Checking out Brandon Sanderson's work
This is a complex story about how a society developed to split off the scientific community from the secular community in response to a number of world events that almost destroyed the population. In the midst of this, a vessel comes into orbit that is nothing ever seen before. That is the gist of the story. The telling is great - the actors do a great job on this reading. The story is good, but has a weak ending. But its pretty interesting anyway. Worth the read.
I got swallowed up into Stephenson's alternate world of monastic academics quite rapidly, enjoying the extrapolations, divergent histories, and deep world-building. His philosophical dialogs were all worth pondering on their own, let alone what they contributed to the story. And every time I'd start to get comfortable with the setting, it would abruptly change, all for perfectly good reasons. Several times, I burst out laughing as the various different worlds clicked into place.
Oliver Wyman did an excellent job giving voice to our central protagonist, humanizing this tunnel thru whom we saw the world. He also did quite well at making most of the other characters distinct; if he had a flaw, it was when he gave voice to some female characters, but even they were consistent and distinguishable from everyone else.
Stephenson did create some alternate language for this alternate world, but excerpts from The Dictionary before each chapter help with that. It's a credit to him that when I considered some of the metaphysical dialogs, I did so in his argot.In all, I loved his celebration of intelligence and thinking.
I was interested in a long book and this one was it , the story was ok not great . if you're looking for a long book with some interesting subject matter in it this is it .
I was surprised by how much I got into this book. It was a tad slow to start, not unusual for NS, but I was drawn in by the second or third chapter. Halfway through I found myself having a hard time tearing away. I liked.
First thing you will notice when you start listening to this book is the odd vocabulary. The auther has filled a dictionary with new nouns, propper nowns, adverbs and verbs. It starts off confusing but the narrator is so good that you can most of the time guess the meaning from the tone, inflection and context of the new words. By half way through (or sooner) you will become fluent in this worlds new words and it really helps add to an immersive listening experience. I found myself accidentally using these made up words and getting odd looks from my spouse and friends.
The world is very deep and interesting and the world building is well done. The issue is, is that the story just isnt that interesting. Its incredibly slow at times and there will be hours of listening to characters argue about made up concepts that really add nothing to the story. its one of the few books i have listened to where i switched to 2x speed just to get through it. which is a shame because i really loved the narrator.
the ending is not satisfying at all and reminds me vaguely of the ending of the tv show Lost in how disappointed i was.
I really wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.
Snow Crash and Diamond Age where the first two books of Stephenson's I read, and loved. I tried Cryptonomicon, and while I though the story was worth much praise, the pace and style of writing (ie long seemingly rambling w/o much story progression or character development or world building, just words) felt very different, but I did finish it. Tried the first book in the baroque cycle but just more of the same feeling of over wordiness and abandoned the book (which I rarely do). Hoping the audio form may help i tried anatham. Sadly no. This book has much in common with the latter two. Wordy and slow and effortful. As another review stated, there is great novel somewhere in here, but not in it's current form.
The narration was great, it was one of the aspects that allowed me to finish this book.
I gave up about a half hour into this one, as it was literally putting me to sleep behind the wheel. It may be a good book if you like things so utterly complicated and slow that a turtle race seems exciting, but for me, I like my books to capture my attention, not lose it - repeatedly.
This is my favorite audio book to date
The only problem with Anathem is that, at the end, it is tough to find something that compares as a book and especially as an audiobook. Maybe that is why I listened again and was not dissapointed. The other Neal Stephenson Books are a must. I really liked, Counting Heads by Steven Marusek, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, 14 by Peter Clines, Traveler by John Twelve Hawks and Daemon by Daniel Suarez. Ready Player One is clever, well written and fun. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is a great audio book.
The narration is among the very best.
This is a great and long book (a bargain for that reason). I liked some of the realizations I had as I parsed the well written foreshadowing elements.
Definitely Frau Erasmus, he was a sympathetic character throughout the whole thing, very believable and overall great to hear.
The narrator read very clearly, and though there were a LOT of "alien" words to get used too, he did not stumble once over them. I felt like I was listening to the character and his thoughts and feelings were being told to me by him.
Not at first, The book is very slow to pick up. But once the stage setting has been done, and the actual mystery is revealed it REALLY picks up, almost to the point where the continuous delaying the main character does to get to the bottom of the overarching plot gets a little frustrating! Still, worth going through the growth and development the character does.