Kindle Edition ✓ Seveneves PDF å

Kindle Edition ✓ Seveneves PDF å


Seveneves [Download] ➾ Seveneves ➹ Neal Stephenson – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk What would happen if the world were endingA catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb In a feverish race against the inevitable nations around the globe band together to devise an ambit What would happen if the world were endingA catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb In a feverish race against the inevitable nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere in outer spaceBut the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers until only a handful of survivors remain Five thousand years later their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time EarthA writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision Neal Stephenson combines science philosophy technology psychology and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable As he did in Anathem Cryptonomicon the Baroue Cycle and Reamde Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring engrossing and altogether brilliant.


10 thoughts on “Seveneves

  1. Jenne Jenne says:

    Okay so the first two thirds of this was shaping up to be pretty much my favorite book ever like if someone had called me up and said okay we will get any author you name and they will write exactly the book you would like to read just give us a list of what you wantAnd then I gave them a list something like this and was like NEAL STEPHENSON PLEASE Someone succeeding through clever means APOCALYPSE Something grand being destroyed in an epic fashion People trapped together People working together toward a common goalto solve a problem The story builds from a sort of contrived situation or scenario eg uakers in space in this case the moon explodes People who are very good at what they do because they work hard at it Details about people's jobs Chosen familycommunity building People living proscribed lives eg military religious orders royalty astronauts FEMALE astronauts Discovering the hidden workings of something Being thrust into a position of power or responsibility and having to figure it outAnd it was exactly what I wanted At firstLet's just sayI should have asked for Ursula Le Guin to write the last part There were a lot of interesting cultural directions the story could have gone but it felt like they'd sent an engineer to do an anthropologist's job


  2. Joel Joel says:

    The science and world building is awesome The storytelling and character development not so much soThere is a guideline for writing they say show don't tell And yes I know NS never really follows this rule but here's it's extreme Most of the book is likeMoira walked into the room 5 pages of backstory about Moira She looked at Dinah 10 pages of backstory about different people who have looked at DinahThis is to a degree forgivable when the backstory is fun but this is a surprisingly humorless book But the end of the world is not supposed to be funny That's what makes it even funnier Where is the joy?Because of this distance it was hard to get really invested in any of the characters Who are the great creations here? view spoilerNeil Tyson? He already exists Elon Musk? He already exists Hillary Clinton? She already exists Blah I bet Aida was interesting too bad we only got 10 pages about how she was a cannibal hide spoiler


  3. Felicia Felicia says:

    Amazing stand alone sci fi highly recommended I guess Neal Stephenson is a legend for a reason


