Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Amaaaaaazing Book

Ok - so it isnt as amazing as some...
but I finished Anathem by Neal Stephenson the other night. This is a book set in some odd alternate reality future planet - and as such has a remarkably complex amount of detail that has to be slogged through to get a feel for the place. Stephenson's style is such that he's ponderous with this material - never making it easy for the reader - and as the entirety of the work is oriented around 'reality' in a philosophical if not real sense - and those discussing the subject are monastics who tend to go off on long extemporaneous dialogues - we're most certainly not looking at Stephanie Meyer material here.

It's NOT an easy read. The main character is in no way a simple cardboard archetype - but instead is a construct by which the author is exploring a very long thought on one of the oldest science fiction concepts of all time - how does that whole 'alternate reality' thing work. Does it start slow? yes... Does it get weird? yes... Does it pay off better than, say, Diamond Age? No Question.

He's become a hell of a thinker - and it probably took my background in philosophy and having spent time analyzing the "how" of things like Zelazny's Amber and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse... but this one is certainly one of the best and most complete and well executed works in the space i've ever read.

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