Neal Stephenson

“When the Bolide Fragmentation Rate shot up through a certain level on Day 701, marking the formal beginning of the White Sky, a number of cultural organizations launched programs that they had been planning since around the time of the Crater Lake announcement. Many of these were broadcast on shortwave radio, and so Ivy had her pick of programs from Notre Dame, Westminster Abbey, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Tiananmen Square, the Potala Palace, the Great Pyramids, the Wailing Wall.

After sampling all of them she locked her radio dial on Notre Dame, where they were holding the Vigil for the End of the World and would continue doing so until the cathedral fell down in ruins upon the performers’ heads and extinguished all life in the remains of the building. She couldn’t watch it, since video bandwidth was scarce, but she could imagine it well: the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, its ranks swollen by the most prestigious musicians of the Francophone world, all dressed in white tie and tails, ball gowns and tiaras, performing in shifts around the clock, playing a few secular classics but emphasizing the sacred repertoire: masses and requiems. The music was marred by the occasional thud, which she took to be the sonic booms of incoming bolides. In most cases the musicians played right through. Sometimes a singer would skip a beat. An especially big boom produced screams and howls of dismay from the audience, blended with the clank and clatter of shattered stained glass raining to the cathedral’s stone floor. But for the most part the music played sweetly, until it didn’t. Then there was nothing.”


Neal Stephenson, Seveneves
tags: apocalypse
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Seveneves Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
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