Book Review: Anathem – Neal Stephenson

Anathem Neal Stephenson

Anathem Neal Stephenson

Anathem was a complete surprise to me. I had deliberately avoided reading
anything about the book before I bought it, willing to trust the author to come
up with another excellent novel comparable to Snow Crash, The Diamond Age or
Cryptonomicon.

After reading the first 50 or 60 pages, I was wondering
if I’d wasted my money. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this.
The many invented words peppered throughout the text didn’t help either – you
can immediately decipher many of them from context they’re used in, but it is
annoying to do it as often as Anathem requires.

However, I kept going,
and by the time I’d gotten through the first 100 pages or so I found myself
quite enjoying it. After another couple of hundred pages I was reluctant to put
it down, and eventually ended up reading the last third of the book in a single
session.

What I would say is that once you become familiar with the
dialect used by the characters and get past the relatively slow opening
chapters, Anathem becomes a far more engaging and interesting book. Sci-fi
action sequences are interspersed with frequent philosophical or metaphysical
discussions between various characters, which may of course not be to the liking
of every reader, but I found it both interesting and entertaining.

Now
that I’ve finished the book I am planning to wait a few weeks and then read it
again, as I suspect that reading the opening chapters will be a far better
experience the second time around.

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About peterschow

"the Schow must go on"
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