  4. Will Byrnes Will Byrnes says:

    The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason I guess in order to indulge in a bit of world building one must destroy the world first Neal Stephenson is a genius A polymath with a wide range of interests he specializes in the big idea and the concrete the better In this way he carries forward the tradition of hard science fiction in which the best example is probably Arthur C Clarke Stephenson eschews FTL transportation time travel invading aliens or any of the other tropes of sci fi that cannot find a solid basis in contemporary science Instead he takes what is known adds what is possible and extrapolates to what could be His one concession to the unknown is his opening noted at top Although a theory or two are trotted out we never really learn what caused the moon to explode Consider it the MacGuffin of the novel the plot device that gets the action moving I guess breaking up isn’t hard to do No exploding moon? No story Why does it explode? Doesn’t matter The story is about what happens after The kernel around which the story nucleated was the space debris problem which I had been reading about both as a potential obstacle to the company's efforts and as a possible opportunity to do something useful in space by looking for ways to remediate it Some researchers had begun to express concern over the possibility that a collision between two pieces of debris might spawn a large number of fragments thereby increasing the probability of further collisions and further fragments producing a chain reaction that might put so much debris into low earth orbit as to create a barrier to future space exploration from Stephenson’s siteAnd the story is a compelling one not so much in the sense of classic plot construction but in terms of how we get from the biggest “OH CRAP” moment in human history to something not guaranteed to soil pants Stephenson looks most attentively at the engineering details of what is involved in trying to salvage the human race once it is clear that the sky will go all to pieces that the term scorched earth will be applicable to all the land on Earth that the homeland will become a wasteland What hardware is necessary? What is available? What can go wrong? How do we get from here to up there? This is his gig He loves this stuff and it shows He also does a good job of portraying the ensuing struggles down below Who will be selected to survive? How will they be picked? How will the politics of the selection be handled? What will the criteria be? Ideas bang into other ideas which fracture and crash into even ideas and so on until you have an entire layer of nifty concept blanketing your brain World leaders make the big announcement of imminent doom at Crater Lake and yes it really is that blueI think Stephenson is optimistic than most and his presumptions about the level of on the ground conflict and pure lunacy are out of line with what we know about humans He gives only a little thought to deniers but in a country like the USA for example in which a uarter of the population does not believe in evolution in which the Republican base clings to beliefs that would make L Ron Hubbard scream for mercy in which Texas lunatics of both the tinfoil hat and elected variety I know no real difference there persuade themselves that a military exercise is a federal invasion there would be a lot going on denier wise than Stephenson projects All theoretical of course but do you really think that in the time remaining that birthers and those who believe the Apollo moon landing was a hoax would not make use of their considerable ordnance to make life even miserable for those with brains?Neal StephensonThe book is divided into three parts although it breaks down into smaller chapter chunks The first takes us from the initial event to the beginning of the end of Earth as we know it how humanity comes together or doesn’t to preserve the species Part two takes on the final days of earth and a whole new world of conflict resolution or not setting the stage for Part three five thousand years on when through forces natural and engineer enhanced it is again possible to set foot on Mother Earth without singeing your toes The seven eves of the title refer to the last orbiting survivors whose reproductive capacity and DNA is used in an attempt to reconstitute the species and hopefully in time reclaim the original Mother shipThis inflatable harbinger has been deployed on the ISS for several years image from Smithsonian MagazineStephenson does action adventure pretty well and there is plenty of that here The end of the Earth is a compelling starting point and survival of the species concerns will keep you engaged Will this work? Will that? Who will live? Who won’t? Character is not the thing in Neal Stephenson fiction His greatest talents lie elsewhere although it is definitely fun that he puts an avatar of Neal DeGrasse Tyson aboard The significance