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Anathem: A Novel Audiobook, by Neal Stephenson Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
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
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (22,253 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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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 of Anathem also features a cameo by the author Neal Stephenson and original music inspired by the story. Composer David Stutz says of the compositional 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."

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Quotes & Awards

  • Given its complexity of its language, Anathem poses a real challenge to audiobook producers. Fortunately, the narrators are up to the task. William Dufris performs the bulk of the novel, and he shifts easily from the erudite jargon of the book's dialogues to its memorable emotional climaxes.... Dufris brings every character to life as if they were in a speely, the Arbre equivalent of film. SFFAudio.com

  • “This audiobook goes the extra mile, giving listeners something the printed page-turner can not. Fans of the cult author will enjoy his vocal cameo appearances…[and] the music between chapters that was composed specifically for this production… [William Dufris's] intelligent rendering of the cast of characters is a delight for the ears. Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

  • Dufris is stalwart in his engagement with the characters, the plot, and the development of the cosmology. He brings out the characters' personalities and creates a sense of wonder as the complexities unfold. AudioFile
  • 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
  • Finalist for the 2009 Arthur C. Clarke Award
  • Nominated for the 2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award
  • A 2008 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • Finalist for the 2009 Hugo Award for Best Novel
  • Winner of Publishers Weekly Listen Up Awards: Best in Category, 2008

Listener Reviews

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  • 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 | 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 | 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 | 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 | 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 | 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 | 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 | 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 | 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 | 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. "

About the Author

Neal Stephenson is known for his speculative fiction works, variously categorized as science fiction, historical fiction, maximalism, and cyberpunk. He is the author of several New York Times bestselling novels.

About the Narrators

Tavia Gilbert is an acclaimed narrator of more than four hundred full-cast and multivoice audiobooks for virtually every publisher in the industry. Named the 2018 Voice of Choice by Booklist magazine, she is also winner of the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. She has earned numerous Earphones Awards, a Voice Arts Award, and a Listen-Up Award. Audible.com has named her a Genre-Defining Narrator: Master of Memoir. In addition to voice acting, she is an accomplished producer, singer, and theater actor. She is also a producer, singer, photographer, and a writer, as well as the cofounder of a feminist publishing company, Animal Mineral.

Oliver Wyman is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator. He has won five Audie Awards from the Audio Publisher’s Association, fourteen Earphone Awards, and two Listen Up Awards from Publisher’s Weekly. He was named a 2008 Best Voice in Nonfiction & Culture by AudioFile magazine. He has appeared on stage as well as in film and television, and he is a veteran voice actor who can be heard in numerous cartoons and video games. He is one of the founders of New York City’s Collective Unconscious theater, and his performances include the award-winning “reality play” Charlie Victor Romeo and A. R. McElhinney’s cult classic film A Chronicle of Corpses.

Tavia Gilbert is an acclaimed narrator of more than four hundred full-cast and multivoice audiobooks for virtually every publisher in the industry. Named the 2018 Voice of Choice by Booklist magazine, she is also winner of the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. She has earned numerous Earphones Awards, a Voice Arts Award, and a Listen-Up Award. Audible.com has named her a Genre-Defining Narrator: Master of Memoir. In addition to voice acting, she is an accomplished producer, singer, and theater actor. She is also a producer, singer, photographer, and a writer, as well as the cofounder of a feminist publishing company, Animal Mineral.