Review of “Anathem”

“Anathem” is another science fiction book by Neal Stephenson. I would say that it is hard science fiction, since it is about parallel universes (multiverse), quantum mechanics, mathematics and philosophy. The author tries to teach his readers a bit along the way with varying success.

The story is about avouts in a parallel Earth. These are scientific monks, who are not allowed by law to use any technology, because of the perceived danger thereof. Three pogroms in the past have made avouts very careful when dealing with the outside world.

Once every decade, some parts of the Concent where avouts live are opened to the public. This event coincides with mysterious changes, that influence the whole planet. And without spoiling it for you, I can tell you that a lot of violence and adventure follows.

The Good

If you are even remotely interested in mathematics, science or philosophy, this is the book for you. Neal Stephenson refers to different scientific and philosophical concepts throughout the novel. He also makes some science jokes, but they are hard to get. At least they were for me. His take on parallel worlds is pretty interesting. According to him, for instance, it might be impossible to eat the food on a parallel Earth due to differences in biochemistry.

The Bad

If you are not interested in science and technology, then this is absolutely the wrong book for you.

The Ugly

This is another book that will take a lot of your time depending on how fast you read. Its portability is also not optimal.


If you are not into the topics covered by Anathem, you are probably on the wrong blog anyway, so yes I would recommend this book to you.

By the author of NumPy Beginner's Guide, NumPy Cookbook and Instant Pygame. If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
This entry was posted in books. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Review of “Anathem”

  1. Pingback: An Aut to Fraa Stephenson, author of Anathem | Of Glass & Paper

Comments are closed.