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Neal Stephenson, «Anathem»

Второе произведение Стивенсона, до этого читал только прекрасный Криптономикон. Занятно, что книгу посоветовал на конференции в Москве товарищ из Новосибирска, с которым мы познакомились в Твери и который, как оказалось, бывал в Протвино.

Дело происходит в изрядном будущем на планете, напоминающей (как потом выясняется, неспроста) нашу. В свое время тамошние ученые чуть все не угробили, за что им надавали по ушам и загнали в монастыри. Но они и там не успокоились и периодически нарывались на истерику и погромы: осваивали термоядерный синтез и новую материю, развлекались с генной инженерией и учились управлять множественностью миров. И тут... ну вы поняли, начинается самое интересное.

На мой взгляд, это научная фантастика в самом лучше смысле этих слов. Она фантастика, с острым сюжетом и безумными поворотами. Но она и научная: обыгрываются разные течения мысли (хорошее знание истории философии не помешало бы; жаль, что это не про меня), многое крутится вокруг квантовой теории.

Помимо прочего, Нил отменно играет с этимологией, щедро вводя новые слова и показывая, как их написание и смысл менялись тысячелетиями. Читать бывает сложновато, но оно того стоит. Да, разумеется — только на английском, про перевод даже не стал узнавать.

Reticule: (1) In Proto-, Old-, and Middle Orth, a small bag or basket, netlike in its construction. (2) In early Praxic Orth, a gridlike network of lines or fine wires on an optical device. (3) In later Praxic and New Orth, two or more syntactic devices that are able to communicate with one another.

Reticulum: (1) When not capitalized, a reticule formed by the interconnection of two or more smaller reticules. (2) When capitalized, the largest reticulum, joining together the preponderance of all reticules in the world. Sometimes abbreviated to Ret.

Ita: (1) In late Praxic Orth, an acronym (therefore, in ancient texts sometimes written ITA) whose precise etymology is a casualty of the loss of shoddily preserved information that will forever enshroud the time of the Harbingers and the Terrible Events. Almost all scholars agree that the first two letters come from the words Information Technology, which is late Praxic Age commercial bulshytt for syntactic devices. ...

Еще какие-то кусочки на память:

I ... took out the cartabla and figured out how to use its interface. This took longer than I’d expected because it wasn’t made for literate people. I couldn’t make any headway at all with its search functions, because of all its cack-handed efforts to assist me.

But in the intervening hours, my brain had been changing to fit the new shape of my world. I guess that’s why we can’t do anything else when we’re sleeping: it’s when we work hardest.

Thousand of years ago, the work that people did had been broken down into jobs that were the same every day, in organizations where people were interchangeable parts. All of the story had been bled out of their lives. That was how it had to be; it was how you got a productive economy. ... The people who’d made the system thus were jealos, not of money and not of power but of story. If their employees came home at day’s end with interesting stories to tell, it meant that something had gone wrong... The Powers That Be would not suffer others to be in stories of their own unless they were fake stories that had been made up to motivate them.

These people cared about eternal truths. Believed that some — but not all — such truths were written down in a book. That their book was right and the others wrong. This much they had in common with most of the other people who had ever lived. Fine — as long as they left me alone.

You and I can think about things. Symbols in our brains have meanings. The question is, can a syntactic device think about things, or merely process digits that have no Aboutness — no meaning.

Consciousness is enacted in the physical world, on physical equipment... nerve tissue, or perhaps some artificial device of similar powers... what the Ita would call hardware. Yet Ataman’s premise is that consciousness itself, not the equipment is the primary reality.

And it happened all the time that the compromise between two perfectly ration alternatives was something that made no sense at all.

Следующая на очереди — Reamde.

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