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Anathem Mass Market Paperback – August 25, 2009
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“Reading Anathem is a humbling experience.” (Washington Post on ANATHEM)
“A sprawling disquisition…[a] logophilic treat for those who like their alternate worlds big, parodic and ironic.” (Kirkus Reviews on ANATHEM)
“Stephenson’s expansive storytelling echoes Walter Miller’s classic A Canticle for Leibowitz, the space operas of Larry Niven and the cultural meditations of Douglas Hofstadter – a heady mix of antecedents that makes for long stretches of dazzling entertainment.” (Publishers Weekly on ANATHEM)
“A magnificent achievement. ” (Booklist (starred review) on ANATHEM)
“Clever and intricate...truly ingenious...it’s brilliance is undeniable.” (Locus, Gary K. Wolfe on ANATHEM)
“A masterpiece...mind-bogglingly ambitious...readers will delight in puzzling out the historical antecedents in philosophy, science, mathematics, and art that Stephenson riffs on with his customary quicklsilver genius...it’s one of the most thought-provoking novels I’ve ever read, and also one of the most engaging.” (Locus, Paul Witcover, on ANATHEM)
“The Seattle writer is kind of a cross between William Gibson and Richard Powers, hard-wired to tell stories, explore technology and riff on anything that catches his fancy.” (The Oregonian (Portland) on ANATHEM)
“[O]ne of Stephenson’s best novels…a captivating blend of culture clash, deductive reasoning and pure action.” (Columbus Dispatch on ANATHEM)
“What ever happened to the great novel of ideas? It has morphed into science fiction, and Stephenson is its foremost practitioner. A-” (Time magazine on ANATHEM)
“[R]iveting idea porn.” (Details on ANATHEM)
From the Back Cover
For ten years Fraa Erasmas, a young avout, has lived in a cloistered sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside world. But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the brink of cataclysmic change—and Erasmas will become a major player in a drama that will determine the future of his world, as he follows his destiny to the most inhospitable corners of the planet . . . and beyond.
Anathem is the latest miraculous invention by the New York Times bestselling author of Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle—a work of astonishing scope, intelligence, and imagination.
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Top customer reviews
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Once you hit the point the seclusion breaks down and the protagonist is headed out into the world, though, it kicks into the kind of speed that Neal Stephenson is known for. The rest of the book blazes past as the young Raz is put through trial after trial. The final two chapters I simply couldn't put the book down. it was that kind of entertaining. You forget all about the language replacements and the place the story started.
Readers should be cautioned that at many, many points characters break into Socratic dialogues on various subjects. Many of these topics return later to be re-dialogued with new information, or the subject matter actually plays out in the story. if you don't like reading about people talking at length about complex ideas, you may not like portions of this novel. If you are annoyed that this novel's invented language seems like a copy paste replacement of key words instead of a genuine language, well I think that's a valid critique but I wasn't as bothered by it.
However if you are intrigued by the theories behind multiple universes, convergent universes, spaceflight, logic puzzles you will find all of them represented well in this novel. If you just want a neat science fiction novel with a grand adventure across continents and elsewhere, this could be your book.
Like many of the 1 star reviews I didn't give this book the chance it deserved the first time I tried to read it. My second attempt though, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Give it a go, maybe you'll love it too.
Filled with mind bending philosophical questions, discussions and debates. Built in a fantastically complex yet very cohesive and coherent universe. I loved the characters, the storytelling... I loved everything about this book. It instantly became one of my favourite books ever.
The story is slow and this is nowhere near what I would call "action packed"... but it made me think and reflect like very few books have.
I loved this book and I wish I could be more eloquent in describing it. But I will definitely be reading it again.
The Kindle version of the book has Appendices that are missing from the Audible version of the book. Some of these contain discussions