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  • The avout live a monastic ( "mathic" in the parlance of the book) lifestyle dedicated to keeping ancient knowledge alive and protected from the outside world ( "extramuros" - which is a new favorite word).

    Baby Got Books

  • Outside the walls ("extramuros," as the term goes—by the time you're a couple of hundred pages in, this language thing begins to fall in place), people zip around in an ADD haze of fast-food joints, persistent gadgets (instead of CrackBerry, they are addicted to handheld "jeejahs"), and evangelical religion.

    Novelist Neal Stephenson Once Again Proves He's the King of the Worlds

  • Guests from extramuros, "he tells us," like Artisan Flec, were allowed to come in the Day Gate and view auts from the north nave when they were not especially contagious and, by and large, behaving themselves.

    Brit Lit Blogs

  • Here are Erasmas and Fraa Jesry, talking about the difference between life inside and outside the walls, on a foray extramuros during the ten-day festival of Apert:

    Brit Lit Blogs

  • The avout are not religious, however, and are generally suspicious of the religions of the extramuros crowd.

    Baby Got Books

  • Stephenson has also mentioned in an interview that the mathic / extramuros dichotomy was a means for examining the differences between the literate and the aliterate, which he defines as those who can read but choose not to.

    Baby Got Books

  • At the center of the concent of our protagonist, Erasmus, is an elaborate mechanical clock that marks not just the hours of the day, but the years, decades, and the millenia that mark the frequency that various strata within the concent are allowed to have contact with the extramuros (and with each other).

    Baby Got Books

  • Here's Erasmus waxing philospical on how the extramuros people live their lives:

    Baby Got Books

  • Things get exciting for the avout and the extramuros world when avout astronomers observe strange phenomena in the night sky that leads to an unprecedented mixing within and outside of the walls of the world's concents.

    Baby Got Books

  • I'd been out of the concent for a little more than two months, eating extramuros food the whole time.

    Science Fiction in the News


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