of character here is to consider personality differences and their social and genetic engineering implications Given people with certain traits how are they likely to behave and how will those behaviors help or harm the survivability of homo sap? There is consideration of the concept of the state of nature What is natural for people? How is that defined? Pretty interesting stuff And there is plenty brain candy in SevenEves Not for you zombies go away On the hardware side how about harnessing asteroids and comets for raw materials? Using robots of unexpectedly small dimensions for space mining? Making orbiting environments in which humanity could survive and even expand? How about some notions for terra forming not only lifeless space rocks butumTerra How about interesting ways of transporting people and materials between orbiting locations and between Earth and orbit How about some advanced notions for individual flight on planet? Life sciences? How about the challenges of food production in space? Bio engineering is the biggest item here not only in selecting who gets to be among those sent into orbit to survive torch ageddon But in figuring out how the differences in people can be used to ensure survival of the species and looking at the results some of which are uite surprising Social science? Well the science is a lot softer here but the politics of end times Earth and struggles for power among the spacers offer a look at elements of human nature that will be familiar Stephenson’s optimism about our ability to think our way to actual survival is balanced by his recognition that we are as a species probably certifiable so will continue having at each other as long as there are others to go after An O’Neill Cylinder – from the outsideI am certain that those versed in contemporary sci fi will have recent comparisons to make but the work that I was most reminded of here is the Hugo Award winner for Best All Time Series Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series In both a core of talented people a broader range of talent than in Stephenson‘s engineer and hard science oriented portrayal are brought together to preserve human culture in the face of an imminent catastrophe The specifics are uite different but they share a grandness of vision No psychohistory in SevenEves but the multi millennial look at humanity offers the opportunity for and realization of a great speculative vision There are some commonalities between SevenEves and another recent and very popular sci fi offering of the space variety The Martian Not in girth of course The Martian at a mere 384 pps could dock with and be pulled up on the side the 880 page SevenEves like a tender boat on a cruise ship Both deal with life and death scenarios in an airless void no not the US Congress although one deals with a single life in jeopardy while the other takes on a larger target But there is a heavy emphasis on tech in both Weir’s wonderful story offered an engaging narrator and way too much detail on how he goes about attempting to survive while stranded on the red planet Stephenson writes about things that he finds interesting whether or not they clutter up the story with technical minutiae and at 880 pps trust me there is too much detail Hey his book his story He gets off on the details of mechanics and it is nowhere as mind numbing as an endless jeremiad by say John Galt but you may find yourself feeling a need to skim from time to time Purely an aside I think Chris Moore should write a novel about the Republican clown car of 2016 presidential candidates called The Galt in our Stars in which someone gets a life threatening disease and no one cares I wonder also how the very small number of remnant original eves is supposed to be able to provide the training their progeny will reuire to master all the skills reuired to sustain civilization I am sure there are many other details one could look at in considering the next five thousand or so years but it might take a few volumes SevenEves is a major contribution to contemporary science fiction It is engaging enough on a visceral level but it is crack not just for sci fi fans but for futurists scientists geneticists engineers and those concerned with how humanity will survive the challenges that lie ahead It is a big book not only in its physical bulk but in its ambition and range of interests Like the great works of his predecessors Asimov Clarke and other giants of science fiction the vision Stephenson has built in SevenEves will be read I expect as long as there are still people left alive whether on Earth or not Publication date – Hardcover 51915 Paperback 51716This review first posted – 51515In the summer of 2019 GR reduced the allowable review size by 25% from 20000 to 15000 characters In order to accommodate the text beyond that as of May 29 2020 I moved it to the comments section directly below well maybe not directly but somewhere around comment #10


