Have You Read Seveneves?

seveneves_book_coverRemember when The Martian was the hottest book around? I’m hesitant to say that “everyone” was reading about it and recommending it, but it was one of those books that kind of felt that way.

Well, while I might be a few months too late, I think Seveneves is 2016’s The Martian.

Before I say anything else, I want to preface this entry with a few disclaimers:

  1. I haven’t finished the book. My Kindle tells me I’m 70% of the way through. I’m totally hooked, though, and I’ve found every excuse to read it over the last week.
  2. Anything I mention below is information that you will know if you read the first 1-2 chapters.
  3. DO NOT read the description on Amazon or even the back cover of the book. It’s a HUGE spoiler. Really. Don’t read it.

With that out of the way, here’s the deal with Seveneves (said like “seven Eves”): It’s set in the very near future, so it doesn’t read like sci fi at all. Rather, it’s very much in the style of The Martian–the science is current and real, and the author (Neal Stephenson) describes it with meticulous precision. Occasionally it’s a little too detailed, and I’ve skimmed some paragraphs.

The book starts off–literally the first sentence–with the moon exploding. The book is not about why the moon exploded–that mystery is soon forgotten. Rather, it’s about what’s going to happen because the moon exploded: Within a few years, the moon is going to disintegrate into so many fast-moving pieces that they will pelt the Earth. It’s an extinction event.

So people have a few years to try to figure out how to preserve humankind. The solution–again, this is all within the first few chapters–is send as many people up into space to rebuild civilization while the Earth is destroyed and reborn, a process that will take 5 thousand years. 5 thousand!

Remember, this is near future, so they basically have to figure it out using the resources that are available to us today. And at first it just seems impossible. You could survive a few months in space, maybe a few years, but 5 thousand years? In outer space?

The amazing thing is that that the book will make you believe that it’s possible. At least, enough so that you’ll keep reading.

I’m loving Seveneves. Just like The Martian, I can’t put it down. I want to know the ending. Then I want a movie. And maybe a board game.

I’d love to hear your thousands on the book if/when you read it. Though, if you want to say anything about what happens after the first few chapters, please tag it with “spoiler.”