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Anathem
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About the Author

Neal Stephenson is the bestselling author of the novels Reamde, Anathem, The System of the World, The Confusion, Quicksilver, Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac, and the groundbreaking nonfiction work In the Beginning . . . Was the Command Line. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Reviews

On the world called Arbre, time runs in counterpoint: the ponderous flow of ritual and study behind the doors of the great "maths," or monasteries, against the constant flux of cultural change in the world outside. Devoted to scientific rather than religious practice, these sanctuaries maintain an austere and ceremonial cloistered existence for decades, even centuries, before opening briefly to see what has changed. Every so often, major outside events break the great cycle and force the maths to change. Fraa Erasmas, a not especially distinguished member of one of these cloisters, finds himself at the center of one of these events and, as so often happens, ends up trying to save the world. Stephenson (Cryptonomicon) is not afraid to spend as much time as it takes to explore everything that interests him, whether it's the geometry of cake cutting or the particulars of a 1000-year-old collection of assorted garden furniture. In less skilled hands this might be tedious, but here the layers of world building are the foundation for an enthralling tale that, even at over 900 pages, is over almost too soon. For some fans, this may be a welcome return to sf after his epic historical trilogy, "The Baroque Cycle," but readers with an interest in science and philosophy will also enjoy it--there are dozens of famous ideas and theorems half-hidden throughout the novel. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/08; includes a bonus CD with music composed for Anathem.]--Jenne Bergstrom, San Diego Cty. Lib. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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). (Oct.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"[R]avishingly brilliant, outrageously ambitious...ANATHEM is thought-provoking fun, at turns a post-graduate seminar of philosophy and physics, and a rousing yarn with characters you care about."--Orlando Sentinel on ANATHEM
"Anyone who has read Stephenson's Baroque Cycle will be familiar with his ingenuity when it comes to mixing science, sociology and satire with swashbuckling adventure, and ANATHEM duly marries extensive dialogues on quantum mechanics and the nature of consciousness to literal cliffhangers, high-tech warfare and general derring-do."--The Examiner (Ireland) on ANATHEM
"[R]iveting idea porn."--Details on ANATHEM
"A magnificent achievement. "--Booklist (starred review) on ANATHEM
"In Anathem, Stephenson creates a religion for skeptics and nerds."--Austin American-Statesman on ANATHEM
"A sprawling disquisition...[a] logophilic treat for those who like their alternate worlds big, parodic and ironic."--Kirkus Reviews on ANATHEM
"Stephenson writes in twists and turns, double-backs and cul-de-sacs, winding tunnels and fast-moving tracks. It's a Rube Goldberg sort of book: intricate, sometimes difficult to follow but always fascinating to read."--Grand Rapids Press 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
"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
"Anathem is a challenge: Make yourself one of the avout. Make yourself a scholar, and try to understand the world a little differently."--Eugene Weekly on ANATHEM
"Reading Anathem is a humbling experience."--Washington Post on ANATHEM
"Clever and intricate...truly ingenious...it's brilliance is undeniable."--Locus, Gary K. Wolfe on ANATHEM
"As with Stephenson's previous work, plot and character are wrought to the highest standards of literary fiction but they're scarcely as fascinating as the worlds he conjures up. If there's anything more readable than ANATHEM it should probably be banned."--Word (UK) on ANATHEM
"[O]ne of Stephenson's best novels...a captivating blend of culture clash, deductive reasoning and pure action."--Columbus Dispatch on ANATHEM
"It's almost impossible to not be impressed by Anathem; there's simply too much erudition, wit, craft and risk-taking."--San Francisco Chronicle on ANATHEM
"The cult legend's newest book, Anathem, [is] destined to be an instant sci-fi classic."--Popular Mechanics on ANATHEM
"He mashes up genres with the flair of Thomas Pynchon and the intellect of William Gibson."--Winnipeg Free Press on ANATHEM
"Stephenson displays his ingenuity when it comes to mixing science, sociology and satire with swashbuckling adventure. Anathem marries extensive scientific and philosophical dialogues to cliffhangers, hi-tech warfare and derring-do."--Sunday Sun (UK) on ANATHEM
"Anathem duly marries extensive dialogues on quantum mechanics and the nature of consciousness to literal cliffhangers, hi-tech warfare and derring-do."--Leicester Mercury on ANATHEM
[R]avishingly brilliant, outrageously ambitious...Stephenson embarks on a mission of world-building, and he is thoroughly successful at it."--South Florida Sun Sentinel on ANATHEM
"Anathem is a brilliant, playful tour of the terrain where logic, mathematics, philosophy and quantum physics intersect, a novel of ideas par excellence, melding wordplay and mathematical theory with a gripping, human adventure."--London Times on ANATHEM
"This is a book about science and philosophy which demands the full concentration of the reader -a worthwhile, smart, exciting read."--Time Out London
"A daring feat of speculative fiction...ANATHEM offers the reader a luscious arrangement of words, jokes, and speculations."--Boston Globe
"Learned, witty, weirdly torqued, emotionally complex, politically astute, and often darkly comic...ANATHEM is an audacious work by a highly intelligent imagination, a delightfully learned text."--Edmonton Journal (Alberta) 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
"Suddenly, novels of ideas are cool again."--io9 on ANATHEM
"A tour-de-force of world building and high-concept speculation, wrapped around a page-turning plot."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch 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
"The world Stephenson builds is richly visual, its complicated social politics are convincingly detailed, and its cool and conflicted heroes struggle with thrilling intellectual puzzles while they are tested in epic physical adventures."--Slate, Best of 2008 List, on ANATHEM
"Blending quantum physics, phenomenological philosophy and various other fun hobbies...Stephenson's enthusiasm to share his theories and explanations is infectious...think "The Name of the Rose" crossed with "Dune"...genuinely fascinating brain food."--The Oregonian (Portland) on ANATHEM

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