian-fiction, fantasy, sci-fi

Whoa. It took me forever to read this book, but I'm glad I did. I'll admit, it was quite an investment to read the first 250 pages or so. Basically, you have to learn a whole new slanguage as you read and it takes a while to figure out what is up with this world. The story starts out in a cloister of ivory tower types who are mischievous, yet fairly compliant. It's sort of a University you can only leave once a year, every ten years, every one hundred years, etc. with gates run by a massive clock that the rituals center round. The monks and sisters (fraas and surs) end up uncovering a mysterious object circling their planet and all hell breaks loose. Soon they are cast out into the world of technology and ruin where their adventures really begin. From the arctic to space, these loveable characters get into a lot of trouble while learning about quantum physics, the cosmos, and the pure ideas just waiting to be uncovered. By the end, it's a James-Bond-style race to the finish, complete with a satisfying ending. Plus, there is all kinds of stuff in this book that will just blow your mind. Stephenson is a genius of plot and exposition. He doesn't disappoint in this regard at all. I loved this book, but I'm a patient reader willing to page back and forth between a glossary and the story for a while. If that sounds hellish to you, this book is not really your cup of tea. It's a great story, though, for the brave souls who can get through it.

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