  5. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    “We're not hunter gatherers any We're all living like patients in the intensive care unit of a hospital What keeps us alive isn't bravery or athleticism or any of those other skills that were valuable in a caveman society It's our ability to master complex technological skills It is our ability to be nerds We need to breed nerds” Nerd Alert Be nice to the nerds in your life They might save your ass somedayNerds realized a long time ago in the United States that they needed to become rich if they ever expected to marry the super model have 25 kids and be able to afford all those expensive technological toys The guy who was completely undateable in high school suddenly becomes Tom Cruise when he has a couple of million bucks in his pocket Several years ago I read an article that discussed the fact that over the past several thousand years Jewish people have progressively become smarter because Jewish women are attracted to men primarily for their brains rather than their brawn while Catholics and Protestants have maybe become progressively better looking because CP women are attracted to athletic men and CP men are attracted to pretty women If you are a man who doesn’t do well on the athletic field then you have to counter your lack of physical coordination by being very very successful Your ability to pass on your genes for future generations is counting on that Of course a nerd is not so much worried about reproducing as he is about getting laid but the end result is the same Now let’s say you wake up one morning and ”THE MOON BLEW UP WITHOUT WARNING AND FOR NO APPARENT REASON”It is shattered into seven big pieces and many many smaller fragments I always have new possibilities to mentally explore whenever I read a Neal Stephenson book It has never crossed my mind that the moon would ever blow up I’ve thought about the Earth shattering or falling into the sun or splitting in half all of course due in some way to human stupidity but I’d never considered the ramifications of the moonexploding My first thought would be “Wow I’m so glad whatever hit the moon didn’t hit us” I’m an optimist right so I’d be thinking about how lucky we were for the near miss The moon is goneThe moon is goneThe moon is gone Wait what does this mean for Earth? Astronomers name the pieces of the moon and watch as they dance around each other occasionally colliding Life goes on with little changeuntil one astronomer determines that those collisions are going to send debris toward the earth in the form of fiery bolides The earth is going to burn He tags the phenomenon #HARD RAIN #Kiss your ass goodbyePredictive models give the Earth as we know it about two years Sex anyone? “The human race might be about to disappear but not before putting on a two year frenzy of recreational sex” Nerds are now in the driver’s seat Those brawny warriors of the gridiron would have been better served hitting the books instead of catching footballs or hitting baseballs or smacking pucks or launching basketballs at small round hoops Those skills once lauded are now obsolete Same goes for those preening pretty girls who may have only aspired to make themselves beautiful They too will need much than long eyelashes and long legs to see that their offspring be part of the future of humanity Overnight the human race will be reduced from seven billion down to a few thousand Every country is asked to select their best and brightest young people and send them for training Of course only a fraction of those will be selected to go into space Understandably things get wiggy “Seven billion who need to be kept happy and docile until the end How do you do that? What's the best way to calm down a scared kid get them to go back to sleep? Tell them a story Some shit about Jesus or whatever” For me I guess I would just refuse to believe the math or hope for another intercession by something spectacular Not that I would be passing on the new hedonistic lifestyle that most humans would be adopting; after all if the world does survive by some miracle it still wouldn’t be the time to be prudish because chances are the math ignored or not will prove to be right Although frankly as the clock ticked down I’d probably decide it was the perfect time to finish War and Peace while sipping a very fine ancient Kentucky Bourbon People for once become too busy to really think about politics They are too intent on the Herculean effort of building a larger space station and also figuring out how to anchor an asteroid on one side as a protective shield from bolides Two years is not enough time to get things right It is only enough time to give humanity a chance And then ”Earth was of course completely unrecognizable From this distance it was about the size of a tangerine held at arm’s length and about the same color Formerly a cool blue and white lake in the cosmos it now hung there like a blob of molten steel thrown out by a welder’s torch In the belt between the tropics where most of the Hard Rain was falling it glowed orange” The remaining members of humanity spend the next few decades on the verge of extinction They battle food and water shortages think about drinking melted ice five billion years old I’m still trying to wrap my puny brain around that bolide collisions lack of resources but what finally almost destroys humanitypolitics Humanity gets shaved down to the barebonesThere is a very good reason why the book is called SEVENEVESFor the last part of the book Stephenson flashes us forward five thousand years when the earth is returning to a habitable form You will be relieved to know that humanity does survive though it has evolved and devolved from where we were before the Hard Rain Some humans survived below Earth and now we are seeing the first contact between ”those who fled” and those who stayed Who owns the Earth now?Creating deep resonating characters is not Stephenson’s strong point though they are interesting people who are existing in this spectacular set of circumstances that showcases how creative a writer can be and still stay within the bounds of known science This is an epic post apocalyptic book made scary because there is no place in the shattered remains of humanity for people like me I’ve met Neal Stephenson a couple of times but the first time was when he was promoting his book Diamond Age Snow Crash was getting a lot of buzz in the book community and I’d just finished reading it He was sitting behind a big pile of ARC copies of Diamond Age book looking very uncomfortable I was handling a booth for Roy P Jensen a remainder book company I was working for at the time Traffic was slow but those few people there didn’t seem to know who he was I was able to slip over and sit down with him for a while and chat His mind not surprising was razor sharp He had a way of looking at me like I was streaming computer code that only he could read He was pleasantly surprised I’d read Snow Crash He was built like a slender reed and looked very much like the picture I posted at the beginning of this review I then met him again much later when he was promoting uicksilver He had somehow morphed into a dramatically handsome man still brimming with intensity He wore his success very well With each book he writes he continues to add to an impressive collection of work that will continue to influence science fiction writing for a long long time If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  6. Rick Urban Rick Urban says:

