I first noticed that Anathem was up on Amazon.com a while ago (recommended because they do actually make some good recommendations). For some reason, I decided to look for a plot summary today since one hasn’t been posted on Amazon yet. I first found this post on Nerd World with the standard back cover narrative I found quoted on several sites (and will now quote here):
Since childhood, Raz has lived behind the walls of a 3,400-year-old monastery, a sanctuary for scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians—sealed off from the illiterate, irrational, unpredictable “saecular” world that is plagued by recurring cycles of booms and busts, world wars and climate change. Until the day that a higher power, driven by fear, decides that only these cloistered scholars have the abilities to avert an impending catastrophe. And, one by one, Raz and his cohorts are summoned forth without warning into the Unknown.
Then I came across this post on But enough about you from which I will also quote:
He’s writing a science fiction novel unrelated to Cryptonomicon and the Baroque Cycle. It’s set on another planet and has aliens and so on. It’s really about Platonic mathematics, but he needed the aliens and space opera-ish elements to spice it up a little bit, just like the pirates kept people engaged in the Baroque books.
So, pretty much it sounds AWEsome. After reading the first quote, I was worried because it sounded a little too much like something along the lines of The Baroque Cycle. Not that I don’t like the Baroque Cycle, but being half way through The Confusion, I don’t know if I could handle another 928 page book (according to Amazon) in the same vein. Perhaps Neal couldn’t either.