A review of Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

UK cover

To continue my SF personal marathon, I just finished reading Seveneves by Stephenson.

Seveneves follows the consequences of the destruction of the moon by a mysterious Agent and their repercussions on Earth. Indeed, the multitude of rocks created by its destruction are going to ravage the surface of Earth in two years, killing everything on it, including the whole human race.

The only solution is to flee Earth and to wait several millenia so that the situation calms down. The book is following inhabitants of the International Space Station during the preparations but also after the destruction of Earth. However some events are going to disturb the plans made for their future…

The book also tells the story of the descendants of the human race, 5000 years later where they are going to reclaim Earth.

I really liked this book. My favorite aspect probably was the amazing characterization. All of the characters depicted are terribly human : some are likeable, other are so irritating that you want to enter the book to strangle them, but they all have in common the fact that they all think that what they do is for the best and they all have their reasons. I especially adored Dinah, a mining engeener, working in the ISS when the moon blew up.  Her relationship with her father was adorable and I never thought a Morse conversation was going to bring me to tears.

Oh well.

However, I won’t recommend this to someone who don’t like to read about science because this book is full of very long descriptive paragraph on science concept. I enjoy science and reading about it but I have to say that sometimes I was bored. Especially toward the ending where I wanted to see a little bit more of actions.

This book has a peculiar structure, the first two parts are basically about the destruction of the moon and the direct consequences of this like the sending of spaceship full of people on to ward the International Space Station (ISS), the modification of itto be able to sustain a lot more of human life than it was meant for etc… The third part however takes place 5000 years later and we follow the descendant who are now seven distinct race. This part is a lot more speculative since it’s based upon scientific concepts explained in the first parts but imagined as what they could be turned to be in the future.

I must say that I did not enjoyed this part quite as much because it kind of felt like an overlong epilogue. I felt like this could have been another novel entirely since it introduced a ton of informations and even if the ending was nice,  it left a lot of questions unanswered. I also felt like this part went a little too far on how much some things done 5000 years prior could influence humans and create seven races. I had a lot of problems to suspend my incredulity of the “going epi” thing that I didn’t find believable for a second… (if you read the book, you know what I mean by that…)

Overall, I enjoyed this book but I didn’t love it. I would recommend to you if you really like hard SF and you don’t mind very long passages on scientific expanation (some passages are 10 pages long by the way, I feel like I should mention it).

I will probably pick up other Stephenson books in the future, I am pretty interested by Anathem.

Rating :

★★★★

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