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View Diary: Book Club: Anathem by Neal Stephenson (86 comments)

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  •  Point #1 (3+ / 0-)

    I put myself in the group that really enjoyed Anathem.  It was a really remarkable work, and pleased my inner math geek to no end.

    As far as the civilizations thing goes, the primary world the Frau inhabits is not our own -- however we do show up if you're paying attention towards the end.  (Don't want to give too much away for those who have not read it in its entirety.)

    Read a few other comments that suggested some of his math stuff was too expository, detracted too much.  There may be some truth to that from a certain point of view, though I think some of it was a deliberate attempt to make some of the concepts more accessible.  Not everyone has had years of calculus, advanced set theory, statistics, coordinate transformations, and so forth.  Heck, I was appreciative of some of his illustrations merely because it's been a good 20 years since I dealt with the deep intricacies of some of it.  So... since much of his plot DOES hinge on understanding parts of that math, and even more revolves on understanding how the teaching methods work, he had to do that.  

    The truly geekiest stuff he did at least leave in an appendix ;-).

    It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. ~~ Douglas Adams

    by Remillard on Sat Dec 18, 2010 at 10:59:50 PM PST

    •  Math stuff (1+ / 0-)
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      It's interesting to hear both you and a few other commentators mention that understanding math was important.  I'm a little child in math, and somehow didn't even notice there was much of importance in the book.  On the other hand, I'd argue that a knowledge of philosophy was far more significant, given the major reveal towards the end of the book where, though a purely philosophical discussion, the author reveals the self-referential gimmick at the core of the book.

      I say self-referential gimmick in the best possible light.  I laughed out loud once I realized what he was doing, and thought it a hilarious idea, wonderfully executed.  In how many other books is the key secret found within Platonic Idealism?

      `Under my command, every mission is a suicide mission.`

      by Zwackus on Sun Dec 19, 2010 at 02:25:59 AM PST

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