Atmosphaera Incognita

Atmosphaera Incognita

For more than two decades, Neal Stephenson has been the reigning master of the epic fictional narrative. His vast, intellectually rigorous books have ranged in setting from the distant past (The Baroque Cycle) to the modern era (Reamde) to the remote future (Anathem, Seveneves). But when Stephenson turns his attention to shorter forms, the results can be every bit as impressive, as this dazzling novella—itself a kind of tightly compressed epic—clearly indicates. Atmosphæra Incognita is a beautifully detailed, high-tech rendering of a tale as old as the Biblical Tower of Babel. It is an account, scrupulously imagined, of the years-long construction of a twenty-kilometer-high tower that will bring the human enterprise, in all its complexity, to the threshold of outer space. It is a story of persistence, of visionary imaginings, of the ceaseless technological innovation needed to bring these imaginings to life. At the same time, it shows us our familiar planet from an entirely new perspective, and offers vivid snapshots of the unique beauties and unexpected hazards of the “atmosphæra incognita” that lies between this world and “the deep ocean of the cosmos.” The result is pure pleasure, pure excitement, pure Neal Stephenson. No one with an interest in Stephenson's work, or in science fiction at its most thoughtful and ambitious, can afford to miss this latest edition to an extraordinary body of work.

Title:Atmosphaera Incognita
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781596069190
Format Type:

    Atmosphaera Incognita Reviews

  • Sarah

    This is my first experience with Neal Stephenson. At a mere 104 pages, it was much less intimidating than some of his other very lengthy novels. The premise is very simple: eccentric billionaire wants...

  • Michael

    Unlike most of Stephenson's wonderfully expansive works of technical imagination, this is a novella. It mines an interesting story of a billionaire named Carl working to fulfill his idiosyncratic drea...

  • wishforagiraffe

    Stephenson does surprisingly well in this short form. Fewer long digressions, but still a lot of great technical ideas and solid conceptual science. It has a conversational tone and covers a lot of gr...

  • Gerhard

    I have not read Neal Stephenson in ages. He is one of those SF writers whose books (by default) are long and demanding, though not on the same level as a writer like Kim Stanley Robinson. So imagine m...

  • John

    A brief story about the complexity of building a 20 KM tall tower. As with all of Neal Stephenson’s books he poses & answers questions I would not have even thought about. I’m used to his books be...

  • Liviu

    another disappointing work from the author, this time a novella that has a great premise but mostly fails to deliver with wooden prose and uninteresting characters...

  • Anton

    3.5 roundup. Fascinating premise and enjoyable writing. But this novelette suffers from underdeveloped characters and underwhelming conclusions......

  • Campbell

    Yeah, not bad. It feels incomplete, however, a fragment of a larger work....

  • Autumn Is Azathoth

    The geniuses of our era, in my opinion, are the late Stephen Hawking, John Connolly, and Neal Stephenson. I never miss anything Mr. Stephenson pens, even though sometimes I have to really stretch my b...

  • Michael Frasca

    A tale for engineers and those who like engineering. There is barely a story in this novelet, but that's OK because the wonder of the concept carries the reader along.Pairs well with Kij Johnson's The...