A Review of Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson

Seveneves: A Novel

by Neal Stephenson

I was so excited while I was reading SeveNeves, I kept bugging my wife. I’d tell her how great the story was and how I had to keep reading it just a little bit longer. But then I hit Part 3.

I’m going to review this book as if it is two books. If you read Seveneves (Part 1 & 2), and then stop at that point, it is one of the best Science-Fiction disaster books you will ever read. It takes place in the near future. The events are realistic and believable. The story is done at the end of Part 2. The book could end right there and you wouldn’t feel like you were missing anything. You care about the characters, because they are complete, real people. You are happy with the story. It is complex, detailed, and satisfying. All the elements are there. It is a very fast read, because you won’t be able to put it down. You may as well decide that you won’t do anything else until you finish it. Just stop at the end of Part 2, and come back a week or two later and read the sequel, Seveneves (Part 3). So lets treat this book as if it was two separate books. We will all agree that Seveneves (Part 1 & 2) is a great book. But what about the other book?

Now if you are ready for Seveneves (Part 3), prepare yourself, Part 3 takes place 5000 years later. You really don’t care about the characters, because they are caricatures. The seven eves have borne seven human races that have gone on over those 5000 years to become nearly seven different human sub-species. They never had any interbreeding during the time when they were all confined together. Not very realistic. Maybe Part 3 is not a realistic Science Fiction story. Maybe it is supposed to be taken as an allegory, a comment on the human condition. That could be what Mr. Stephenson had in mind. That wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted more of the fabulous, detailed, tightly written, engaging story we got in Seveneves, Part 1 & 2.

I give Seveneves (Part 1 & 2) 5 Stars out of 5, and Two Big Thumbs Up! It is a great book! If you like a near future, hard science story, with fully formed characters, and a complex, detailed, exciting plot, then you will love this book. Read it in spite of Part 3. I may have to go back and read Part 3 in a few months. Maybe I will appreciate it more then. I hope that you are able to understand what I was missing when you read Seveneves.

I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from the publisher.

Book Description

Seveneves2From 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.

Book Details

Hardcover: 880 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (May 19, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062190377
ISBN-13: 978-0062190376
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds

About the Author

stephenson_neal_peter-von-felbert1Neal Town Stephenson (born October 31, 1959) is an American writer, known for his speculative fiction works, which have been variously categorized science fiction, historical fiction, maximalism, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk. Stephenson explores areas such as mathematics, cryptography, philosophy, currency, and the history of science. He also writes non-fiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired Magazine, and has worked part-time as an advisor for Blue Origin, a company (funded by Jeff Bezos) developing a manned sub-orbital launch system.

Born in Fort Meade, Maryland (home of the NSA and the National Cryptologic Museum) Stephenson came from a family comprising engineers and hard scientists he dubs “propeller heads”. His father is a professor of electrical engineering whose father was a physics professor; his mother worked in a biochemistry laboratory, while her father was a biochemistry professor. Stephenson’s family moved to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in 1960 and then to Ames, Iowa in 1966 where he graduated from Ames High School in 1977. Stephenson furthered his studies at Boston University. He first specialized in physics, then switched to geography after he found that it would allow him to spend more time on the university mainframe. He graduated in 1981 with a B.A. in Geography and a minor in physics. Since 1984, Stephenson has lived mostly in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Seattle with his family.

Neal Stephenson is the author of the three-volume historical epic “The Baroque Cycle” (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World) and the novels Cryptonomicon, The Diamond Age, Snow Crash, and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

 

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4 thoughts on “A Review of Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson”

  1. Hmm… I must say I think you’ve talked me into this despite the problem with Part 3. Parts 1 & 2 sound great and I’ve been meaning to try this author for a while.

    Like

  2. Actually, it is made clear in part 3 that there IS interbreeding, not only that, but two of the subraces have known tendencies towards having flings with each other. I think part 3 is the weakest part of the book, but it’s not bad. Give it another try.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, but interbreeding had to be minimal for there to be such distinctive groups after 5000 years.
      I am planning on revisiting part 3 this fall, maybe as an audiobook. I have a hold on the audiobook at my local library. Audiobooks often give me a different perspective, especially if I have already read the book.

      Like

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