    From Neal StephensonTo William Morrow PublisherDear FriendsI've got a great idea for a new novel I've decided to call it Seveneves which is a palindrome In case you didn't know a palindrome is a word phrase number or other seuence of characters which reads the same backward or forward Allowances may be made for adjustments to capital letters punctuation and word dividers By the way punctuation prior to the development of printing was light and haphazard William Caxton 1474 the first printer of books in English used three punctuation marks the stroke for marking word groups the colon for marking distinct syntactic pauses and the period for marking the ends of sentences and brief pausesAnyway the idea for Seveneves came to me when I wondered to myself What would happen if the world were ending? And what would be a fantastic way to end the world than by having the moon explode I will keep folks on tenterhooks hooks used to fasten cloth on a drying frame or tenter by not telling them why just referring to the source of the explosion cryptically as The Agent and break into several large pieces that then break into smaller and smaller pieces and eventual fall out of orbit towards Earth where they will rain down total destruction upon all living things on the surface of the Earth The surface of the earth is known to geologists as the crust and the crust occupies less than 1% of Earth's volume The oceanic crust of the sheet is different from its continental crust The oceanic crust is 5 km 3 mi to 10 km 6 mi thick and is composed primarily of basalt diabase and gabbro gabbro of course being a dark coarse grained plutonic rock of crystalline texture consisting mainly of pyroxene plagioclase feldspar and often olivineAnd when the best thinkers on Earth deduce that they are going to be smashed to smithereens always wondered where that word came from perhaps from the Irish smidiríní they team up and try to get a large group of humans off the Earth and colonized in space orbit around Earth in the two years they have before the great rain of particles reaches its most destructive phase One of the main characters will be a thinly disguised Neil deGrasse Tyson and I'll throw in a guy who is suspiciously similar to Elon Musk just to keep things fresh Elon Musk you'll remember is a South African born Canadian American business magnate engineer inventor and investor He is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors and chairman of SolarCity Musk has also envisioned a conceptual high speed transportation system known as the Hyperloop and has proposed a VTOL supersonic jet aircraft with electric fan propulsion That whole area interests me greatly by the way and so I think I'm going to focus a lot on orbital mechanics when I get to the part where the survivors colonize space because really who cares about the billions of people that will end up fried to a crisp back on planet Earth? I mean where is the drama in that when we've got bolide trajectory calculations and solar radiation calculations and theories about the feasibility of various throws and holds of Greco Roman wrestling in zero gravity? Of course you know that Greco Roman US or Graeco Roman UK wrestling is a style of wrestling that is practiced worldwide It was contested at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has been included in every edition of the summer Olympics held since 1908 According to the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles FILA Greco Roman wrestling is one of the six main forms of amateur competitive wrestling practised internationally today The other five forms are Freestyle wrestling GrapplingSubmission wrestling Beach wrestling Pankration athlima AlyshBelt wrestling and TraditionalFolk wrestlingOh and there will be a super big comet shard that comes into play because they'll need the water from that shard to be heated and the steam used as propulsion to move the space station and its adjoining linked spacecrafts containing the Earth's remaining population into a higher orbit so that the survivors don't get pulled back into the Earth's gravity and have a chance at living off the planet for several thousand years until the Earth is ready to be repopulated There will be plenty of super detailed descriptions of all of this stuff for many hundreds of pages in the book so don't worry if you've missed something or it's unclear I believe it was Shakespeare who said brevity is the soul of wit but I'm not going for wit with this book I'm going for the antithesis of wit with this novel so if we think of brevity as A and the soul of wit as B then AB and of course in propositional logic transposition is a valid rule of replacement that permits one to switch the antecedent with the conseuent of a conditional statement in a logical proof if they are also both negated It is the inference from the truth of A implies B the truth of Not B implies not A and conversely Further I'd propose that it is very closely related to the rule of inference modus tollens But I do throw in something kinda funny around page 786So finally after I've invested all this time and effort into the incredibly detailed world building and tossed in a huge number of thinly sketched characters to help make the incredibly ornate some might say rococo rəˈkoʊkoʊ or roʊkəˈkoʊ less commonly roccoco or Late Baroue you know the 18th century artistic movement and style affecting many aspects of the arts including painting sculpture architecture interior design decoration literature music and theatre that developed in the early 18th century in Paris France as a reaction against the grandeur symmetry and strict regulations of the Baroue especially of the Palace of Versailles Rococo artists and architects used a jocular florid and graceful approach to the Baroue accumulation of facts and descriptions digestible and relatable to someone who is not either a post doctoral MIT graduate or an individual somewhere on the autism spectrum I'm gonna throw a curve at the reader by starting the third section of the book with Five Thousand Years Later I can just imagine my readers hugging themselves with delight at this audacious leap forwardI don't want to go into detail about the final third of the book so let's just say that it will provide users with a complicated description of the architectural engineering involved in housing 3 billion people in space as well as the anthropological genetic and cultural ramifications of humans living in space for thousands of years all while keeping the interior lives of these people at a far remove so that my readers don't get bogged down in all that interpersonal and emotional complexityIf I can just say in closing heterozygosity is super important to the themes I'm trying to grapple with in what I consider to be a fairly streamlined and gripping fast paced thriller Remember a diploid organism is heterozygous at a gene locus when its cells contain two different alleles of a gene The cell or organism is called a heterozygote specifically for the allele in uestion therefore heterozygosity refers to a specific genotypeI should have the first draft of this book ready for your perusal sometime in the next few years or so so please book me into a meeting with the art department sometime around then I look forward to working with you to make this next book a huge successYour trulyNealPS I cannot stress enough the importance of heterozygosity to the narrative PSS Oh and bolides Look it up


