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Category Archives: Anathem

Just Finished Reading: Anathem by Neal Stephenson (3)

Once the action in the book gets going, everything moves faster, but concepts and philosophical lines of thought are still being introduced. They make sense and don’t require as much thought because Stephenson laid the foundation so very well in the early sections. Still, I have to wonder if I would have benefited from reading the whole book at the pace I went through those first 120 pages; if I had not let the action distract me from the philosophy. It’s a book that I will read again and that I believe will get better with repeated journeys through it.

 

 
 

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Just Finished Reading: Anathem by Neal Stephenson (2)

Stephenson takes the idea of speculative fiction seriously. He has a bit of an explanation at the beginning and a glossary at the end, but you can choose to forgo reading either of those before reading the body of the book. (I did.) Of course, that means that for the first 120 or so pages, it took me 3 times as long to read a page as normal. I was stopping every 20 pages or so to think about what I’d just read. I needed to sort through the language being used as well as the new concepts being introduced.

 

 
 

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Just Finished Reading: Anathem by Neal Stephenson (1)

I don’t know if I could define speculative fiction if you asked me to. I’ll leave that to the critics. What I can recognize is good fiction, no matter what you call it. Neal Stephenson is one of my favorite authors, so its not surprising that I liked Anathem, but its a very different book than what you would expect from the author of Snow Crash.

Take a first contact story and wrap it in a philosophical discussion and you have the basic idea, though Stephenson is too gifted a story teller for that description to do the novel justice.

 
 

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