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comment by user-inactivated
user-inactivated  ·  1863 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: January 11th: What are you reading this week?

I don't want to say you missed the point, because that sounds rude. I do think Anathem is directed very, very specifically at people who already have a given nonfiction body of reading in their past. As an ... action novel, or an adventure story, or even as an entry point into modern philosophy, it misses the mark.

In the end, it's rather like Cryptonomicon, though. Smart people put into tricky situations and forced to solve them or die. My favorite genre.

EDIT: good that you finished it. It lends your criticism validity, at the very least.

Kaius  ·  1862 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oh no I even said it myself that I probably did miss the point so you're not being rude :) I knew coming in that it wasn't going to be a straight action/adventure story and I wasn't looking for one. I have read some philosophy but it sounds like perhaps not the right books...

Can you tell me what you took from it?

user-inactivated  ·  1861 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's the only book I've ever read with aliens -- for lack of a better word -- that adequately escaped the improbability of aliens as a plot device. Add to that the brilliant use of my favorite technique, a book set in the future gradually filling in the holes in an alternate past, and the neat explanation for the compartmentalization of pure science and engineering, which is something I could see happening in our world someday. Neal Stephenson is the best author we've got right now.