  7. Bradley Bradley says:

    I don't know what all those complainers are going on about As far as I can see I just got two novels for the price of one The first 23rds is all hard science fiction where science matters and the whole thing is tied together with plausibility The last third is pure unadulterated speculative fiction with damn fine worldbuilding and extrapolation from the first 23rdsLet me back up I can honestly say that I loved the gigantic erector set that was the first novel but I will admit that I wasn't head over heels in love with most of the characters and the few that I really liked were at least two dimensional This isn't a condemnation A lot had to be covered to get us from a happyish world through a blown up moon to a mad scramble to survive before the earth gets fireballed by our ex moon That means the International Space Station needs one hell of an upgrade A lot happens and it's tragic and heroic and beautiful I've read a lot worse hard sf and when I say it it's not a condemnation either Hard sf is a lifestyle choice It's hard to do and successfully pull off a great story with great characters against say any other novel that doesn't care about consistency and scrupulous attention to detailMr Stephenson pulls it off and I'm not just touting him because I'm a lifelong fan of his writings I'm saying the novel is solidNow on to the second novel A lot of people have a problem with this one going What the fuck? Not me This is where we stop being grounded and we let our imaginations fly A lot can and will happen in 5000 years from the last hurrah of the plausible and likely end of humanitySo I see another tradition being followed one I like even than the strict master of hard sf I immediately got sucked into the imagery the action the curiosity the mystery and the unfolding of a brand new Earth I don't need to bring up all the greats who have done hopeful and optimistic futures although I will if anyone asks but Mr Stephenson has served up a beauty So much is bright and colorful about it and I'm including the different human races the flying the landscape and the revelations about what the people find down there No spoilers but suffice to say there's always a way to bring conflict in even though the future is hopeful It was a sheer pleasure to explore and if the novel was NOT an extension of the first 23 I'm pretty sure that most of the haters out there would have thought it was an interesting tale on par with any of the classics It's all about survival rebuilding and restoring genetic engineering massive scale engineering and the supremely toned down idea that love enduresIt was very touchingAll right I'll mention Brin It reminds me of the best of BrinSo that brings me back to the main uestion Should these two novels be considered one? There's obviously ties throughout the second one but I'll be honest with you they could have been added long after the fact just so the second novel could see print That's a very negative way to view it in my opinion because I happened to love it for what it wasIs it a sign of the times that old style adventure novels set in the deep future can't get published any longer? I hope not I'd love to see assuming the stories still kick assBut to answer my own uestion Yes and No The first novel could easily have turned into an ultimate bummer The second novel could stand on its own Left to itself the first novel would have absolutely needed some sort of machinery of god or perhaps the triumphant return of the assholes who had raced to Mars It would have needed something anyway to satisfy the readers We aren't reading traditional fiction It wasn't a character study If the only way to give the reader what she wants is to give us a resolution that doubles as a whole second novel then I say Hell yesBecause at least this way I wouldn't have to wait a long time for a seuel when I wasn't satisfied with the first Can you imagine or do you remember when Hyperion came out and you got to the end and went Huh? with no Fall of Hyperion to complete it? It's the same deal although I'll be honest Hyperion is still better than this novel If you peeps haven't read it then do so It's still very high praise to be compared to it even in a lesser capacityOf course Neal Stephenson has a whole catalog of some of my absolute favorite reading list so I'm amazingly biased hereWas this novel good? You betcha Did it surprise? Absolutely Do I recommend? Yes for fans of the SFF genre with keen eyes and adjustable expectationsUpdate 42716This has been nominated for 2016 Hugo for best novelWhile I think it's pretty awesome in retrospect for the ideas the science and the rather epic scope of both saving the race in the first part of the novel and the far ish future ramifications in the last 23rds of the novel there were also wide swaths of boring info dumping too I might have gone hog wild all over this novel as the biggest contender for the Hugo otherwise but that might also have something to do with how much of a fanboy I am for the author Unfortunately this is isn't my first or even second choice for the Hugo winner for this year Good promise but the pacing was off


