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Extended Audio Sample Anathem, by Neal Stephenson Click for printable size audiobook cover
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) 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:
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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 concent’s 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.”

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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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