Anathem - Neal Stephenson


By Neal Stephenson

  • Release Date: 2009-10-06
  • Genre: Science Fiction
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 371 Ratings)


A #1 New York Times Bestseller, Anathem is perhaps the most brilliant literary invention to date from the incomparable Neal Stephenson, who rocked the world with Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, and The Baroque Cycle. Now he imagines an alternate universe where scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians live in seclusion behind ancient monastery walls until they are called back into the world to deal with a crisis of astronomical proportions.

Anathem won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and the reviews for have been dazzling: “Brilliant” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel), “Daring” (Boston Globe), “Immensely entertaining” (New York Times Book Review), “A tour de force” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), while Time magazine proclaims, “The great novel of ideas…has morphed into science fiction, and Neal Stephenson is its foremost practitioner.”


  • Not my taste

    By iuthi
    Based on the description I thought the book sounded good. My recommendation is to read the sample before buying. It does not get better. Not the style of writing I like.
  • Stephenson delivers brilliance yet again

    By JDTwelve12
    Few writers today can simultaneously entertain, educate, and expand a reader's view of the world quite so well as Neal Stephenson. This work is best suited for those readers seeking a bit more than a pleasant diversion. While fun and engaging, this book also draws the reader's mind to consider metaphysics, causality, and the relationship between human institutions of popular culture, academia, and religion. This comes about incidentally to an delightfully unpredictable adventure -- in much the same way Mr. Stephenson's earlier works carry readers into explorations of economics, cryptography, and nanotechnology. Reading his books is to engage in an epic battle between the instincts to savor and to devour. His stories leave the reader changed for the better, and I have seldom finished one without being immediately tempted to reread it from the beginning.
  • Amazingly thought out and thoughtful

    By hawktail83
    I love this book. It is one of the most interesting books I've ever read. Even though the first 1/3 is tough to get through, it is more than worth it when the book is finished. Everything is tied together and done so well it feels as if Neil Stephenson worked on this book for years. I've read it three times and loved it each time.
  • Not as Good as The Baroque Trilogy

    By Derrick.R.Miller
    An ambitious attempt that falls flat. I can appreciate this book's attempt to capture a sense of life on a planet with an unimaginably long history through the use of language that sounds like it's some distantly evolved version of our own and through the slow revelation of a convulted history, and I can appreciate the attempt to turn string theory and quantum mechanics into the crux of this novel. Unfortunately, these attempts fall flat. It's just not fun spending most of the novel reading entries from a fake dictionary and reading faux-platonic dialogues devoted to theoretical physics. There's just enough plot interspersed between these portions to keep you reading. However, the characters and their relationships feel two-dimensional and wooden. Most of the characters are more caricature than character.
  • WOW

    By EM.MD
    Great book. I can't recommend Anathem enough. The seamless synthesis of science and philosophy, of thought and machinery is the cornerstone of Anathem.
  • Worst thing that ever happened to me.

    By da51d
    This is the greatest book I have ever read. Neal Stephenson created a world so vast and so detailed that I couldn't concentrate on anything else. I failed two my classes and now I'm on academic probation with my school. Thanks Neal.
  • my favorite book of all time

    By Johnny Fever
    I am listening through for the third time. And it's like 36 hours - tells you how much I like this book. It is UNIQUE and DEEP and requires patience and critical thinking. Lovers of debate, logic, math, religious study, history, and philosophy will have a hard time finding an epic novel with all of those blended so beautifully. Masterfully worded, fun to "discover" the invented languages, and well worth the investment of time and thought.
  • Wow blew my mind!!!

    By smrocket
    After 3 weeks of reading, I finally finished this book today. I am not ashamed to admit that this book literally blew my mind away. So deep and philosophically rich, there were many parts that simply went over my head. But the story was all engrossing and beautifully weaved. I laughed and I cried. And I did not want this story to end. This book is not for everyone. An open mind is a necessity. Especially for the religious readers out there. There are other 5 star sci fi books which I am partial to (Cloud Atlas being one) but I went and gave this book 5 stars as well. It is simply that good. Neal Stephenson creates a world(s) that is unlike anything I have ever read before. And I am truly upset that this story is over for me. I am ready to be collected and to be an avout :-)
  • Intellectual, imaginative, and entertaining.

    By {JeffS}
    It's hard to tell where the science ends, and the fiction begins. Believable characters, interesting story, educational, thought-provoking, and entertaining. Best book I've read in years. I highly recommend it, if you like to use your brain.
  • Flatterland for the Many Worlds Interpretation

    By elliottcable
    This book espouses and explains, through a narrative following an interesting and compelling fictional character and world, many of the concepts behind the recently-popular Many Worlds Interpretation (or a variant thereof). In my opinion, it’s as necessary a read for *anybody*, as Flatland and Flatterland.