Review by Ryan.
Book by Neal Stephenson.
“The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.”
Reads the first line of Neal Stephenson’s latest sci-fi epic, Seven Eves. The hefty tome, which weighs in at 861 pages in hardback is about par for the long-winded, big dreaming author. Contained within are really two fantastic stories imagining the fate of humanity after a world-ending disaster. In the first part, or rather two parts as this story itself is divided, Stephenson entwines a fantastic story with myriad characters around the fascinating thought experiment: what if we knew for a fact that Earth would become uninhabitable in two years?
The ensuing tale is a delightful mix of physics lessons, orbital mechanics, interpersonal drama, and an ever-increasing sense of doom approaching with each page turned. Stephenson has clearly done some research and solidifies his place amongst the nerd pantheon with detailed explanations of the technology and mathematics and theories involved, while keeping things readable enough for the lay person by ending a complex explanation with pithy summaries like
“The function of Parambulator was to give its users an Olympian perspective on all that was happening in that network, and at some level all you really needed to know about it was that scary things were shown in red.”
As the few remaining humans flee the doomed planet and embark on their quest that the book itself declares “The Epic” their trials and tribulations put the very survival of the human race at stake. In the end, however, (spoilers…sorta) humanity survives! The remaining half of the book utilizes the first half as a kind of creation myth, one that is real and has surviving digital footage of it to frame the Earth that humanity is only just returning to 5000 years later.
Join a new cast of characters, descended from their refugee ancestors as they journey on what is part tour of the “new earth” and its orbital habitats and part epic geopolitical tale in its own right as the seeds sown in the migration from and back to earth reverberate through the future races of humanity descended from their Seven Eves.