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.
"If 'tis a sin, I don't give a Fiddler's fart!" -Frank McCourt.
Solving an Algorithms master theorem in KIingon would've been much easier than trying to make sense of this conundrum.
Seems like an interesting story, but the "language" If you can call it that, kept throwing me off. The author tried to give the reader some type of definition to certain words but it only made it more confusing by using more made up words as an explaintion (if that makes any sense)
I'm not sure exactly which parts of the story had anything to do with Mathematical theories, except for some loose references to Geometry and other made up nonsense.
I really wanted to like the book, though.
Someone on the planet Arbe might like it more. There were many parts of it that I enjoyed but it's slow and generally boring. It worked great as background noise to help me get to sleep.
I've listened to most of Stephensons work. I like this one the least of them all including the Baroque series which I don't think was well received. In fact I really enjoy his work, I think he's brilliant and most of his work is hard to put down. This was hard to pick up.
None, I think they are all important. Conversely I wish there was more character development. Even the main character remains 2 dimensional.
This is a story which grows with each telling. I have listened to it probably 30 times now and each time something new is revealed. The story is fresh and the characters are interesting. Most of all, I love the language. I grew up with a brother who made up his own vocabulary and only he and my cousin could understand it. Although this has mainly normal english speech, the addition of off the wall words is a treat.
I have to be honest, I always preview the narrators before I consider a book for listening. This book has numerous, interesting characters and the narrator nails them. After while, I knew who was speaking just from the voice. This made the book even more enjoyable.
No. Its a very compelling story, but there are so many extended didactic parts that it gets kind of tedious.
way too long for that.
I'm not sure there is any way to sum up this story that doesn't sound deadly dull, and even though I'm a big Stephenson fan, I put off reading this one for years based on all the reviews and plot summaries that are out there. All I can say is, if you like Stephenson, just forget that this is supposedly set in some monastery for eggheads and have fun with it. This is a big Stephenson-esque tour de force that's part treatise on the nature of consciousness, part social commentary on our own world, and part Heinlein-style adventure story - only the adventure part is better than anything Heinlein ever did, almost as if Stephenson is saying, "Look, this is how you write science fiction adventure stories for teenagers."
William Dufris was just right for narrator (the others are there to read definitions from the "Dictionary"). I was much happier with him in this one than in Cryptonomicon, in which he made Bobby Shaftoe sound like Gomer Pyle. This time, I think he did an admirable job with most of the character's voices - although Orolo's voice is quite elderly, and if you do the math (not hard the way their world is structured), he could hardly be over 50. Overall, Dufris has a cheerful, slightly ironic way of reading that strikes the right chord for this work.
Finally, a note on the new vocabulary. It's pretty clear a lot of work went into creating the names for things on planet Arbre. These are not new words for new things, but simply different words for things we already recognize, and a lot of them make sense in context. Jeejah actually isn't a bad word for a cellphone, especially the screeching obnoxious things that are a nuisance at social events, and bullshyt is actually a pretty good word for that particular concept. Among other things, this is a funny book, and the new vocabulary, clever in that way, helps to set the tone.
Stephenson fans, this is one you will not want to miss.