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Extended Audio Sample Anathem: A Novel Audiobook, by Neal Stephenson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.97 out of 53.97 out of 53.97 out of 53.97 out of 53.97 out of 5 3.97 (29 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Neal Stephenson Narrator: Neal Stephenson, William Dufris, Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2008 ISBN: 9781427205919
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Fraa Erasmas is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside "saecular" world by ancient stone and complex rituals. Over the centuries, cities and governments have risen and fallen beyond the concent¹s walls, yet the avout have always managed to adapt in the wake of catastrophe. Now, in celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fraas and suurs prepare to venture beyond the concent. During his first Apert as a fraa, Erasmas eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected." But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand on the brink of cataclysmic change. Powerful unforeseen forces jeopardize the peaceful stability of mathic life and the established ennui of the Extramuros. Erasmas and his colleagues, teachers, and friends are summoned forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster. Erasmas finds himself a major player in a drama that will determine the future of his world‹as he sets out on an extraordinary odyssey that will carry him to the most dangerous, inhospitable corners of the planet . . . and beyond. A multi-cast recording, this program also features a cameo by the author and original music inspired by the story. Composer David Stutz says of the writing process, "I was excited by the creative possibilities opened up by Neal's imagination. These ideas, realized, are the music that you hear on this audiobook." Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Stephenson’s expansive storytelling echoes Walter Miller’s classic A Canticle for Leibowitz, the space operas of Larry Niven and the cultural meditations of Douglas Hofstadter—a heady mix of antecedents that makes for long stretches of dazzling entertainment.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A sprawling disquisition…[A] logophilic treat for those who like their alternate worlds big, parodic, and ironic.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Reading Anathem is a humbling experience.”

    Washington Post

  • “The world Stephenson builds is richly visual, its complicated social politics are convincingly detailed, and its cool and conflicted heroes struggle with thrilling intellectual puzzles while they are tested in epic physical adventures.”

    Slate

  • “A tour-de-force of world building and high-concept speculation, wrapped around a page-turning plot.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “A daring feat of speculative fiction…Anathem offers the reader a luscious arrangement of words, jokes, and speculations.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Anyone who has read Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle will be familiar with his ingenuity when it comes to mixing science, sociology, and satire with swashbuckling adventure, and Anathem duly marries extensive dialogues on quantum mechanics and the nature of consciousness to literal cliffhangers, high-tech warfare, and general derring-do.”

    Examiner (Ireland)

  • Anathem is a brilliant, playful tour of the terrain where logic, mathematics, philosophy, and quantum physics intersect, a novel of ideas par excellence, melding wordplay and mathematical theory with a gripping, human adventure.”

    London Times

  • “It’s almost impossible to not be impressed by Anathem; there’s simply too much erudition, wit, craft, and risk-taking.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “He mashes up genres with the flair of Thomas Pynchon and the intellect of William Gibson.”

    Winnipeg Free Press

  • “What ever happened to the great novel of ideas? It has morphed into science fiction, and Stephenson is its foremost practitioner.”

    Time

  • “One of Stephenson’s best novels…A captivating blend of culture clash, deductive reasoning, and pure action.”

    Columbus Dispatch

  • “The Seattle writer is kind of a cross between William Gibson and Richard Powers, hard-wired to tell stories, explore technology, and riff on anything that catches his fancy.”

    Oregonian

  • “A magnificent achievement.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Selected for the September 2008 Indie Next List
  • A 2008 Slate Magazine Best Book
  • Winner of the 2009 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
  • A 2009 Arthur C. Clarke Award Finalist
  • A 2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee
  • A 2008 Time Magazine Top 10 Book fro Fiction
  • A 2009 Hugo Award Nominee

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin | 2/9/2014

    " It seems this book is going nowhere even though the characters are driving you towards a simplified understand of their intellectually expanded world-view. As the book progresses you are drawn in to an epic journey that challenges you to think about how love and fear drive our future. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 2/7/2014

    " A really interesting book. Many parts, involving both science and philosophy, were just beyond me, but the story was still engrossing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rhett | 1/22/2014

    " Neal Stephenson does an amazing job of sinking you into a new world not entirely unlike our own. Heads directly to the interaction between metaphysics and quantum mechanics. Offers some interesting, though possibly fallacious, insights into the connections between the mind, quantum mechanics, the Tao, the multiverse and several other loosely related but fairly new scientific theories. I'm sure someone has already done research on much of it but I would be highly interested in hearing more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 1/17/2014

    " Anathem is a very engaging read and although sometimes it gets a little bogged down in the dry academic debates of an alternate universe, Stephenson always pushes the plot to wilder and wilder places. So much math, but highly accessible. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Graham Maxwell | 12/31/2013

    " Stunning. Neal Stephenson burns more ideas (and exhibits more intelligence) per page than your average Sci-Fi writer - and Anathem is a huge book. My first experience of his work, this set me hunting for more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna | 12/30/2013

    " I really enjoyed it, even though some of the theoretical discussions were over my little head. I found the characters highly, highly entertaining. For a 900+ page book, it was surprisingly difficult to put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dylan McNamee | 12/30/2013

