The astounding new novel from the master of science fiction. What would happen if the world were ending?
When a catastrophic event renders the Earth a ticking time bomb, it triggers a feverish race against the inevitable. An ambitious plan is devised to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere. But unforeseen 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.
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 at once extraordinary and eerily recognizable. He explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.
©2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited (P)2015 Neal Stephenson
"He makes reading so much fun it feels like a deadly sin." (The New York Times)
"Fast-forward free-style mall mythology for the 21st century." (William Gibson)
"[Stephenson is] the hacker Hemingway." (Newsweek)
Started strong, created, and then kinda just petered out. Ending was a bit droll. Some of the themes were questionable, and a few times hard line ideologies were unnecessarily pushed. While a few characters were interesting, most were pretty much predictable and one sided wooden personalities. For such a long book, a bit more character development, but he spent too much time stroking his own ego.
Worth a listen, but only if you ran out of things on your bucket-list.
The scope and ambition of this novel are staggering, and I can't think of another author who could hope pull something like this off successfully. I'm not convinced Stephenson has, but there's still much for fans to like.
The good: Stephenson's usual elements are all present and correct: physics, engineering, code breaking and a smattering of martial arts. The plot moves along at a decent clip for the most part, and the large cast is handled pretty well.
The bad: The pacing is a little uneven, and the plot losses impetus in the final third. More fat could have been trimmed in some parts too. That large cast and expansive plot don't leave too much time for character development either (with a few notable exceptions).
I'm less torn about Peter Brooke's performance. He took on a mammoth task with this one, and I'm afraid he fell short for me. He does competently for the most part, but a few of the accents were like nails on a chalkboard. If I read this again it'll be the paper version.
From the opening line this is a book full of emotion. For me the first two acts are the strongest and act three could have been the start of another book, but the whole is a sweeping epic that will just keep going.
Struggled to finish, note for the reader if you can't do accents don't even try
This is three completely different books abutted.
The first is a really good disaster story full of tech and plot and pace.
The second meanders through dumb political shenanigans in space but there is still good stuff to keep you going.
The third is completely disconnected from what went before, hard to follow, and uninteresting.
Get it for a credit but when the narrator says 5000 years later, do what the author should have and stop there.
Having listened to this I'd be very dubious about listening to another Neal Stephenson book. If it wasn't for The Better Half being such a big fan I'd give up on him entirely as this is the second book of his that I've felt let down by. As for Peter Brooke? No, I found his voice to be too nasal and off-putting.
No, but it has considerably reduced my enthusiasm for the author...
Yes he did, to a certain extent, but I didn't like his voice so that put me off a lot.
At first I was extremely intrigued and interested to see where he was taking the story but, the further on I got, the more disappointed I felt. I only finished it too see if it would pull itself back together at the end. It didn't.
After reading "The Diamond Age" and feeling that it was a great series of ideas that fell apart into an unintelligable mess near the end I was ready to give up on Neal Stephenson but The Better Half encouraged me to give him another try and I'm glad I did it on audiobook because there is no way I'd have persevered with this rubbish had I been reading it as a paper book. There's so many missed opportunites here. It's a book of three parts that all seem like they are rough sketches for three individual books in a series.
The first part could have been a treatise on the human condition and how it would cope with the end of the world. Instead we are introduced to a series of characters that, while having really interesting backgrounds, seem utterly devoid of emotion and we are left with something akin to a list of procedures and the human beings are just cyphers to hang the science on- a theme that continues throughout the book.
The second part could have been a truly fascinating take on a political thriller but, sadly, the main protagonists are removed from each other for most of the story, the whole thing dissolves into page after page after page (this is why I'm glad I listened to it rather than read it) of technical description of orbital mechanics and lectures on physics. It's fabulously well-researched but, by the gods is it dull, and I love this sort of geekery. Again, character and emotion is almost entirely absent. Oh, and one whole plotline is abandoned never to be heard from again (unless I missed something) in a very rushed finale.
Finally, the third part. Here we have some incredible ideas wrapped up in the thinnest of storylines but at least the robotic, emotionless nature of the characters is given some sort of reason for being so this time. A futurist vision of human society is explored in great mechanical detail but emotion is left far behind as the humans are just organic parts of the world-machine. All well and good but, just as we are given the chance to see the effect this has really had on the human race...the book just comes to an end and the entire third part comes across as a 200+ page epilogue.
I really wanted to like this. The initial premise is brilliant and the science is so well-researched but there's no life, character or human emotion here. The entire humn race is wiped out, ffs, and barely anybody bats an eyelid or sheds a tear, as they have jobs to be getting on with. There are some fabulous twists to the plot but they are all essentially wasted.
I have read that Mr. Stephenson spent nearly ten years working on this. Might I suggest that, next time, he might look to spending some of that time searching for a collaborator? Someone who can write real human beings and give a counterpoint to the hard science, perhaps.
this is more like two stories, one of which is unfinished. I loved parts of it and the ideas are great, but too much time is spent exposing in detail how things work. enjoyed it but would have enjoyed it more if it had been ten hours shorter. and if it hadn't felt like it just tailed off at the end.
"Not his best..."
I normally love the detail that the author puts into his stories, but this time it's just too much.
My ears did the aural equivalent of my eyes glazing over. It's technical - very, very technical.
I mostly listen to my books in the car and with this one I found myself blanking out large portions.
There are interesting bits, however, so it isn't a complete washout.
Oh, and some of the accents are way off! It would have been better that the narrator didn't attempt some of them.
"Narrator is really poor"
The narrator attempted to shift voices for the different characters, but is clearly not skilled enough to do it. One of the main character's sounded like frog every time he started speaking. Regional accents the narrator attempted are way way off.
"Fascinating journey into the future"
True to Stephenson's style, Seveneves chronicles a plausible journey into our future. There are many elements present that you will recognize from his previous works but these created a sense of familiarity in me rather than overuse. My overriding comment on the content is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
"great sci fi"
like two books in one. If you liked Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars you Will love this one.
"what did i just waste my time on?"
got it reccomended by a friend, the book is a neverending introduction with a forced conclusion. there are some interesting aspects and ideas sprinkled here and there, but noone of them are explored in any meaningful way.
"Great idea- and start - last third dragged on"
Loved the idea, just dragged on a bit. Narrator not a great job with the different voices
"Great story but a bit long"
Great story but a bit long. The tale of the consequences of major disruption to humanity is complete. There's even a yarn about how values change depending on expediency, and that takes an arrogant US president. Don't worry about loose ends left dangling through the story; most are tidied later on - but pay attention for the details !
"Brilliant and engaging"
A Sci Fi story that left me on the edge of my seat for countless moments. The science is rock solid and believable. The characters and the story arcs are very well developed and the ending leaves me yearning for more. I hope there's more one day.
"Great epic story line capturing your imagination"
I was pleasantly surprised by the scope of the story and coverage of eons of time, but still told through believable characters with every thing at stake.
I enjoyed reading and hearing Seveneves. This is a story spanning over 5000 years and it was gripping throughout.
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