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Andy Havens

Will I like it?


You're able to reach into my heart and intellect like no other writer with every one of your books and you're by far my favorite author. What is it that you do right? How do you see your process and product as being different from those of other writers? How did you develop and nurture that from the beginning?

Aart van Essen

Dear Neal,

Did you write Anathem through the same way you seem to have done with the Baroque Cycle - ie. roleplaying events and conversations with friends and then write them out?
(It really works well, by the way, except in King of the Vagabonds, where this gimmick shows its gears a bit too much to the readers eye).


Will Anathem be available as an e-book? Will it have reprehensible DRM on it?

Noah Veil

Do people in wheelchairs cross the street when the sign says WALK or DON'T WALK?

David S.

I read somewhere that you originally intended for the story of the main characters introduced in Cryptonomicon to be extended both backwards in time via the stories of their ancestors (i.e. the Baroque Cycle) and later, forward into the far future telling the stories of their descendants.

Is this true, and if so is Anathem part of this Crypto future arc or a totally unrelated storyverse? Either way I'm looking forward to the new book!

Jesse Zander Corum

Will this book have an actual ending or will it just stop like your other books?


Magister Ludi?


You've been my favorite writer since the early nineties but I don't believe I've ever heard your voice or seen a moving picture of you. Some have gone as far as to call your 'reclusive.'

Do you deliberately stay out of the spotlight or do you naturally keep a low profile? Should a writer bother with TV appearances and interviews?

Doft Fischer

I recall a photograph of what seemed to be a cubic metre of handwritten text that was the manuscript of the Baroque Trilogy. Do you still handwrite your books ?

Simon Sharwood

Does America need a cloistered community for the wise?
(Oh and what the other guy said about Australia. Come on down!)


it's exciting to hear that you have a new book coming soon. I'm not going to ask any questions before reading it, that seems like some kind of fictional quantum puzzle.

[Is there an FAQ everyone else here has already read?]
Is this a stand alone novel or part of a set/series?
(ie. can we read it right away, or should we sit tight until we can read the whole lot in one great stream?)

What do you think is the most interesting/exciting thing that humans are doing right now (and is there something cool that you've found in your reseach that *used* to happen and has dropped right away)?

What do you find works well for you to keep your creativity supple during these mammoth research/writing bouts?


In most of your books there seems to be a focus on some aspect of technology, science, or engineering. This force usually both helps and hinders the people employing it, to such an extent that it becomes a driving force to the characters - more so than individual personalities. Do you continue this in the new book?

I think it's wonderfully relevant to what our society is going through with the explosion of new technology that drives people in so many fields today.

For what it's worth, I adore the Baroque Cycle.


Any short stories in that quill of yours? Your novels are of a size which gives even the mightiest tendinitis when we binge read...


Did you write this book with a pen and paper? Or on a computer?

Iris Barimen

First, I would like to thank Mr. Stephenson for all the pleasure I have derived from his works. I re-read The Confusion every six months or so. Jack Shaftoe is my kind of Don Quixote.

Second, I wonder if Anathem is the end (or the beginning of the end) of the cycle begun in Cryptonomicon. Is it a Shaftoe/Waterhouse/Root book?

Third, what is Mr. Stephenson's involvement with pipe organs?

I would also like to second the idea about reviving the Quicksilver wiki.

Bithram Cavafy

With respect to the metonymic hermeneutic of the Appeal to Other (only in a post-Kristevan sense), do you feel that it is possible to have any genuinely new dialectical evolution in the form of an ostensible work of fiction?



I discovered your books via audible.com. Will Anathem be released on unabridged audio? I'm still looking for an unabridged audio version of Cryptonomicon.


Thanks to everyone for their great questions. In answer, Hido, yes, the e-book will also be released 9/9/08. I don't know about the audio, however.

Michael Garner

When I met Mr. Stephenson at the Boulder Bookstore on the Quicksilver tour, he mentioned that for him, writing novels and writing short stories were two totally separate arts. I would very much like to hear some details about how Mr. Stephenson approaches writing a novel. Does the idea come first and then the research? How does he approach plotting and/or outlining? I recall an essay of his in which he said he tried to make the first draft as much like the final draft as possible, but I would like to know how he approaches revisions of manuscripts. And finally, could he give us a glimpse of how his artistic side decides which tense and voice to use in his narrative? His mix of present tense and character choice is often magical, and I would love to hear any comments he would care to make about that. (And I'll add my voice to those who enjoyed The Baroque Cycle -- the novels were works of art.)


Another repeat of Crazymonk's question, will there be any Shaftoes, Waterhouses, Dengos or other recurring families/characters from Cryptonomicon/The Baroque Cycle? I would love to see what their descendants will be up to!
Also, is A Canticle for Lebowitz an inspiration for this new work?
I am GIDDY with anticipation for the new book!


Good to hear about the new book


Good to hear about the new book


HUGE fan of Baroque Cycle, and all things Stephensonian (my daughter is named Eliza).

When I first heard about Anathem, I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement. To come out in the year of my daughter's birth no less. I can't wait to start reading it and am also curious to see how this futuristic, interplanetary story could perhaps (hopefully) involve some Waterhouses, Shaftoes, or Mr. Root himself.

Holding out hopes that the Cloister is an evolution of the Societus Eruditorum


I'd just like to add that I think the Baroque Cycle is possibly the greatest work of literature to come around in a generation. And yes, I do mean literature...it's no mere novel, it's a work of art indeed (seconding Michael Garner)

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