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Review: Anathem by Neal Stephenson

AnathemAnathem by Neal Stephenson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I didn’t enjoy this book due to its slow pace and lack of novelty and profundity. The story contains almost no humor or other compelling qualities; I’d describe it as fairly lifeless. I found I simply didn’t care about Erasmas or the other characters. I can’t believe this book ranked #85 on NPR’s Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books. Its only redeeming value is that it provides some thought-provoking insights into the interaction of science, technology, and religion in society.

I liked Cryptonomicon (see my review), so I was especially disappointed by this one. Stephenson is known for his weak endings, but the finale was even more anticlimactic than I was anticipating. The story is set in an alien world, so Stephenson invented a new vocabulary for it. Although this added realism to the story, it was distracting to have to keep referencing words in the glossary, especially near the beginning of the book. There are a few action scenes that are page turners. There are some surprises and twists, and hints at deeper mysteries, but they never materialize.

I’ve heard Snow Crash is pretty good, so I’ll give that one a chance.

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