I really hung in there, through the first 10 hours or so, wondering why we were listening to the daily routine of what sounded like a scription of monks in an alternate universe set in an alternate dialect. It did finally begin to ramp up, only to peter out feebly at the end. Very interesting theoretical content, but the delivery was long and stale...
Neal Stephenson is frustratingly good at bringing a world to life, albeit at times with a bit too much explanation. Even though he often does not lead his audience like ignorant sheep, throwing the reader into the thick with barely a narrative compass, he sometimes spends way too much time explaining the inner workings of a quark. Still, this book is fully realized and rich with interesting characters and philosophical arguments. I'm only starting to get bored with his formulaic narrative of a somewhat average protagonist that becomes a hero through a series of events little under his control.
I have been burning through Neal Stephenson's books since really enjoying seveneves. Despite the vocabulary work at the beginning it turned out great. To be honest the roots, and uses made a lot of sense for the imaginary language used.
I almost bailed out after the first 8 or so hours because it was quite slow to unfold and not instantly engrossing but I am glad I hung in because it turned out to be quite enjoyable. It ended up reminding me of an old time radio serial as the plot moved from set piece to set piece in an episodic manner. As per his usual (until Seveneves) Stephenson did almost nothing to write fully formed women characters, but there is no malevolence towards women present - they're just simple props to advance the plot. Use of math, science, religion and philosophy are very very well done. He's an excellent story crafter.
If the thought of learning chunks of an invented language in order to understand a book don't bother you then this book may well be for you! The voice acting was excellent and the snatches of avout chanting in between acts was moving. Other reviews have given enough detail on the story. I just want to say that, if you can deal with new words being tossed around to be explained later, then this is well worth your time. I recognized many bits of the praxis of our own casual domain running through the book, and only small license was taken with it. (that sentence will make sense later)
The story is deadly slow and at times rambling. Reminds me of the critics love of "Leaving Las Vegas" where we get it in the first 15 minutes but our noses are rubbed in it for another 90 minutes. The Anathem story would have be long with just half the time the author spent on it. He spun a world with so much detail and background that the background became the dominating part for IMO not much entertainment. Abridged in this case would have been a mercy.
How detailed the story was. As is usually with Stephenson he goes overboard with detail an information. I really loved the philosophy involved in the book. My one issue with said philosophy was the use of new/world specific made up words that were not explained until the philosophy in question was over. For example,. when discussing the three maths that were left alone the dictionary definition was not mentioned for half an hour or so later. This makes following the discussions between characters difficult at points.
When Raz figures out what the object really is. I was thinking to myself "please be aliens, please be aliensssss" and it was! This made the book a lot more interesting to me, not that it wasn't before this reveal.
He was excellent. I am specifically looking for books read by hime for my next purchase.
Id say yes because of how dense and interlaced everything is but I doubt a person could sit and listen to a heavily intellectual book for 30 hours straight. It took me about 3 weeks to finish it. I will relisten to it in the next month or two to see if I missed anything. Going back with knowledge of world specific language will definitely help.
This book is not a flimsy scifi. It takes concentration and dedication to get through. If you pay it the required attention you will love it.
Utterly boring. An hour in and nothing has happened except a discussion on the meaning of words and a painfully detailed account of someone fixing something. ugh.
Have something actually happen.