Gary's Reviews > Seveneves

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
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really liked it

Seveneves is everything you expect from a Stephenson novel: exhaustively researched, obsessively detailed, painstakingly crafted. Stephenson doesn't just tell a story here, he creates a world of stories, of people guided by narratives that precede them and by those they generate moving forward. Some are encoded at the genetic level while others are culturally ingrained. Both, to varying degrees, inform the other.
What made Seveneves an experience as enthralling as it was frustrating was the way these stories were so engrossing through the first two thirds of the novel (when we are following an attempt by a small portion of the human race to survive the destruction of the Earth's surface), only to reach some disappointingly pat conclusions in the final third. Not that Stephenson's reinvention of the human race in act three isn't highly imaginative and utterly fascinating - it certainly is, only it left me with feeling a little deflated, as if those first two thirds were tendentiously engineered to generate this particular result. There's a kind of pseudo-explanation (or excuse?) for this at the very end (cryptically, and somewhat hilariously, referred to as The Purpose), and an opening left for further explorations of Stephenson's meticulously designed reboot of the human race. Seveneves is an admirable accomplishment despite its flaws, and well worth the effort it takes to read it, but it's more than a little ironic that the very obsessions that make Stephenson such a brilliant writer of science fiction also prevent this terrific novel from being a masterpiece.
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Reading Progress

March 6, 2015 – Shelved
March 6, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
June 6, 2015 – Started Reading
June 6, 2015 –
page 62
7.05%
June 9, 2015 –
page 89
10.11%
June 9, 2015 –
page 105
11.93%
June 10, 2015 –
page 154
17.5%
June 11, 2015 –
page 196
22.27%
June 12, 2015 –
page 244
27.73%
June 16, 2015 –
page 288
32.73%
June 17, 2015 –
page 339
38.52%
June 18, 2015 –
page 381
43.3%
June 22, 2015 –
page 434
49.32%
June 25, 2015 –
page 506
57.5%
June 27, 2015 –
page 549
62.39%
June 29, 2015 –
page 575
65.34%
July 3, 2015 –
page 611
69.43%
July 11, 2015 –
page 626
71.14%
July 18, 2015 –
page 674
76.59%
July 25, 2015 –
page 708
80.45%
July 31, 2015 –
page 716
81.36%
August 11, 2015 –
page 735
83.52%
August 13, 2015 –
page 774
87.95%
August 14, 2015 –
page 820
93.18%
August 18, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by William (new) - added it

William Thank you for the review!

This is again on my top-to-read list, although perhaps it shouldn’t be.


Monica Great review!! I'm not quite finished yet, but this appears to be spot on!!


Gary Monica wrote: "Great review!! I'm not quite finished yet, but this appears to be spot on!!"

Thanks, Monica!


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