Murukesh Mohanan

Anathem

  1. Literature

There’s something about 3: They say bad/good things come in threes. Some things in my life have been in threes: My favourite science fiction authors: Asimov, Clarke and Crichton (an ACC instead of an ABC). The books that shaped my views on society: The Lord of the Flies1984, Brave New World. My views on cosmogony so far have been largely influenced by Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama series and Orson Scott Card’s Ender Quartet. Now, I have a third to add to that: Neal Stephenson’s Anathem.

Just under a third of the way in, I had no idea where the story was headed, but I knew, I could feel it, that I was on to something special: Anathem is book not easily forgotten. Two-thirds of the way in, the story has taken shape, and I know for sure that this is as special as The Garden of Rama or Xenocide. I should have known, coming from the author of In the Beginning was the Command Line. One of the blurbs on the back-cover said: “[It] begins so quietly… and winds up travelling so far.” Perhaps the thing that I like most about this book is that it does exactly that: starts along slowly, inviting you to step and become one with its world, and then before you know it, you are in that world, travelling along with Erasmus.

I had been reading The Bourne Supremacy before this, and I had been thinking how good that book is: as good as Matt Damon was as Jason Bourne, he simply couldn’t have been Jason Bourne in the novels. Bourne, or Webb, is simply of a higher level. And now Anathem comes along like a whirlwind and wipes out Bourne from my mind. When I am done reading this, I’ll have to read both of them all over again. And read Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide and Children of the Mind. And Rendezvous with Rama, Rama II, The Garden of Rama and Rama Revealed. My grades are going to be planed.