Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Stephenson book!


While eating my lunch and browsing Amazon, looking for ideas on what books to bring to Jamaica for beach reading, I had the bright idea to search for my favorite author (Neal Stephenson) and look at the "also bought" section... and lo and behold! A new book called Anathem was at the top of the list and apparently is due out in September. According to the Wiki:
Unconfirmed reports by Lev Grossman writing for TIME speculate that the novel is set in a post apocalyptic future, wherein the protagonist, Raz, is among a cohort of secluded scientists, philosophers and mathematicians who are called upon to save the world from impending catastrophe.[2] The novel's description on Amazon.co.uk concurs, explaining further that Raz has spent his entire life inside a 3,400-year-old sanctuary. The rest of society — the “saecular world” — is described as an “endless landscape of casinos and megastores that is plagued by recurring cycles of booms and busts, dark ages and renaissances, world wars and climate change.” Resident scholars, including Raz, are unexpectedly summoned, one at a time, by a frightened “higher power” to leave their monastic stronghold in the hope that they may prevent an approaching catastrophe. [3]

Uhm O.K. Not sure what all that is about, but that really doesn't matter for me since I'm going buy it regardless... though it looks like he might be doing a post-apocalyptic setting, which is a bit of a departure from the historical fiction he has been writing lately. Should be interesting. As an aside, one awesome aspect of this development is that this means he should be traveling around doing book signings... which means I should be able to get that 1st edition, 1st printing of Cryptonomicon that Anna got me for my birthday signed by him finally.

UPDATE: From the blog of someone who works at Google Kirkland, where apparently Stephenson did a Q&A...
Q: What are you working on right now and when will it come out?

A: 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. He's nearly finished writing it, and if he doesn't finish by the end of the calendar year he'll have to give some money back. If everything proceeds according to schedule, it should be available in stores in about a year.


Another planet? Aliens? I don't know how reliable this source is, but that would mark a significant departure for him. Very cool.