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by Neal Stephenson
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I feel like the 4 stars I rated this is misleading.
If you take the book in the 2 halves in which it's written, the first half easily deserves 5 stars. And the second half maybe 3.
Again, Stephenson writes us a world with rich characters, a fantastic eye for technical detail and a clear love of language. His imagination is staggering in breadth.
But the ending. MY GOD, MAN. THE ENDING. Neal. Mr. Stephenson. Sir. PLEASE. Stop doing this to us. Stop building beautiful worlds with fantastic characters we're bound to love and then just dropping the whole thing on its head in 30 pages to finish the damn thing. Please. If it will help, I'll contact your publisher and beg for the extension myself.
I was so happy (SO HAPPY) when the first half had an actual resolution. Everything was followed through. Loose ends were tied, plots were resolved. It was beautiful. And then there was the second half. Which needed another 400 or 500 pages and as much love lavished on it as the first half had. This book could easily have been a duology or better yet a trilogy with a whole section still to come.
But it's not there. The second half of this book is a chapter. It's a chapter that's several hundred pages long, and will leave you wanting another third of a book you're never going to get.
Read the first half. Leave yourself some time to curl up and really savor it.
And then pound some caffeine and chug through the second half as fast as you can, because that's all it deserves, and more time than you'll want to spend on it. Which is a real shame, because there was a character there I really wanted to have time to like. And if the second half had been written half as carefully as the first half, there would have been several more.
I really loved the story, but if it would have been less 'wordy' I would have loved the book. Maybe that sounds crude. Oh well.
"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. Stephensonâs people are vivid and terrified: they bicker and cry and perform heroic deeds."
"No slim fables or nerdy novellas for Stephenson (Anathem, 2008, etc.): his visions are epic, and he requires whole worldsâand, in this case, solar systemsâto accommodate them."
"Stephensonâs 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."
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Fiction. Science Fiction. Thriller. HTML:
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon comes an exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epicâ??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 progenyâ??seven distinct races now three billion strongâ??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 brilli
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.54Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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I felt like the author neglected the psychological impact of living in space for years, though, along with the destruction of planet Earth. I think he kind of glazed over that.