I had a lot of trepidation about reading this book, the reviews and comments from fellow sf readers (hello. In this case, I did think it was reasonable to start fresh and let the work find its own style as I went along. Anthem has energetic combat but it saves too much of what precious little content it has for the endgame, making playing through its mismatched story a tediously repetitive grind. What tipped me over into the decision to have it set in a different world was that there is a lot of intellectual history in the book — the history of ideas. ANATHEM does not quite approach that level, but it does reach pretty high. The world he creates is an extremely interesting place to be during the telling of this tale. | Cheers for expanding my vocabulary. You can earn coins from almost any activity, and even passively get some from having friends who are also playing. JM:  Would you talk a bit about the element of time in the book? Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. NS:  Yes. Highly recommended. NS: No. If nothing else, you have to giggle over how this novel’s namesake, who held vicious white supremacist opinions, must be... by NS:  Thanks. This page works best with JavaScript. — James Mustich. The other one is called Cappella Romana, a Portland, Oregon-based group that does mostly Byzantine chant. One of the most challenging books I've read, and one that I got a lot of satisfaction out finishing. But yes, I think that the perceived split is not helpful. Anthem is a shared-world action-RPG, where players can delve into a vast world teeming with amazing technology and forgotten treasures. HISTORICAL FICTION I loved it, but it should be noted Stephenson is one of my favorite authors. I was in Borderlands, a fine science fiction-fantasy-horror bookstore in San Francisco last week, signing books. Editing, strangely enough, is quicker and easier with a pen. Now, in the Baroque Cycle there probably are those kinds of intrusions here and there, but in general, if I needed to impart some background information, I’d try to find some way of doing it through the eyes of characters — what we call “point-of-view” characters. As soon as I made that decision, that stripped me of the usual vocabulary that we have. Just at the point when movies came along, it turned into a fine art. JM: Anathem provides a different kind of reading experience than the earlier books, I think. You’ve got to have a plan for how you’re going to get them all back down and neatly stacked without shattering them. Stephenson (The System of the World, 2004, etc. | that makes the world fully realized and engaging. Reviewed in the United States on June 14, 2017. But this summer I read nearly 4,000 pages of your work, and I honestly haven’t had so much fun reading in many years. It starts off a little slow, Reviewed in the United States on April 6, 2015. GENERAL SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY Too much of the book is dominated by lengthy dialectical debates, whose conclusions are hardly earth-shattering (if you are reading this review, I suspect you already know how to divide a rectangular cake into eight equal servings) and which do little to promote a reader’s engagement with the characters of ­“Anathem,” any more than one cares about the interior lives of Pausanias or Eryximachus while reading “The Symposium.” What’s worse, the book’s fixation on dialogue leads Erasmas (and Stephenson) to simply tell us what is happening or has happened in pivotal scenes, instead of allowing us to see the events for ourselves through descriptive action. Chief among them is the tremendous amount of work required to set up a cultural matrix: a language, a history, an iconography, etc. JM: Speaking of oboe concertos, let’s close with a musical coda. During that boring stretch, Anthem’s RPG mechanics are a bit of a disaster. Magazine Subscribers (How to Find Your Reader Number). Cryptonomicon was the last thing I wrote with a word processor. NS:  I’ll buy that. In this new 900-page doorstop, Stephenson tries to solve this problem with approximately 200 pages of exposition, setting up the mindset of a post-apocalyptic monastery where you have religious scholarship without the religion (mostly). They don’t even have musical instruments. So as a formal constraint, I think it had desirable effects. Surely there is a slankier way of telling us that we are reading about another zoof than to make up every other googly. Unless they lived in big cities with music halls nearby, reading was the only entertainment they were ever going to get. ‧ So I knew that there was going to be a lot of discussion of those matters among the different characters, and they were going to be kind of learned discussions since they are learned people. For the Baroque Cycle I had some period baroque music, and some world music, you might call it, from the Arabic tradition — whatever worked, whatever fit in with what I was writing at the time. In a sense, if there aren’t any made-up words, then you have to ask yourself why bother to have the tale set in a different world. Retrieve credentials. I seek out references to mathematics in sci-fi, but this time I was immersed in a tale whose heroes and heroines were the experts on directed acyclic graphs, the Pythagorean Theorem, a pictorial proof of which actually appears in the book, symmetry groups and all things mathematical.

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