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Monday, June 22, 2009

Book Read: Anathem

We just finished Neal Stephenson's Anathem on audiobook last week. We've been fans since Snow Crash, and loved the audio adaptations for both that book and Diamond Age

First, a side note that I'm a bit of fan about audiobooks. It fits easily with the fact that I rarely have time to read for fun anymore and The Girl and I can share the book in tandem. It helps that production of audiobooks has gotten a thousand times better (we can probably thank a certain Jim Dale for that a bit).

Anathem is a fascinating book and a little hard to talk about without getting to far into spoilers. This is partially because one of the interesting things Anathem is a bit of a word game. Stephenson actually opens the book with a bit of a preface about that, but what follows is an interesting set of rules, some ruses and a lot of word play that fits neatly into the book's themes and manages to make some interesting twists and points on the genre in large.

Compared to his other books, the story starts off slow (OK, slower than Snow Crash and Diamond Age at least) with a lot of explanation - this is not just for exposition but also sets up foundation blocks for questions and mysteries that crop up in the second and third acts of the book. There's some work to stick with, but there is a great deal of payoff in the end.

Highly recommended.

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