Saturday, December 27, 2008

Best Books of 2008: Anathem

It's that time of year again, and your friendly neighborhood librarians are eager to tell you about the best books of 2008. Here is Andrea with a review of her favorite book of the year.

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

What I love about science fiction (vs. fantasy) is that it's interesting to take an aspect of society and blow it out of proportion. The premise here is what would be the implications to society if logic/math was treated as the official state religion. Many of the main characters are cloistered math monks whose religion orders them to be sequestered in different levels of years – 10, 100, 1000! Due to circumstances in the story, these women and men must interact with each other and the secular story to save the world. (Are there any other stakes worth 930 pages?) It is an adventure, a mystery, examination of culture clashes, and even a little love story thrown in. The beginning may seem a little slow as it sets up both the secular and the monks’ environs but it is well worth it.

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