Over the centuries, cities, and governments have risen and fallen beyond the concent's walls. Three times during history's darkest epochs, bloody violence born of superstition and ignorance has invaded and devastated the cloistered mathic community. Yet always the avout have managed to adapt in the wake of catastrophe, becoming out of necessity more austere and less dependent on technology and material things. Erasmus, however, has no fear of the outside - the Extramuros - for the last of the terrible times was long, long ago.
Now, in celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fras and suurs prepare to venture outside the concent's gates - opening them wide at the same time to welcome the curious "extras" in.
During his first Apert as a fra, Erasmus eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected". But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the perilous brink of cataclysmic change.
Powerful unforeseen forces threaten the peaceful stability of mathic life and the established ennui of the Extramuros - a threat that only an unsteady alliance of Saecular and avout can oppose - as, one by one, Raz's colleagues, teachers, and friends are all called forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster.
Suddenly burdened with a worlds-shattering responsibility, Erasmus finds himself a major player in a drama that will determine the future of everything - as he sets out on an extraordinary odyssey that will carry him to the most dangerous, inhospitable corners of an unfamiliar planet...and far beyond.
©2008 Neal Stephenson; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio
A thought-provokingly fun roller coaster ride that really kicks off in the later half of the book. I did not want it to come to an end.
Say something about yourself!
Stephenson's worlds are fascinating, filled with details that make them impressively real. The emergence of this society is interesting in itself, even without the big conflict that is the climax of the book. He creates some really interesting metaphysical ideas, which make me wonder if this is the basis of some existing philosophy.
The world he builds his complex, and layered. The characters you come to know, you don't want to leave. At the end of the book, you already miss them.
A simply brilliant book, covering a huge range of deep and interesting topics. It was read fantastically, and I cannot it recommend highly enough!
Tell me about hard sci fi books!
Depends on the friend, but most likely, yes.
I love this book, every time I finish it, I miss the characters. I know very few people who have read or listened to it, and I would love to talk to someone about it.
Anathem was my first Neal Stephenson book, it was suggested as a book that is like "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. I disagree, it is not like that (other than it is long and complex).
I would say Seveneves compares well, another epic tale by Stephenson
Pronunciation, music, chants. This book a lot of its own vocabulary. Neal Stephenson narrates dictionary definitions at the beginning of chapters (straight from the man himself). I really enjoy the main narrator, too. I like his voices for Ras and Orolo
It made me laugh, it made me cry. Listening to this book is like sailing down a river of interesting ideas.
If you like sci fi, math, and philosophy - this book offers so much.
Have nothing on Neal Stephenson. An unusually creative take on alternative universes. Tuned to today's science, Stephenson can craft an epic about The Meaning of it All while bringing in archetypal themes of loyalty to truth and the arc of good intentions. Good stuff!
Word of warning: skip the front matter. There is a long history of the world, as well as an explanation of how stuff is pronounced at the front that it was a bad idea for them to put at the front of the audiobook version.
I was all set to give up on this book for about the first 30 minutes. It seemed boring and the reader was very slow. Fortunately, I was at the gym with nothing else to listen to, so I persevered, set playback speed to 1.5x, and ended up loving it.
Another word of warning: this book is not for everyone. It is set in what is essentially a "monastery for scientists" in an alternate universe. It is a fairly good example of "Hard Science Fiction" i.e. all the stuff that happens is mostly feasible within our current understanding of physics. If you think listening to people have conversations about science/philosophy is interesting, this may be the book for you. Otherwise, it probably isn't.
Report Inappropriate Content