  8. Stuart Stuart says:

    Seveneves 600 pages of infodumping leaves little room for plot developmentOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteratureI must be developing an immunity to the Kool Aid that Neal Stephenson serves his fans Snow Crash and Crytonomicon are two of my favorite books but I was lukewarm towards The Diamond Age and then hit a wall with Anathem So when I heard he was coming out with Seveneves and that the plot was much like traditional “hard” SF than his earlier cyberpunk steampunk nanotech cryptography technothriller works I wasn’t sure I’d like it But really there’s only one way to know if you like a book or not – you have to read it for yourselfBasically when you have over 900 pages to work with you can dedicate hundreds of pages to detailed world building and still have plenty of time for complex characterizations and a very extensive plot You’d think that was enough for any author but we’re talking about Neal Stephenson here His infodumps can bring even the most dedicated geeks to their knees and that is what his die hard fans are looking for I didn’t mind his infodumps in Cryptonomicon since they were interesting in their own right but I was completely defeated by the esoteric mathematic and philosophical discussions of Anathem which I found extremely tedious In Seveneves the infodumps essentially constitute the first 500 600 pages Once we know that the moon has been destroyed and then surface of the Earth will be inundated with meteorites in the first paragraph Stephenson then decides that the best way to further the story is to describe in painstaking detail every single technological and engineering difficulty that humanity will face The amount of research he has done is stupendous and he clearly admires Neil de Grasse Tyson who appears in barely fictional form He throws a bunch of scientists and astronauts into the unwanted role of being humanity’s only hope of survival Despite the book length he doesn’t devote any time to the fate of the seven billion members of humanity who have been handed a death sentence Instead we are treated to chapter after chapter dedicated to problems of geosynchronous orbits propellant limitations tiny meteor strikes artificial habitats etc etcFor me the first two thirds of the book were really heavy going Even thought Stephenson introduces a long list of characters it’s hard to get into their innermost thoughts despite the dire situation facing them As crisis follows crisis the odds get and insurmountable There are plenty of fascinating details but the pace of progress is really slow Finally humanity finds itself down to just seven women or “seveneves” With extinction looming these women must make a momentous decision on how to survive Their council sets the stage for the creation of seven races of humans that evolve from themFast forwarding 5000 years the story finally brings us to the part that I was actually interested in the resettling and terraforming of the Earth after the meteorite storm And when he does start to describe the new races of humanity each descended from the original Seveneves the scenario is well described and such a contrast to the dire straights of the first two thirds of the book Here Stephenson is again in his element giving us a well constructed future society with complex interactions There is a huge amount of potential here for a multi volume far future epic about terraforming the Earth along the lines of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy The big problem is that we have already had to slog through 600 pages just to reach this point and now have only 300 pages left to establish the new far future scenario and actually incorporate a viable plot that can be wrapped up in that short spanUnfortunately just like in The Diamond Age Stephenson again runs out of pages to deliver a satisfactory storyline after all the world building He hasn’t learned how to forward the story amid all the technical descriptions I know he can achieve this as he did in Snow Crash and Crytonomicon but this book felt a lot like the existential torture of Anathem which I couldn’t finish In fact the abrupt nature of the ending of Seveneves suggests ample room for a seuel which is really irritating since the least he could do is give us a stand alone novel if it’s almost 1000 pages long I know there are plenty of readers out there who don’t mind multi volume door stopper epics but I have 400 books on my TBR list so I won’t be lining up to read the seuel if it does appearI listened to the audiobook narrated by Mary Robinette Kowal who does the first two thirds set right after the moon is destroyed and Will Damron who does the far future portion I’d have to say that Kowal is facing an uphill battle with a very exposition heavy narrative that I already found boring and she makes it much worse by doing a terrible job trying to make the male voices sound male by doing this silly low voice that sounds ridiculous especially for the de Grasse character Perhaps it’s easier for male narrators to do female voices but this just sounded awkward When we go forward 5000 years into the future we also get a new narrator Will Damron which is a huge relief both due to the change in storyline and because he does a much better job


