On Anathem

Posted by Jack on 2017-10-27 at 19:00
Tagged: books , scifi
AuthorNeal Stephenson

At the half way point I was completely in love with the setting of this book, I couldn't put it down, and then towards the end it becomes truly mind blowing. The only reason that this isn't a 5/5 for me is that I feel like the ending was satisfying, but it left a lot of things implied without delving into the consequences enough after the fact.

Still a great work of fiction and absolutely recommended.

To elaborate, we spend all of this time building a great world and dealing with the reactions to a sudden alien visitation, and like 90% of the way through we find Rhetors and Incanters are real, which is incredible and yet believable in this completely non-magical world... then after the Convox is evacuated and everyone splits into cells, and the space mission, and Fraa Jad obviously altering the worldtrack into one of the rare ones in which Arbre and the Geometers make peace... but after all of this takes place, there's virtually no discussion of the consequences of these people existing.

Erasmas et. al. all know that their perception of what happened doesn't line up with what everyone else perceived, and perhaps we're supposed to assume that their brains slowly altered to come into agreement with everyone else but I don't think that was directly stated and since the book itself is implied to exist in world (Erasmas having "started this record" when he was being punished I believe) that might not even be internally consistent.

I just would have preferred for this information to be gone over a bit more in dialog with the other avout, because the existence of these hyper powerful avout is pretty world breaking.

Instead, the Everything Killer situation kind of became a dead end and we get this very sweet, movie-like (which Stephenson even lampshades in the final sentence) ending to the book.