    " I enjoyed this. At first I thought "oh no, another one that I won't be able to get over the hump with, like the Baroque Cycle", but I beared with it for about 100 pages, and slowly got drawn in, and finally enjoyed myself. #include , but still worth my fiction time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alain van Hoof | 12/25/2013

    " A Sci-Fi book about very interesting society on a earth like planet. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawn Betts-Green | 12/19/2013

    " 3 and a half stars, really...The plot and background stories were awesome, but I felt like he wandered off into randomly and unnecessarily obtuse philosophizing on occasion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Edelhart Kempeneers | 12/18/2013

    " Ik geraakte er moeilijk in, maar uiteindelijk wel een goed boek. Wel nog altijd niet zeker waar het nu precies over ging... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katiehess | 12/10/2013

    " One of science fiction's best! Though not a fast read, the challenges of discovering Stephenson's world, language and characters is certainly rewarding :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lou Montulli | 8/6/2013

    " Neal creates an incredible new world that is foreign and familiar at the same time. He did a great job building a new universe and then telling a compelling human story within it. This is a hard science fiction book but you don't need to understand the physics to enjoy it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Markus | 7/26/2013

    " Good, enjoyed it, but its not Stephenson's best imho. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jackson | 3/21/2013

    " I ended up liking this book but it was so thick (and not just physically thick either) I had to force myself to keep reading it. Once you get into it it becomes a fairly interesting tale of a monastery in a dystopian future. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jon Sayer | 12/7/2012

    " Of all the Stephenson I've read up to this point, this was hands down my favorite. It toned down the snarky narration of other Stephenson novels, while maintaining the incredible detail I've come to expect from him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Schuyler Wessels | 11/13/2012

    " It takes some serious dedication to get through this book. In the end it was worth it though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kaur | 3/15/2012

    " Interesting world and ideas make this a must read. However in the end the story kept dragging itself along a little bit too slowly and confusingly. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Garren | 11/9/2011

    " Just wasn't enjoying the writing style. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Randy | 6/5/2011

    " Loved the topic, the ideas, the story, the ending.... felt like getting there was a crawl through mud for the first 300pgs and a slow trudge for the remaining 600. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miki | 5/18/2011

    " I didn't think I would enjoy this book nearly as much as I did. The philosophical discussions are interesting and the story takes lots of unexpected turns. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jon | 5/15/2011

    " A great book if you can stick it out, but takes a few hundred pages to really get going. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kaur | 5/15/2011

    " Interesting world and ideas make this a must read. However in the end the story kept dragging itself along a little bit too slowly and confusingly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marcus | 5/10/2011

    " This book is packed with philosophy, science, and good characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 5/9/2011

    " Best sci-fi book ive ever read, period. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gordon | 4/27/2011

    " For my inner Platonist that refuses to die "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 4/25/2011

    " favorite quote: "...the evolution of our minds from bits of inanimate matter was more beautiful and more extraordinary than any of the miracles cataloged down through the ages by the religions of our world." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Séan Llew | 4/13/2011

    " dreamy heights. a progression of The Glass Bead Game "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Frank | 4/12/2011

    " It is classic Neal Stephenson. Long and meandering plots loosely tied together. Almost like two or three stories got spliced together. It was great. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh | 4/12/2011

    " I wish half stars were possible-this is definitely 4.5. "

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About the Author
Author Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson is known for his speculative fiction works, variously categorized as science fiction, historical fiction, maximalism, and cyberpunk. He is the author of the bestselling Reamde, Anathem, the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle as well as Snow Crash, which was named one of Time magazine’s Top 100 All-Time Best English-language Novels. He also writes nonfiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired magazine and has worked part time as an adviser for Blue Origin, a company developing a manned suborbital launch system.

About the Narrators

William Dufris attended the University of Southern Maine in Portland-Gorham before pursuing a career in voice work in London and then the United States. He has won more than twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, was voted one of the Best Voices at the End of the Century by AudioFile magazine, and won the prestigious Audie Award in 2012 for best nonfiction narration. He lives with his family in Maine.

Oliver Wyman is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator. His first full-length audiobook, It’s Not about the Bike, won an Audie Award. Quickly renowned for his versatility, he went on to win several Audie Awards and seventeen AudioFile Earphones Awards in genres ranging from drama and humor to nonfiction and children’s stories.

Tavia Gilbert, an acclaimed narrator of more than four hundred full-cast and multivoice audiobooks for virtually every publisher in the industry, is an eight-time Audie nominee and the recipient of thirteen Earphones Awards, a Voice Arts Award, and a Listen-Up Award. With frequent inclusion on best of year and annual top ten lists, Tavia is a trusted and increasingly sought-after actress for work across every genre, from children’s and YA, to literary fiction, nonfiction, and genre fiction. Audible recently named her a Genre-Defining Narrator: Master of Memoir, and Library Journal said of this highly acclaimed actress, “as close as you can get to a full cast narration with a solo voice.” Tavia is a producer, singer, photographer, and a writer, as well as the cofounder of a feminist publishing company, Animal Mineral, with fiction and nonfiction focusing on relationships, love, and identity.