  9. Susan May Susan May says:

    Official announcementSo after 650 pages of 850 Seveneves I are going our separate ways I've decided he's a bore He just dwells too much on technical minutiae I like to focus on people characters enjoy the adventure in books I'm sure there are thousands who will love him for who he isHe did try change for me bless him He put on a silly hat got me some flowers but it wasn't enough to entice me to continue with him until the end I'm sorry Seveneves I told you going in either show me a good time or I will move on I'm now out with Michael Robotham's Close Your Eyes already I'm having fun No hard feelings Seveneves you just gotta lighten up It wasn't you it was meHere is my parting photo for those who have enjoyed the journey on this thread which included photos of Seveneves as he shared my life for a short time The ReviewIt was long over technical and I couldn't finish it At 650 pages with still 200 odd to go I'd been skimming for about 200 previous pages I gave up There are too many great books waiting for me I just felt the whole thing got away from the author Shame because it could have been great The publisher should have broken it into 3 separate novels and really focused on getting each one tight with some pace and heart The characters are flatBut lots of people seem to have loved it so obviously it comes down to personal taste I would just rather be inside the heads of characters instead of being told about things And I love technical stuff I'm a science fiction nerd but make the technical stuff interesting while you tell the story Don't sprout it like a brain dumpThe thread for this review has been fun than reading the book I'm an author so I don't like being critical of other authors This book wasn't for me but it might be for those who like loads of technical science stuff and aren't so much into characters and action I just figure when you're in space and you're destroying planet Earth why not go for it So don't be put off by my thoughts However if you agree with a lot of my reviews then this won't be the book for you I don't think


  10. matthew matthew says:

    I knew I was going to hate this novel around page 270 when Mr Stephenson technocrat extraordinaire decided to spend a page complaining about modern gender theory and academic leftists who were wasting time and energy I had already been put off by the jingoistic libertarian nonsense promulgated through a lot of science fiction and given centre stage in this novel but this anti humanities screed was the last straw It's not just that it's intellectually lazy it is though full of strawmen or that it's politically objectionable Stephenson has his heart in the right place The problem is that it's a propos of nothing The uestionable section is added not as characterization but as polemic Life is too short for lazy strawmen in fictionIf you thought the gun fetish heavy Reamde was Stephenson's worst don't bother reading this This novel is even execrable and contains none of the wit or charm of earlier Stephenson His prose flops around short declarative sentences that even children could read There is none of Stephenson's artfulness none of his ability to defamiliarize the recognizable into beautiful metaphors and similes such as when he describes in uicksilver I believe the stream of urine as the arc of a comet As a fan of Stephenson I'm wholly disappointed to have trudged through this dreck hoping for some sort of revelation that this book was worth it Alas there is noneThe plot of the novel such as it is is a poor man's Kim Stanley Robinson You'd be better served to read Red Mars; at least the politics are complex and nuanced than government is BAD you guys


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