Anathem, Parts 5-13.
Aaaaand Neal Stephenson does it again. That’s right, another strangely disconnected plot that reads like “Eh, what should I do now? I have to end it soon…” Since it is so disconnected, I will tell you: the main character gets married. Come on. This book is not in the least about love, and the end seems like a rushed squirt of romance. I don’t get it. But the things leading up to it were great. Suspenseful and confusing, and (mostly) completely unexpected.
The characters were just the same, except for the deaths scattered here and there. None of the deaths were unexpected, but they were pulled off pretty well. The part about “different timepaths”, however, seemed like a lame trick to get someone killed. However, it did create (in my mind) one of the best dialogs in a book. It went something like this: Erasmas- “So I’m on a timepath where all my friends are dead and my friends are on a timepath where I’m dead? How do I leave this one?” Jad (Mr. Mysterious Old Guy)- “There is no leaving, there is only going to a new timepath.” Erasmas- “Gee, really helpful.” Erasmas’ narration fits the mood perfectly, as it’s academic and funny only where it’s appropiate.
The plot is, well, unexpected. There isn’t much I can say about it because it will spoil the plot, but you’ll be annoyed that you didn’t think about it when you read the intro. Spoilers ahead!
Okay, so our heroes are summoned from the math by someone mysterious and go on a trek to the other math, where they are needed. This is odd and slightly suspenseful, as we don’t know what the problem is. And it’s…ALIENS! They aren’t the nicest ones…they decide to blow up the math Mr. Father figure is in. Why? Because we all need DRAMA. And why are the evil aliens evil? …because they are. The people characters and the alien who disguises himself as a human are good. But the evil aliens are just evil. No reasons, no traces of goodness.
It is odd when Erasmas gets attacked. I get it, it’s like religious fights, but I don’t really think it was necessary. They could just point out the existance of people who hate maths. But it brought in the Ringing Vale characters, and I think it was a good way to bring them in. I could totally imagine a movie with that scene in it.
The spaceship part did a good job of bringing in the mood of a spaceship: rushed, scary, a place where one wrong step could kill you. But really, switching to another timepath destroys all traces of the one before it? That is a lame excuse for killing someone off. And really, I don’t know why so many people had to get killed.
Anathem had some problems. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a good book. It must have been good for me to read the whole thing, right?