BOOK REVIEW: SEVENEVES


TITLE:  SEVENEVES

AUTHOR: Neal Stephenson

BLURB: 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.

The best way for me to describe this novel would be to call it The Silmarillion in Space. It’s almost as epic and mythical as Tolkien’s major work behind The Lord of The Rings and at times just as much hard work to read. In fairness it is described as ‘hard science fiction’ and while I am a sci-fi fan I’m not a tech head and so the laboured, for me, passages giving intricate details of the hardware and space survival techniques left me cold.

I’m much more interested in the story itself and despite the work required to keep with the 800+ pages the story was engaging enough to keep me turning the page – if somewhat slower than I would have normally. In effect, this could quite easily have been a three book series and as with most series of that nature, the second installment would have been the weakest. In a nutshell, the story is set out as a sequence of preparing for the apocalypse, surviving apocalypse and ‘humanity: the reboot’. While all three were extremely well written for me the third installment was the most exciting and held endless possibilities. It’s crucial if you do decide to read this serious piece of science fiction that you put every effort into absorbing the characters – despite the volume – as you can.

Seveneves is one of those rare books that both make you think and entertain you at the same time and in equal measures, but what else would you expect when it found its way onto the recommended reading list of both Bill Gates (loved the tech no doubt) and Barack Obama (politics all the way).

What I Did Like:  The important issues it managed to weave into a work of fiction and the story as it unfolds.
What I Didn’t Like: Sorry ‘real’ sci-fi fans but the tech detail was just too much for me.

 

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