Review: Anathem by Neal StephensonNeal Stephenson’s speculations on language and philosophy impress Christopher Brookmyre. how about: “Anathem is a big novel about the history of philosophy and Some of the niftiest people ever live in Neal Stephenson’s head. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson, is one of my favorite books of all time—a thousand-page journey to another world that feels just a step removed.
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While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became Christmas After all, Stephenson’s Snow Crash and The Diamond Age and Cryptonomicon were all science fiction, and all long, but were none the less magnificent analyses of, respectively, cyberpunk linguistics, steampunk nanotech and historical cryptography.
I think this novel is wonderful. Anathem by Neal Stephenson. The combination of all of these factors made “Cryptonomicon” so enjoyable to me that I soon began to tell people that Neal Stephenson was my favorite author, an assertion only given further weight when I devoured his back catalog and found it all to be outstanding particularly “Snow Crash”.
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As Stephenson himself would admit, the whole setting is a pretext for conceptual exposition. Taking ideas that might not get a aathem of traction beyond really specialized groups of philosophers, and introduce them to a larger public by creating a narrative that folds them, bends them into coherent stories. Only the aliens turn out not to be so alien, but rather to demand that you turn your attention back to quantum dynamics wake up at the back, there!
The invented language of Anathem is also not really a sticking point for me. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. At times this book also, obviously, gave me A Canticle for Leibowitz vibes and even Ender’s Game vibes not so much, but a bit towards the end.
Granted, I really enjoyed the characters, and once the plot really got rolling around page or soI was totally hooked. If nothing had happened in the book Anatnem would have loved it. I discovered Neal Stephenson with “Cryptonomicon”, which was published stepgenson a decade ago now.
I don’t know if there’s higher praise than that for fans of great worldbuilding in sci-fi or fantasy. Maybe I wanted this novel to be ste;henson Name of the Rose then going the route of a Hollywood summer blockbuster. And like I said, thus does the first three thousand years of Arbrean written history pass remarkably like Earth’s, with their version of a Roman Empire the “Bazian Empire” which eventually adopts Catholicism “The Ark of Baz” as its official religion, which eventually leads to a Protestant Reformation the “Anti-Bazians” which turns into their version of the Renaissance “The Rebirth”which on Arbre is when the gates of the ancient Mathic monasteries were first flung open, so that most of the science-worshipping monks could disperse themselves among the public at large, ushering in their version of our “Modern Age” or “Scientific Age” or whatever you want to call it basically, the last years of history, from the Renaissance to nowwhich the Arbreans call “The Praxic Age” on their world, “Praxism” being their word for “technology.
Die parallele Entwicklung von Naturwissenschaften und Geisteswissenschaften und eine stete gegenseitig Beeinflussung und Inspiration durchziehen das Werk. Saturday 29 December The characters are made of cardboard. But the whole book seemed a lost opportunity for depth and creativity to me, so that was par for the course.
The story ny place on a planet in a different cosmos. This isn’t just a local phenomena but the basic fact of human existence that has led to the world population living ndal strictly segregated, and as a result, mutually contemptuous castes. Major themes include the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and the philosophical debate between Platonic realism and nominalism.
The people of Arbre inaugurate a second “Reconstitution”, revising many of the rules that had restricted the work and lifestyle of sstephenson avout. A incubation of the self-perception of the reader is optional too. Swinging out from their ivory towers to demonstrate their mastery of the extremes of human capability; in the intellect, in martial arts and intuition cultivated through meditative practises. And in fact Stephenson very cleverly uses as the ultimate example the so-called “Secret Brotherhood of the Ita” associated with each Mathic monastery, a bastardization of the old corporate “I.
Mar 13, nostalgebraist rated it did not like it Stfphenson If not, you’ll find that Anathem is set on Arbre, a world not unlike Earth, but one on which the pure scientists, philosophers, mathematicians and other geeks who might have played with Neal at school are segregated from the Saecular sic world.
It also continues to blow my mind. And how the splinters and fragments of previous ideologies transform into new cults. Erasmas becomes aware of the content of Orolo’s research after Orolo is banished in a rite called Anathem from the Mathic World for his possession and use of proscribed technology within the concent.
Review: Anathem by Neal Stephenson
I can’t even say that my love of this novel is a case of right place, right time, because with the second read almost eight years after the first, you’d think that I’d have grown as a person. And then, admittedly, almost nothing happens for about pages.
This is one of the smartest pieces of fiction I’ve ever read. Andrew McKie commends the challenge presented by a vast and ambitious novel. I think the concents are a cool idea, but one that Stephenson doesn’t fully make convincing.
Review: Anathem by Neal Stephenson – Telegraph
What’s disappointing and perplexing is how flimsy Anathem ‘s delivery system is, how little appeal it has on the level of pure story. In order to familiarize the reader with the new words, many of which are analogous to English, Latin or Greek words and ideas, he syephenson a glossary at the end of the book.
They engage quite often in what we here on Earth would call Socratic dialogues, and discuss and work with a lot of important principles that come from our own scientific past–although on Anatehm, things like Platonic forms and the Pythagorean theorem are named after different philosophers.
I had a lot of trepidation about reading this book, the reviews and comments from fellow sf readers hello PrintSF dudes! Also, I’m given to understand that some people would prefer not to have to think about polar coordinates, geometric proofs, stepphenson universes, string theory, or relativity in their pleasure reading.
Anathem Cover of the hardcover first edition, featuring an analemma behind the author’s name. Of course, here the problem isn’t so much deniability, because I’m not sure Stephenson ultimately says much of anything fresh or radical or likely to get him in trouble with the orthodoxy, as it is convincing people to read his opinions in the first place.
In the realm of the avout
The remainder of the book consists of their efforts to deduce, from Platonic anathe, what it might be and how to interact with it. Interface The Cobweb Stephrnson may not be his best work.
Did anyone else get the impression that these were originally part of the text, and that Stephenson had been forced to put them in the appendix solely because his editor finally showed some backbone and called him on it? That would, of course, mean that no one could pass judgment on a book until they’d read the whole thing.
How can something this complicated in its entirety read so easily, so effortlessly?
Even so, there is a real ending as many readers thought there wasn’t for the Baroque Cyclealthough it seems a sentimental one. Their Discipline dictates not only that anathrm receive no news from outside the ajathem, but also that the ten- hundred- and thousand-year constituents have no inter-communication either.
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. All of these are important to the plot, by the way, not just random rabbit trails.