Sunday, March 22, 2009

Once and for all

I'm a fan of Neal Stephenson. I have been a fan of his since I read Snow Crash, long long ago, and have continued my enjoyment through Cryptonomicon, Diamond Age, and the Baroque Cycle. I got Anathem, his latest book for Christmas, and have finally just finished it. Once I started reading, and got past the first hundred and fifty pages or so, it was an undeniably good read. The start is slow - even for a Stephenson book - and getting past that took some time. But once I got into the book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now, if you have read it (which I doubt that many of my readers have, and this 'review' is not really serving as a recommendation for it), you may wonder how I could enjoy it, as there is, well, a LOT of the philosophy and ideas in it that I don't agree with. But it's presented in a way that makes me think about what I know, and appreciate Who I know, even though the presentation is not really intended to do that. Plus, the story is an amazing Stephenson mix of cloister and computer. I can't say much more than without giving the whole thing away, but suffice to say, if you enjoyed Cryptonomicon, I'd get Anathem and just make the commitment to read through atleast half the book. This is definitely fiction, definitely is cleaner than Stephenson's previous books, and definitely not accessible fiction. If you can get around the invented world, the made up words, and the slow beginning, this definitely a book to read with an aware filter, but one that will reward the eager reader.

Oh, and there really is an ending in this book that's not a denouement.

I know this is far different from my usual post, but I've wanted to read this book since I first heard about it, and I was really excited to read it.


Jonathan said...

I loved Cryptonomicon so maybe I'll have to give it a go. When I started last time and there were so many made up words in just the first page I wasn't sure if it was worth it. But it does sound interesting.

Russ said...

Believe me, I am sure that you will disagree with a ton of the philosophy in the book, but the core story is really enticing, and I'd say it's worth reading for that.