Anathem is my favorite story of all time... The narrators are excellent, and really pull you into the story. One of the best things about Anathem is that it really makes you think. My friend and I have both read and listened to it, and we never cease to have interesting conversations about it. The vocabulary takes a little while to get used to, but after you adjust, you'll go on one of the best adventure of your life! Often, when I read/listen to a story, I find that it is a blatant copy of another work. Not with Anathem.... If only more books did copy it.... BUY THIS BOOK you won't regret it. Would most definitely buy again!
I almost returned this book, but I'm glad I didn't. The plot takes a long time to build up speed, and you'll have to pick up a lot of fictional vocabulary words. You'll also need a high tolerance for philosophical and academic style dialogue. But, eventually I was drawn into the story as various mysteries slowly came into focus and the 'narrative' grew ever larger in scale. This may be a bit of a spoiler, but it would have helped me to know that in the end, the conflict would have very high stakes indeed.
I always enjoy some good old fashioned arcane spec-fic terminology. I also had to pause it numerous times so my wife and I could debate the philosophy woven throughout the story. MUCH better than arguing about which rest stop to hit or sitting in stony silence!
This author has an unbelievable ability to tie together so many different threads of culture, language, life, philosophy and science... and to do so without any of it seeming trite, or incomplete.
This is a VERY COMPLICATED story. It is tremendously interesting, clever, deep, and very engaging. I often felt stunned/floored by the complexity of the world that was imagined here... the detail, the completeness... I can't fathom what it must be like to have a mind capable of imagining the ridiculous (and I mean that in the best possible way) quantity of amazing ideas contained in this story. .. and then to be able to convey them in a thoroughly coherent, convincing, and engaging way for over 30 HOURS... !
Neal Stephenson, you are my new favorite author. Thoroughly impressed... and thoroughly smitten by your characters.
Oliver Wyman, your skills in narrating this story cannot be understated... as much as the story itself was a work of genius, your narration was truly an inspired performance. You breathed life into a strange world, and into so many characters, using so many different voices -- you made listening to this book a special experience that raises the bar for all narrators everywhere.
Phenomenal exploration of an extreme version of the relationship between science and society. As usual for Neal Stephenson, it's also chuck full of technical and scientific speculation based on real science. I highly recommend it.
This book is by far one of the best things I have read in a long time, probably since the last Neal Stephenson book I read. The story takes place in an monastery of an alien world where the inhabitants spend their very long lives pondering the great questions of the universe. The young protagonist Erasmas is forced to his home after strange occurrences that his mentor and father figure was investigating. He takes part in an adventure around his planet, traveling to other sects of monasteries with clashing views on all that you could possibly believe or see. Neal Stephenson does a fantastic job at putting well developed philosophical ideas, science, mathematics, astronomy, and beliefs in this adventure that really define and develop the characters throughout the book. One of the most intelligent books you can find in the science fiction section. I highly recommend this book.
The audio production was great and Oliver Wyman blew me away with the vocal performance. I cannot imagine any other voice for Fraa Erasmas. The chapters start with mesmerizing chants that take place within the book and it really makes listening to the audiobook an experience. The only complaint I have is in the beginning is a list of dates and events that would be a good as a reference to turn to while reading the paper book but does nothing when it is read to you before understanding the setting.
Early on in this book I regretted my decision to start it. The made up language tried my patience and really added nothing to the story. But the story is what forced me to stick with it, I do however admit to zoning out a bit during the lengthy philosophical debates. Overall I think it's a great book and I won't deduct stars for things that personally annoyed me.
This book builds an Earth-like world and then explores certain interesting ideas of theoretical physics and philosophy. The comparisons with our world are fun: Stephenson's fiction is brainy and absorbing, as in his earlier books. Some of the characters are excellent. The jargon is a little annoying in audiobook form, but mostly works on Latin puns and is sometimes enjoyable that way.
I gave the performance a three mainly because I find some of the principal reader's habits and inflections irritating after several hours. This is the second long Stephenson novel I have listened to with him. The little snippets of music are great, though.