Anathem

Mass Market Paperback | August 25, 2009

byNeal Stephenson

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A #1 New York Times Bestseller, Anathem is perhaps the most brilliant literary invention to date from the incomparable Neal Stephenson, who rocked the world with Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, and The Baroque Cycle. Now he imagines an alternate universe where scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians live in seclusion behind ancient monastery walls until they are called back into the world to deal with a crisis of astronomical proportions.

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Anathem won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and the reviews for have been dazzling: “Brilliant” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel), “Daring” (Boston Globe), “Immensely entertaining” (New York Times Book Review), “A tour de force” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), while Time magazine proclaims, “The great novel of ideas…has morphed into science fiction, and Neal Stephenson is its foremost practitioner.”

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From the Publisher

A #1 New York Times Bestseller, Anathem is perhaps the most brilliant literary invention to date from the incomparable Neal Stephenson, who rocked the world with Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, and The Baroque Cycle. Now he imagines an alternate universe where scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians live in seclusion behind ancient mon...

From the Jacket

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 Eras...

Neal Stephenson is the author ofReamde,Anathem, and the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver,The Confusion, andThe System of the World), as well asCryptonomicon,The Diamond Age,Snow Crash, andZodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

other books by Neal Stephenson

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Snow Crash
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Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:1008 pages, 6.75 × 4.19 × 1.51 inPublished:August 25, 2009Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:006147410X

ISBN - 13:9780061474101

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Customer Reviews of Anathem

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favorite book Anathem is the best reading investment I've ever made. Anathem's world is similar to ours but with its own incredibly robust history, philosophy, religion, and science. As a result, the first 200 pages will be a bit slower going for new readers as they reference the incredibly detailed glossary of word definitions and historical events. Getting through these 200 pages and growing comfortable with the terminology is the investment readers will make in Anathem. But what an incredible payoff that investment yields. The plot is designed so that it fully takes off at almost exactly the same moment readers grow comfortable with the world building and terminology. When it takes off, it takes off at full-throttle, with a gripping, globe-trotting adventure filled with memorable characters, and twists and turns in the plot that never feel out-of-place or forced. It becomes the most intelligent can't-put-it-down thriller you've ever read. I reached the end of the book wanting more stories in this incredible world that Stephenson has built. If you put in the time needed to get to know this incredible world, I promise you will too.
Date published: 2014-10-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down! Really good story, lots of philosophical discussion that was really fun to read ( believe it)!
Date published: 2014-08-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Easy to appreciate, hard to enjoy Anathem represents my second encounter with the genius of Neal Stephenson (third, if you count my aborted read of Quicksilver), and I can honestly say that while the reading experience does not get any easier, there is the same sense of satisfaction waiting at the end. More dense, less accessible, and somehow not as interesting as Cryptonomicon, it's a book that almost violently defies categorization. I find it a really difficult book to review. The university-educated, critical reading, spectacle-wearing intellectual who lies deep within me wants to award it five stars for its sheer audacity, limitless depths of esoteric concepts, and laudable efforts to make math interesting. It really is a book to be admired as much for what it sets out to accomplish as for the skill behind it. However, the tired, overworked, long-haired geek in search of entertainment who resides a bit closer to my surface is struggling to award it any more than two stars for the brief, fitful glimpses of story hidden between the concepts. There's a really exciting novella buried here, but it would take an entire concent another millennium to unearth it. More than anything else, I guess my problem is its all just so boring. Plot developments are so few and far between, it feels like the story never moves ahead. There's a lot of talking, a lot of thinking, a lot of writing, and a lot of calculating going on that, quite honestly, I would have been content to have seen left off the page. Yes, it's interesting and, yes, I can honestly say I learned a few things, but they were hard lessons. By the times the aliens actually appear, I'd honestly forgotten that there were aliens in the book, and by the time we get to the revelations about Fraa Erasmas . . . well, I'd stopped caring. It took me nearly a year of on again/off again reading to get through it, and it was more a sense of obligation that kept dragging me back than any real desire to get back into the story. The book never really grabbed my attention, and simply didn't offer my any incentive to keep reading. I feel bad, because there's a nagging voice in the back of my head that keeps telling me I should appreciate it more, but appreciation is not the same as enjoyment, and therein lies the rub.
Date published: 2012-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Challenging & Rewarding read Even for someone who reads many SF novels the first 100 pages are hard to get through (think of a prison/monastery setting where they study math & philosophy). If you can persevere, the layers of complexity unfold into a page turning read. If you enjoy complex SF you will be sorry to find yourself on the last page with no more to read.
Date published: 2010-03-27

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Editorial Reviews

[R]avishingly brilliant, outrageously ambitious…Stephenson embarks on a mission of world-building, and he is thoroughly successful at it.”