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Seveneves

by Neal Stephenson

Other authors: Ben Hawker (Researcher), Paul Tobin (Researcher)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,9942132,453 (3.86)184
Five thousand years later after a catastrophic event rendered the Earth a ticking time bomb, the progeny of a handful of outer space explorers--seven distinct races now three billion strong--embark on yet another audacious journey: to return to Earth.
  1. 40
    Anathem by Neal Stephenson (Mind_Booster_Noori)
  2. 40
    Red Mars 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.
  3. 20
    The Forge of God by Greg Bear (JGolomb)
    JGolomb: All life on Earth is ending, and humanity runs for the stars
  4. 20
    The Martian by Andy Weir (hoddybook)
    hoddybook: Engineering solutions in stressful conditions.
  5. 10
    Reamde by Neal Stephenson (bookfitz)
  6. 00
    The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (g33kgrrl)
    g33kgrrl: When disaster hits and earth becomes uninhabitable, what happens next? Kowal's book is set in the 1950s, but should still satisfy the same itch that Seveneves does.
  7. 00
    Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven (Cecrow)
  8. 00
    Macrolife: A Mobile Utopia by George Zebrowski (tetrachromat)
  9. 11
    Schismatrix Plus 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.
  10. 22
    Ringworld by Larry Niven (JGolomb)
  11. 12
    Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson (JGolomb)
    JGolomb: Earth looks to space to save humankind. Seveneves is much better.
  12. 02
    The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr (themulhern)
    themulhern: Both books are about social media and connectedness turning people into bad decision makers.
  13. 03
    The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (BeckyJG)
    BeckyJG: Both are narratives with a big, optimistic vision of the future of humanity.
  14. 012
    The Hobbit / 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 184 mentions

English (207)  German (2)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (212)
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
Even though I liked the book a lot, it was ultimately somewhat anticlimactic and unsatisfying.

Much of the book is spent in describing the technological, biographical and other expository information. Even though it didn't feel entirely like the story was at a standstill at those moments, I felt like the exposition and the scenes (dialogue, action etc.) were too often separated where they might better have been combined.

In the end, the book creates an extremely rich world, and describes so much, that I feel like picking up a non-existent encyclopedia about it, just so that I can satisfy my curiosity on many of the subjects which were only touched on very briefly, but which nonetheless seem extremely interesting in their own right. ( )
  Bram-Kaandorp | Jun 26, 2022 |
Emersive and well developed sci fi story from Stephenson (as always). Exploring what it might look like if humans had to escape earth on short notice.
( )
  RandomWally | Jun 6, 2022 |
I picked this book from the Amazon bookstore in Seattle. A spontaneous purchase for the most part, justified in a way by my experience with Cryptonomicon.

Overall, I think that Neal is great at helping the reader visualize complex systems in intricate detail. This book had the advantage of a familiar setup (end of the world and such..) to explore some big moral and philosophical issues which lie at the core of each human; questions about identity, survival and community. The book did a great job setting up these questions in a gorgeously described universe and then failed to explore them.

More notes:
1. I rather enjoy Stephenson's forays into technological domains. For the most part these are grounded in valid science, a pre-requisite in my opinion for good science fiction. The details enhance the environment in which the story flows and the characters live. It is almost as if an understanding of the techno-background is required to appreciate the magnitude of challenges the characters face.

2. My biggest issue with the story and the characters was that it was for the most part black-and-white. People and factions were either good or bad (unusual, unless the story is told from the point of view of the people belonging to one of the factions). This strategy almost defeats the purpose of creating a rich environment with complex moral dilemmas with allusions to philosophical implications which by any reading of the human condition do not have easy answers. Take for example, the situation faced by the disconnected swarm. Since the overarching narrative focusses on the members of Izzy, we did not get to see the mental and physical challenges they faced. This continued into the Red-vs-Blue cold war.

3. Several reviewers have pointed this out and I'll say it again. The last chapter seemed a bit rushed and incomplete. If you remove the description of the technology and the phenotypes, there's not much left, in the story and the characters.

4. By the way, I'm sure that I was not the only one who could see the plot surprises coming up from quite a distance. ( )
  noisychannel | May 22, 2022 |
The first part is some solid hard SF and I adored it. We have the apocalypse, space politics, orbital mechanics, and a big old exciting quest to save the human race with comets and stuff. So far, so awesome. After the time-jump (2/3 through), the storytelling falls flat and I found myself skimming a little. The overall narrative is still pretty satisfying but I'm not feeling more than 3-stars. Maybe I'm just annoyed about the unnecessary loose ends introduced in the last part and the interminable exposition about glider technology.

I also vaguely remember Stephenson having a sense of humor I liked but I didn't see it much here. Maybe the plot (end of the world and all) was too dark to pull off the light-hearted stuff.

If you're not into the excruciatingly detailed technological stuff, steer clear and just read Snow Crash again. Man, Snow Crash was a cool book. ( )
  jdegagne | Apr 23, 2022 |
Ok, so I got as far as page 167, and decided a couple of things since the book is due back at the library.

I don't think I want to finish it. I also don't think I want to rate it. And none of that is because of any fault on the book's part -- in fact, it is a very very good book, well-written, good characters, compelling. Unfortunately, even though I love post-apocalyptic novels, I can't handle this level of realism, or this level of apocalypse. Too sad, too scary, and the idea of being trapped in space gives me the heebie jeebies.

At this point in the book the story is really just warming up -- the cataclysm is known but not yet occurred, and Stephenson is doing a bang-up job conveying sorrow and fear. At some point my need to know what happens may over-ride my unhappy feelings about this reality, but for now I'm setting it down. I'm walking away.
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
"Seveneves" is as hard as "hard science fiction" gets: cool bits of science and speculation about the future of technology, space and culture, with a plot and dialogue bolted on to make it more enjoyable to follow. That said, Stephenson's speculation is fascinating. He's got a lot to say about the physics of whips, glider transportation, military robotics, and everything else that can be crammed into his premise.
 
"None of this makes Seveneves the kind of hard SF in which you see a writer dutifully populating his universe with characters who have feelings even though you can tell he just wants to write about giant space gadgets. Stephenson’s people are vivid and terrified: they bicker and cry and perform heroic deeds."
added by bookfitz | editThe Guardian, Steven Poole (May 13, 2015)
 
"No slim fables or nerdy novellas for Stephenson (Anathem, 2008, etc.): his visions are epic, and he requires whole worlds—and, in this case, solar systems—to accommodate them."
added by bookfitz | editKirkus Reviews (Mar 15, 2015)
 
"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."
added by bookfitz | editPublishers Weekly (Mar 9, 2015)
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephenson, Nealprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hawker, BenResearchersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tobin, PaulResearchersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brooke, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Damron, WillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Galamb, ZoltánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gräbener-Müller, JulianeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, AdamCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knowles, JonathanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kowal, Mary RobinetteNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pearce, ChristianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Romero, Pedro JorgeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stingl, NikolausTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
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 A+0.0.0, or simply Zero.
Quotations
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (4)

Five thousand years later after a catastrophic event rendered the Earth a ticking time bomb, the progeny of a handful of outer space explorers--seven distinct races now three billion strong--embark on yet another audacious journey: to return to Earth.

No library descriptions found.

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
(T4NK)

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