Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Seveneves (Science Fiction Novel)

Amazing. Absolutely amazing and well-written. While Uprooted won my heart, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson gets my vote for the best written of the four Hugo Award nominees that I’ve read so far. The story felt real. [[In a teeny, tiny nutshell, Seveneves is about the sudden end of the world as we know it and the beginning of a new world.]] The other day I had to catch myself when I remembered something about the International Space Station: “Oh, that happened in Seveneves not in real life.” The amount of scientific and technological detail is almost stagger. The social, psychological, and philosophical aspects of the story make it astonishingly multi-dimensional. Stephenson's ability to create one smooth plot arch, despite the beginning and ending of the book being five thousand years apart, is sheer writing mastery. I also appreciated that the novel is written in a way that leaves room for a possible sequel.

Not declaring Seveneves my obvious choice for the Hugo Award has little to do with the merits of the novel itself. My only real criticism of the novel is that it is a bit of a stretch believing that the society would continue to focus on the “seven Eves” five thousand years after they lived. Though, I admit, we still hold some religious figures in prominence thousands of years after they have lived. In addition, two things about the novel irritated me. Politics, damned politics. I’ve had enough dealing with the presidential election. So, when I read the section where politics almost succeed in bringing about the annihilation of the human race, I felt deflated. I thought “as a species we are so screwed.” Second, the amount of technical detail is a bit overwhelming. Seveneves is over 800 pages long. Towards the end I felt like screaming, “Enough of the technological detail. Let’s get on with the story.”

All and all, Seveneves is an amazing book. I am curious to see what the Hugo voters decide.

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