Anathem, the last book of Neal Stephenson (september 2008) is a pure marvel. Neal Stephenson already wrote many best sellers. Snow Craft, French title “le samourai virtuel” described some foundations of cyber worlds. The noun metaverse has been created by Neal. The Cryptonomicon kept me in thrill all along the 900 pages. These are great geek books.
In “Anathem”, Neal sends us in another universe. On the planet Arbre, the avouts, some kind of scientists/monks, live isolated from the secular world in convents. The secular world fears the potential of science. The two worlds are carefully isolated. A young avout, Fraa Erasmas is ready to spend his full life of mathematician in his cloister. An event will change his destiny and the future of his planet.
I could not stop reading the 900 pages of the book. I wanted to know the end of this complex philosophical adventure: A mix of science fiction, philosophical treaty and initiatory road movie. As for Cryptonomicon, you’re enchanted. The last book that similarly enthralled me was Dan Simmons’ “Ilium” (and of course “Olympos”).
Bragelonne has purchased the rights for France. Nevertheless, I recommend French readers not to wait the French translation. They will loose many subtleties that only French speaker may find. Many neologisms inherit from French. Neal Stephenson either leaves in France or speaks French.
If you liked Asimov’s foundations, then you have to read Anathem. In any case, you should read it.