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In this follow-up to his historical Baroque Cycle trilogy, which fictionalized the early-18th century scientific revolution, Stephenson (Cryptonomicon) conjures a far-future Earth-like planet, Arbre, where scientists, philosophers and mathematicians—a religious order unto themselves—have been cloistered behind concent (convent) walls. Their role is to nurture all knowledge while safeguarding it from the vagaries of the irrational saecular outside world. Among the monastic scholars is 19-year-old Raz, collected into the concent at age eight and now a decenarian, or tenner (someone allowed contact with the world beyond the stronghold walls only once a decade). But millennia-old rules are cataclysmically shattered when extraterrestrial catastrophe looms, and Raz and his teenage companions—engaging in intense intellectual debate one moment, wrestling like rambunctious adolescents the next—are summoned to save the world. Stephenson's expansive storytelling echoes Walter Miller's classic A Canticle for Leibowitz, the space operas of Larry Niven and the cultural meditations Douglas Hofstadter—a heady mix of antecedents that makes for long stretches of dazzling entertainment occasionally interrupted by pages of numbing colloquy. (Sept.)
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Stephenson has never been an easy writer to pin down, and he has a reputation for not always wearing his erudition lightly. Particularly in his later books—and that now includes Anathem—readers are vetted at the door before being invited into the author’s labyrinthine worlds. The early books were held up alongside the work of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and other cyberpunk gods, though in the last decade Stephenson has carved a niche as one of the most ambitious writers working today in any genre. Anathem is intellectually rigorous and exceedingly complex, even to the point, as the Washington Post avows, of being “grandiose, overwrought and pretty damn dull.” Others complained of too much abstraction. Stephenson’s fans are legion, however, and many will add Anathem to their list of must-read doorstops.
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Dense and drags in quite a few places, plus a pretty sappy ending. But a few big ideas and in the end I found it worth the time.Published 2 days ago by Joe A Zucco
Intelligent, clear, deep like a good bottle of red drunk slowlyPublished 3 days ago by Sasha Fauchereau
Another good Stephenson science fiction tale that is engaging and a wonderful read.Published 5 days ago by David Heflich
Over all good novel, but is quite lengthy to a fault, and the gimmick to use made-up words wears out fast (especially for a person whose first langue is a Romance one [i.e. Read morePublished 22 days ago by William Yousef Fadel
First off I worked as a math tutor while studying philosophy in undergrad; I loved reading Anathem. I have recommended this book to everyone I know that enjoys either of these... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Rango
Good story but there was one section that did not seem to fit into the overall story. A couple of people who have read it have started it and put it down and then come back to it... Read morePublished 23 days ago by CharlesC in Houston
Very strong. Took a while to get going but once it did it was a great story. The ending was a little convoluted. Unfortunately I feel like a few of Neal stephenson's books do that. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tim Friedman