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  • Published: New York, NY : William Morrow, 2008.
  • Year Published: 2008
  • Edition: 1st ed.
  • Description: 935 p.
  • Language: English
  • Format: Book

ISBN/Standard Number

  • 9780061474095 (acid-free paper)
  • 0061474096 (acid-free paper)
  • 9780061694943 (pbk. : acid-free paper)
  • 0061694940 (pbk. : acid-free paper)


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by Stephenson, Neal.

There are currently 4 available

Where To Find It

Call number: Science Fiction

Available Copies: Downtown 1st Floor, Malletts Adult, Pittsfield Adult

Additional Details

Raz, a mathematician, is among a cohort of secluded scientists and philosophers who are called upon to save the world from impending catastrophe.

Community Reviews


This book is great. The drama of a new contact with an outside race, in a world where scientific knowledge is kept inside "Concents" around the world, makes for a great read. we follow the story of a young "monk" who gets involved in bigger things than he knows. As he learns about the challenges facing his world, the story slowly unfolds. What at first is disconcerting to the reader becomes familiar.

One of my favorite reads in 2010.

Reading Neal Stephenson Makes me Want to Brush Up on Everything

like medieval history, string theory, Plato's Dialogues, semiotics, BUT the book is enjoyable and it held my interest (after the second chapter. It does start out kind of drily and baffling). Stephenson tells a good story with a light hand, even though the wide range of themes and subjects on which the plot hinges do provoke thoughts of weightier matters. I listened to the book on CD, because I was commuting a long way for a while, and I think the reader managed to keep the drama going, but probably even as a silent read, it will keep people turning pages. I was well sucked-in after the first few chapters.
It starts with some dry facts abut the history of the protagonist's world and it continues bringing up, without explanation, facts and events about which we have no previous knowledge. These mysteries are resolved as the story continues. I suspect the author chose this method of introducing readers to a new cosmos, because if he had laid it all out schematically at the start, it would be quite boring. His is, after all, a pretty ambitious and wide ranging vision. After a few chapters I was beginning to have a basic idea of Stephenson's worldscape, but it was actually quite satisfying even toward the end of the book, when some features of the place that had remained mysterious throughout the story were elucidated in the context of the plot.
I started through the book a second time and found that the chapters that were boring at the first view, became more interesting now that I understood this neighboring cosmos a bit more. Like many good science fiction writers Stephenson does not neglect the human side of his speculative milieu. The values his characters struggle to define and preserve are a big part of what makes the book compelling.

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