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Seveneves by Neal Stephenson


by Neal Stephenson

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

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4811343,647 (3.87)137
Recently added byrena75, Phalph, Natalia_Sh, Radrat70, jellyfishjones, private library, Richard.Castle
  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. 00
    The Martian by Andy Weir (hoddybook)
    hoddybook: Engineering solutions in stressful conditions.
  5. 00
    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.
  6. 00
    Reamde by Neal Stephenson (bookfitz)
  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. 03
    The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov (BeckyJG)
    BeckyJG: Both are narratives with a big, optimistic vision of the future of humanity.
  13. 010
    J.R.R. Tolkien Boxed Set (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 137 mentions

English (135)  German (3)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (140)
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
The first two thirds were great, lots of drama and challenges as people hastily scramble for survival. Stephenson isn't great at realistic social dynamics, but since that isn't the most important part of the story, I could happily overlook it. Then I got to the final third of the book, which emphasizes the growth of new cultures, and things went downhill fast. Still, I enjoyed the characters, especially Kath and her personal evolution. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
This is an amazing far reaching story about a catastrophic natural event. How humanity survives this event takes many forms. Sometimes the science involved went right over my head, but the story kept my interest. It's a long book. Even though I've finished reading it, I will be thinking and wondering about these characters for a long time. ( )
  cathemarie | Aug 8, 2018 |
This is a difficult book to review without discussing spoilers, but I will constrain most of my comments around what is in the book description on Goodreads and hide specifics as needed.

I didn’t love this. I was absolutely drawn forward to discover how it all came together in the end but experienced mixed feelings along the way.

First off, this is a very SCIENCE-Y science fiction book. As in, a tremendous volume of wordstuff is spent on explaining how shit happens in a non-fantasy, realistic manner. Particularly around orbital mechanics, space flight, ship design, and such. It becomes less “specific,” shall we say, when it gets to genetics. For me, I found far too much of the book dealing with mechanics and technology for my taste. I found technology to actually be the primary subject of the book, Seveneves is a paean to technology with human survival as the outcome of being really clever with technology.

Which, frankly, also seemed like an undercurrent of the story. How clever the author is for understanding the latest astronautical science. Impressive, yes. Good for the reader? Not really. It causes the book to teeter from science fiction novel into being a science fiction treatise.

Which takes me to the characters. I found them rather uninteresting. Yes, they had some personalities that were distinct from each other, but even those personalities seemed mechanical. Mostly they felt like props used to carry the future forward in Stephenson’s vision. Feeling as though you are really living with these characters is not Stephenson’s forte. He’s all about the ideas and the science.

For a near 900 page book that goes from the near future to the distant future, strangely, I felt like not a lot actually happens in the story. Odd if you know the premise. An apocalypse makes the earth uninhabitable for 4,000 years. The human race attempts to survive in outer space in space-station like conditions and eventually propagate our species once the earth returns to a habitable state. Yet oddly, the actually experiences of the characters are rather small. Working to survive. Surviving. Jumping forward 5000 years to see how the species turned out. Touring the future through the eyes of one of the future generation and learning the eventual disposition and situation on Earth. As far as the lives of the characters go…there’s not much to tell. Everything happens at the level of premise and concept. Which made the book overall feel rather cold and empty.

Last subject I want to tackle is the racial theme of the book. I think race is primarily a matter of culture. Why are different skin tones or facial structures (which break down when looked at too closely) considered to be “races?” How do races relate to geographic, religious, economic, or political isolation of groups? The answers are ambiguous and race is a concept more than a reality. A concept that causes significant oppression due to how people think about it. Cops see a black man they treat him differently than a white man because of their belief system about the concept of blackness. So what does Stephenson do with the concept of race? (The following is mentioned in the description, so I do not think this is a spoiler.) He actually projects a way to make races “concrete” and not concepts through genetic engineering. He posits a future based on seven genetically engineered “races” that are intentionally, genetically differentiated from each other to have distinct characteristics. He took an ambiguous concept and with highly questionable genetic science, made it essentialist. And I felt like the way he made it happen was also extremely far-fetched. Only seven women left, hence the title of the book, and they must breed initially with artificially created Y chromosomes. A sort of cloning. I do not believe he projected real science in this case. But either way, I find it a rather unpleasant premise to spin the future this way. And further, once the seven eves reproduced through a twist on parthenogenesis, why didn’t their kids immediately start having sex with each other? Why remain relatively “pure” for thousands of years? I found that a questionable assumption as well.

The prose was nothing exciting, it was carried by the complexity of the subject matter more than complexity of grammar. Serviceable and better than pulp but uninspiring. Overall, the book is carried by the momentum of wanting to know how things turn out. I could call it “plot driven,” but really the plot itself is rather sparse as far as the humans are concerned. It’s more in terms of, what happens to the human race? How do we turn out? I imagine Seveneves doesn’t really reflect reality, but it made for an interesting thought experiment. ( )
  David_David_Katzman | Jul 18, 2018 |
america-centered view of the world: not only are they the only ones who managed to survive on Earth (even in two independently executed schemes), they actually are the only ones who even tried?! ( )
  Caldez | May 10, 2018 |
Awesome! ( )
  Dithreabhach | May 8, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephenson, Nealprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hawker, BenResearchersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tobin, PaulResearchersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gräbener-Müller, JulianeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, AdamCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knowles, JonathanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pearce, ChristianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stingl, NikolausTranslatorsecondary 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 A+0.0.0, or 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

No descriptions found.

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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.… (more)

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