Posts Tagged ‘anathem’
As I previously said I bought Anathem at the same time I bought Cryptonomicon, it was quite funny when I came to the counter the shop employee was an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a while. We wanted to chat, but as it was the week before Christmas it was far too busy. A week later I was walking over a secondhand book market I saw a different friend selling books. It seems many of my friends are in the book trade.
Reading Anathem was a profound experience, the book is similar in form to many popular novels – Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings – following a young man, Erasmas, who is a novice to the real world, and is forced by an unseen power and/or destiny to leave his home and make a profound difference to the world. Like the stories mentioned it contains some elements of fantasy magic, although they are explained away scientifically in some cases. The protagonist, Erasmas, is part of a science based monastic order, who follow the Discipline of the mathic world.
As with many stories of this type it appeals to me and to others, although it is clear that they are formulaic in essence. The thing that most made an impact on me was a semi-religious order based on mathematics and philosophy, it’s the way I was sucked into the book and was (re-)introduced to many of the theories in mathematics, physics and philosophy of which I had not thought in a long time. It is much like reading Juvenal or Shakespeare and discovering the source and context of many well-known sayings. Only in reverse.
I believe that learning could be like this, in story form creating a source and context for much of the knowledge presented. I can certainly say I understand many of the concepts discussed better that I did when I was first introduced to them, although I might be prone to say Hemn spaces rather than configuration spaces.
A fantastic book, and a must read!