Neal Stephenson
Seveneves Cover

Seveneves: A Novel


Too much improbable technology, not enough humanity. At least for me, I am sure, others will differ.

This could have been an excellent book (or excellent trilogy) if Stephenson had gone a little easier on engineering details and focused a little bit more on his characters. We get very few emotional or societal reactions to the end of the world. Governments keep functioning, textile factories in Bangladesh keep producing, TV stations keep sending (with no mention of widespread riots), orchestras keep playing. People do their jobs as if nothing were going to happen - the only place very things go visible wrong is Venezuela. They are nuked, and everybody else just goes on. That is hard to believe.

As for the technology - half of it was just too much for me. About a third into the book I started skimming. The part I did read was not credible. Even assuming that hundreds of rockets and arklets could be thrown together within two years with barely anything going wrong - how does society last thousands of years up in space? Where did the raw materials for all the buildings up there come from? Their were enough computer and robot parts to last? Vitamins were a huge problem - until they weren't. How did people manage to remain sane? Remember their history? Speak English - the same English that people on Earth spoke 5000 years ago, and the same English that their descendents still spoke? Keep human bone structure sufficiently strong to be able to get back down despite have hardly any gravity? Terraform "New Earth" without major problems?

Sorry... don't buy it. It's very rare that I have a problem with suspension of disbelief, but this was just too much and too jarring.

Neither recommended nor recommended against.