Anathem – Neal Stephenson (2008)

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

I made a quick trip down to San Francisco, and was able to attend the Long Now‘s ‘release event’ on the 9th for Neal Stephenson’s new tome, entitled Anathem. Neal read a bit from the beginning of the book, and then there was a chat with Neal and Danny Hillis, designer of the 10,000 year clock.

The basic idea of the book is that it’s set in a culture that takes a much different view of time than we do; I’ve only just started the book, and it will take a while to get through, but I’m intrigued by the premise.

If you’ve never read any Stephenson, this probably isn’t a good place to start… his Crytonomicon, while also long, is a great, action-packed and fun read.

Update on Sept-22:  Finished the book this morning.  I won’t give any spoilers, I’ll just say that the book deals with both philosophical and scientific issues from the time of the Greeks to the modern day.  There is some action to the plot, but it does take a while to get started.  As you get toward the end you start to see that the whole book has a consistency of approach that was not so evident as you started.  He uses lots of made up words for this world, but there is a glossary and definitions scattered in the text to make it fairly easy to follow.  I like his definition of ‘bulshytt’.  Overall I liked it quite a lot, but certainly won’t be to many readers’ tastes.

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