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Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson

Seveneves: A Novel (edition 2015)

by Neal Stephenson

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1,7591034,006 (3.91)124
Title:Seveneves: A Novel
Authors:Neal Stephenson
Info:William Morrow (2015), Edition: 1St Edition, Hardcover, 880 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Science Fiction

Work details

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

  1. 30
    Red Mars (Mars Trilogy) by Kim Stanley Robinson (psybre)
    psybre: Each book contains detailed methods and thinking that goes into solving space-colonization and space disaster issues. They also infuse the issues with politics.
  2. 20
    The Forge of God by Greg Bear (JGolomb)
    JGolomb: All life on Earth is ending, and humanity runs for the stars
  3. 20
    Anathem by Neal Stephenson (Mind_Booster_Noori)
  4. 21
    Ringworld by Larry Niven (JGolomb)
  5. 00
    Macrolife: A Mobile Utopia by George Zebrowski (tetrachromat)
  6. 00
    Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven (Cecrow)
  7. 11
    Schismatrix Plus (Complete Shapers-Mechanists Universe) by Bruce Sterling (szarka)
    szarka: Seveneves and Sterling's Shapers-Mechanists stories are both concerned with what happens to humanity over long spans of time.
  8. 11
    Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson (JGolomb)
    JGolomb: Earth looks to space to save humankind. Seveneves is much better.
  9. 01
    The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (BeckyJG)
    BeckyJG: Both are narratives with a big, optimistic vision of the future of humanity.
  10. 07
    The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (JGolomb)
    JGolomb: While not fantasy, Stephenson's work does an amazing job of building Middle-Earth-like mythology.

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» See also 124 mentions

English (103)  German (3)  French (1)  All (107)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Really great hard near-future sci-fi novel. Really hit the mark and made me think a lot. ( )
  Guide2 | May 29, 2017 |
This is quite an amazing hard scifi epic that spans a 5,000 year history between an apocalyptic destruction of nearly all life on earth, through the survival of a chunk of humanity in space after being whittled down to seven ( 1) women and the final return to earth and its re-terraforming. It is a very long novel, full of the kind of detail expected from good hard scifi. I am not a physicist or astronomer, and my knowledge of celestial mechanics is rather rudimentary, so I cannot comment much on the scientific rigor of those aspects of the story. They seem to be in good order, as far as my expertise goes.

The only criticism I have is from the biological side, and more specifically the genetics of the story, something on which I am more qualified to comment. It is difficult to place exactly what the historical setting is, but it doesn't seem to be too far in the future when the break-up of the moon occurs. I think that the author overestimates the degree to which geneticists will understand the relationship between genome sequence and phenotype. For the genetic manipulations described at the "seven Eves" stage of the story seem too focused and precise (and too technologically sophisticated) to be possible, even at some future time, given what we know about the genome sequence and its effect on complex phenotypes such as emotional traits and intelligence. It may be possible that at some future time such manipulations could become possible, but given the complexity of genomes and the statistical nature of phenotypic expression, I have my doubt that what is described in the story would be possible in the historical time-frame of the story. This includes the reintroduction of the male sex by reconstruction of the Y chromosome, a feat that may never be possible, although time will tell.

Another genetic aspect that gave me pause was the author's description and application of epigenetics. Epigenetics, as currently understood, is fairly limited in its effects on phenotype, once an individual is mature. The description of what is called "going epi," in which an individual human or animal goes through some kind of rapid shift in phenotype due to presumable epigenetic changes seems unrealistic. It was an interesting story device, but may be overplayed a bit. Still, in spite of these shortcomings in the area of genetics, it is a great read. ( )
  bness2 | May 23, 2017 |
An almost-great winner by Stephenson again. The first half of the sprawling 850+ page novel was riveting, as good as Reamde and worthy of as much praise. The second half of the book invoked a sad, worn-out "five thousand years later" trope that reminded me of hack SciFi from the 70s. The world developed there was interesting, but ultimately a let down. ( )
  DaveWalk | Apr 25, 2017 |
The moon blows up, or is hit by something (we never DO find out), and breaks in half (but not perfectly). Then those two pieces hit each other with enough force to become 4, etc. Of course that fucks up things on Earth, and (in an astonishing show of cooperation) the various countries agree to send two young people, a boy and a girl, chosen by lot by each country, up to a space station, so that we can continue the species as the moon eventually turns into a million little pieces and rains down on the Earth.

