Anathem by Neal Stephonson: Review
Typically I read books quickly, and as someone who spends a considerable amount of time writing and editing have trouble avoiding thoughts about how I would have written something. Moreover as someone who is constantly trolling for new ideas I am searching a book for things that I can use in my own writing. Ideas that were mentioned by not well explored which I find interesting.
Very little of any of that happened when I read Anathem. This books is not a quick read. Not only is it a doorstop but it is filled with things that make you stop and reread it in order to gain some understanding of it and I warn you that there are long discussions in this book of philosophy, math and science and other things which often go over my head.
Some of these are explained, some of them require no explaination and some are simply there for those who understand them and have no real importance to the story(such as the names of certain characters which you should recognize).
I can't say that Anathem is my favorite book, at least not any more than whatever book I most recently read is my favorite but Neal Stephenson is quickly growing as one of the authors who I love. Having only made it through 3 of his books I have loved every one of them.
That said, I would not suggest this as your first step into his work. Snowcrash, while covering ideas that are also complex and difficult is set in a world that is far closer to ours and so the technology and ideas are a bit easier to grasp.
But if you're interested in a challenge and love a good story of another world with space ships, alternate dimensions, nuclear war and romance without feeling like a 1950's Space Opera then there aren't many books which are better at either than Anathem.
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P.S. I know I didn't say much of what this book was about. Part of the fun of this book is the slowly revealing world and I'm not sure what I can say without ruining some of that.