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.
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.”
This audiobook goes the extra mile, giving listeners something the printed page-turner can not. Fans of the cult author will enjoy his vocal cameo appearances when he calmly reads definitions from a non-Earth dictionary at the start of many chapters. Another added bonus is the music between chapters that was composed specifically for this production; working with Stephenson and early drafts of the novel, David Stutz beautifully captures the complex traditional, coded choral music described therein. Moreover, the extras do not obscure the remarkable performance by William Dufris, who reads as if he knows the 900+ page text by heart. The story is told by a monastic scholar, and Dufris with a twinkle in his proverbial eye and a sense of awe in his voice is the perfect match. His intelligent rendering of the cast of characters is a delight for the ears. A Morrow hardcover (Reviews, July 28).
Science fiction but a lot of basis from today's earth. I enjoyed the book and its characters, and was glad to be able to read it on by "jeejah" since it would have been a hefty book to carry with me.
Deep and satisfying
Thoroughly and inventively built up out of innumerable interlocking details, a convincing world that, once you are immersed in the book, becomes as real as waking life. This book was kind of a Magister Ludi for the 21st century, and dealt with concepts that tickled the most modern scientific sensibility and informed my world view. Reading it was an immersive experience that has stayed with me for months afterward. Highest possible recommendation.
Stephenson delivers brilliance yet again
Few writers today can simultaneously entertain, educate, and expand a reader's view of the world quite so well as Neal Stephenson.
This work is best suited for those readers seeking a bit more than a pleasant diversion. While fun and engaging, this book also draws the reader's mind to consider metaphysics, causality, and the relationship between human institutions of popular culture, academia, and religion. This comes about incidentally to an delightfully unpredictable adventure -- in much the same way Mr. Stephenson's earlier works carry readers into explorations of economics, cryptography, and nanotechnology. Reading his books is to engage in an epic battle between the instincts to savor and to devour. His stories leave the reader changed for the better, and I have seldom finished one without being immediately tempted to reread it from the beginning.