Book of the Week: Seveneves – Neal Stephenson

Stevenson’s legion of fans will tell you that the appeal—time after time, book after book–is his ability to combine complex meditations on science, philosophy and technology with labyrinthine, pacey plots.

The epic scope of Seveneves takes in the end of humanity on Earth and the attempt of survivors to return 5,000 years later. My bookseller pal Carol Schneck at Schuler Books pointed out to me that the plot and title (pronounced “seven eves”) reference The Seven Daughters of Eve—a book on genetics and evolution which traces nearly all Europeans back to seven prehistoric “clan mothers.”

Whether he’s writing historical fiction, as he did in his magisterial Baroque Cycle or speculative fiction about monks saving the world, Stephenson ties disparate aspects of our human experience together in heady and head spinning ways.

Seveneves received superb advance reviews and is an Indie Next Pick. Expect it to debut at the top of the bestseller lists. NPR will do an in-depth profile on Morning Edition and it will be covered in Wired, Esquire, Forbes, Fast Company, New York Magazine, Mother Jones, National Review, Commentary, World Policy Journal, Scientific American, Nature, Artforum, New York Times Book Review, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle and Boston Globe.

“The huge scope and enormous depth of the latest novel from Stephenson is impressive… a major work of hard sf that all fans of the genre should read.”
Library Journal (starred review)

No slim fables or nerdy novellas for Stephenson: his visions are epic, and he requires whole worlds-and, in this case, solar systems-to accommodate them….Wise, witty, utterly well-crafted science fiction.”
– Kirkus Reviews

“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. When the moon explodes, it doesn’t take long for scientists…to realize that the debris will soon cause the destruction of Earth….The next two years are filled with heroic sacrifices, political upheavals, and disasters….The survivors—seven fertile women—are destined to repopulate the human race, and it’s only here, over halfway through the story, that Stephenson really shows his hand, moving ahead 5,000 years to explore the moral and political implications of the earlier events. There’s a ton to digest, but Stephenson’s lucid prose makes it worth the while.”
– Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Should you find yourself reading Stephenson’s epic in public, absorbed in the deeply technical and emotional unfolding of Earth’s fate, prepare yourself for your own surprise as you look up to find everyone in the cafe going about their lives as if everything is just as normal as it was the day before… Well-paced over three parts covering 5,000 years of humanity’s future, Stephenson’s monster of a book is likely to dominate your 2015 sf-reading experience.”

“Here’s Neal Stephenson doing what he does so well: putting smart, inventive characters into extreme situations with interesting technology, and weaving a spellbinding narrative in the process.…[U]ltimately, the enjoyment that comes from reading Seveneves is the result of Stephenson’s consummate skill as a worldbuilder, as someone intensely interested in technology and our relationship with it, and as an outstanding novelist who gives us unforgettable characters in a story where we can’t wait to see what happens next. Absolutely stunning!”
– Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books and Music, Okemos, MI

Seveneves (9780062190376) by Neal Stephenson. $35.00 hardcover. 5/19 one day laydown.

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