From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon comes an exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epic—a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years.
What would happen if the world were ending?
A 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 space.
But 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: Earth.
A 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 Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Thanks to Neal Stephenson, you’ll be looking up at the moon glad it’s in one piece. The sci-fi heavyweight blows it to bits in the first line of Seveneves, a millennia-spanning epic. Our moon’s destruction puts humanity on a two-year extermination countdown and launches a frenzied quest to build the Cloud Ark—a network of pods around the International Space Station that will house a select group of people. Stephenson’s doomsday scenario enthralled us. Seemingly small decisions ripple out in thrilling, sometimes terrifying ways as we follow seven races of tenacious survivors who've been engineered to give us a second, tech-laden chance on Earth.
Stephenson's remarkable novel is deceptively complex, a disaster story and transhumanism tale that serves as the delivery mechanism for a series of technical and sociological visions. When the moon explodes, it doesn't take long for scientists (including Doc "Doob" Dubois, who bears no small resemblance to Neil DeGrasse Tyson) to realize that the debris will soon cause the destruction of Earth. The residents of the International Space Station, including roboticist Dinah MacQuarie and commander Ivy Xiao, immediately begin working with their colleagues on Earth to turn the ISS into a viable habitat for as many people as possible. The next two years are filled with heroic sacrifices, political upheavals, and disasters, most of which are only exacerbated when Earth finally succumbs to the "Hard Rain," meteorite bombardment that last for millennia. The survivors seven fertile women are destined to repopulate the human race, and it's only here, over halfway through the story, that Stephenson (the Baroque Cycle) really shows his hand, moving ahead 5,000 years to explore the moral and political implications of the earlier events. There's a ton to digest, but Stephenson's lucid prose makes it worth the while.
Decent and inventive, with only a couple forced plot points
For the longest time I would rate this 5 stars. However, during my latest read through I realized a problem or two. The big one is that the seven eves act like once someone dies their DNA becomes useless, yet they also have the means to make genetic alterations. This means they have multiple copies of the Y chromosome, so no need to create it out of whole cloth.
The other problem I have is that Markus/Dinah/Ivy would not have bothered with a risky operation of docking with Julia’s unauthorized ship. They would have gone over, attached the device and de-orbited the contraption with the least risk to their fuel and oxygen supplies.
A Most Amazing Novel of Preservation of The Human Race
I find myself relating to many of the conflicted and gifted characters in this Earth to Space and Back Again tale. The first two chapters are an amazing story of how we come together to save the human species from an Earth Changing event that will keep you on the edge of your seat while providing you with NASA like science. To be part of this fascinating adventure is a gift from the author, who has brilliantly puppeteered a highly detailed scenario of humanities greatest catastrophe.
Solid piece of hard sci-fi
More conceptual and theoretical than most of his other work, but a welcome find for those who are tired of the barren state of theoretical science fiction. If you like Stephenson, you'll like this book.