The people on the space station do NOT live in peace and harmony and eventually they are just 8 women and a spare scientist who does not have healthy sperm. And they are responsible for recreating the species.

This starts out as light science fiction, more about the people than the planets, but eventually gets into heavy science as the complications of space travel accumulate. And five thousand years later, as the planet has become almost inhabitable again, we have 8 different races of people living on Earth, only the top half of which is inhabitable, trying to kill one another. It says some gruesome comments about the species and human nature, but it's a page turner just the same.

On the plus side, nowhere does Stephenson fall into that sentimental notion that a society created by women would be full of peace and love and wouldn't fall into chaos. ( )
  minxcr1964 | Apr 24, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Oh, Neal Stephenson. I keep trying to read you, expecting something different, and I keep feeling unsatisfied at the end.

First, a bit of context. The Stephenson I've read in the past has presented a bit of a pattern to me. He manages some of the best world-building I have ever read. His understanding of society and the way it reacts to new circumstances or technology is inspired, bordering on prescient. He truly understands the way that people AS A GROUP will react, and can use that insight to generate a thoroughly inventive and entertaining world.

But, and here is the part that distances me, he cannot seem to translate the way he writes about people down to the level of a person. That is, his individual characters are broad-stroke caricatures, or else puppets whose strings are clearly pulled by the requirements of the narrative. I did not find myself truly invested in any of them -- while on a macro level, I was thoroughly invested in the fate of the human race as a whole.

The result was an odd dichotomy of experience. I found that I did not thoroughly enjoy any single part of the book, and yet it has stuck with me. The subjects it raised have come up in conversations, especially late-night philosophical discussions over a nice glass of wine. It is the epitome of a book that I am glad to have read, but would not ordinarily have chosen to actually read.

In terms of recommendation, it all depends on how you like your sci-fi. If you're interested in big, broad strokes of characters, detailed population world building, and some nitty-gritty science in your sci-fi, then you'll love it. If you are looking for a personal story, people you care about, and an outcome that makes the sci-fi real, then you may want to skim or move on. ( )
  shabacus | Apr 6, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephenson, Nealprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hawker, BenResearchersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tobin, PaulResearchersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, AdamCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knowles, JonathanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pearce, ChristianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Jaime, Maria, Marco, and Jeff
First words
The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason. The time was 05:03:12 UTC. Later it would be designated…simply Zero.
But Henry wasn't a parent, and he didn't understand that when you were, almost nothing was more satisfying than seeing your kid sleep.
She then called a meeting of the entire human race: Dinah, Ivy, Moira, Tekla, Julia, Aïda, Camila, and Luisa.
Smiling, Aïda thrust her hand out, thumb down.
“I pronounce a curse,” she said. Luisa let out an exasperated sigh. “This is not a curse that I create. It is not a curse on your children. No. I have never been as bad as you all think that I am. This is a curse that you have created, by doing this thing that you are about to do. And it is a curse upon my children. Because I know. I see how it is to be. I am the evil one. The cannibal. The one who would not go along. My children, no matter what decision I make, will forever be different from your children. Because make no mistake. What you have decided to do is to create new races. Seven new races. They will be separate and distinct forever, as much as you, Moira, are from Ivy. They will never merge into a single human race again, because that is not the way of humanity. Thousands of years from now, the descendants of you six will look at my descendants and say, ‘Ah, look, there is a child of Aïda, the cannibal, the evil one, the cursed one.’ They will cross the street to avoid my children; they will spit on the ground. This is the thing that you have done by making this decision. I will shape my child—my children, for I shall have many—to bear up under this curse. To survive it. And to prevail.” Aïda swept her gaze around the room, staring with her deep black eyes into the face of each of the other women in turn, then looked into the window and locked eyes with Dinah.
“I pronounce it,” she said, then slowly rotated her hand until her thumb was pointed up.
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Book description
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.
Haiku summary
Moon in seven parts
Destroys all life on the Earth
But man will survive

A seven-piece moon
A bombardment of the Earth
Humans must survive

The Moon is destroyed
Humans escape to cold Space
From Seven, many

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