[625]: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

22816087 HarperCollins | May 19th, 2015
Hardcover, 867 pages
Adult Fiction | Science Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain…

Five thousand years later, their progeny — seven distinct races now three billion strong — embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown … to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.

When I first started my very own minimalism movement, I made a list of things I needed to tackle: 3 closets, 4 toy boxes, a wall-to-wall bookshelf, bedrooms, and a number of bathroom sinks. As the list got longer, I felt daunted. It got worse when I was faced with the debacle that was my bookshelf. I don’t quite know what to do. It was a mess of books to keep, books to give away. When it was all laid out in stacks before me, I wanted to put them all back and forget about the whole thing. I took a break. Stepped back and imagined the big picture. I was coasting after that.

Seveneves is that kind of read. First of all, it’s a monster of a book, a Sci-Fi of all things. Which means, my brain was fried by the end of the first chapter. I’ve never fully committed myself to reading something as elaborately plotted as this book. But once I gave myself some time to think about it, I realize the feat of what I was able to accomplish. Seveneves is a story that spanned thousands of years into the future. It is jam-packed with space jargon. So much so that I would dare suggest it’s the closest thing to a Rocket Science textbook as I’m going to get. The most significant thing of all is that it’s a story completely lacking in human emotion. It’s dry and sterile – and just like every other Sci-Fi books I’ve ever read. Only more involved. So did I enjoy this book? Surprisingly enough, yes. Yes, I did.

This book has quite a good hook: “The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.” And just like that, the human race was on the clock to save whom and what they can before Earth is engulfed in hellfire. Bits and pieces of moon rock debris will create a hard rain of high-velocity ammunition destined to destroy life, as we know it. In the meantime, a space ark meant to sustain life into the future will carry a select number of astronomers, scientists, and members of the general population needed for the human race to go on.

Life in space is frightful enough as it is. But if you add politics and ego to the mix, you have less of a chance of life evolving into something better than what you’ve known. That’s exactly what happened. The space ark is built into little arklets that can break apart in case of damage. So when some of the population rebelled, they didn’t think about the consequences of their actions. Humans, even the educated ones, become stupid when they’re led by egos. Water is scarce, food as well. The onset of space dementia accelerates. Populations quickly lessen from a few hundred to less than twenty. Where is the hope for humanity now?

Thankfully, there were few level headed scientists who knew what needed to be done. And this is where the title of the book comes into play. I’m not going to say anymore because that’s part of the charm of this book. It made me wonder if the author built a story around his fondness for this palindrome. In which case, I’ll come out and say, brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Even though I had to get past 600-some odd pages before the title was explained, the journey to get there was torturous fun.

Seveneves is an exhaustive tale of the human race’s resilience no matter the odds. Where it gives us hope that we will go on, it’s also a sad revelation of our tendency to destroy each other at will. Be advised, the author is quite fond of long narratives. I would say it’s best to listen to the audio book, but even that nearly put me to sleep.


  • This book sounds absolutely fascinating! I read a review on it before and it sounded love the journey, although long, was worth it. Thanks for the review, Joy!

  • I’m sleepy enough as it is these days, so I really don’t need any more motivation 😉 Great review, though!!

  • This book is right up my alley. I’m a HUGE sci-fi fan, and some of my favourite reads have been the sci-fi books that make you think and pretty much reevaluate your whole life. I REALLY want to know what Seveneves means…definitely adding this on to the TBR

  • No. Glad you liked it but although the premise sounds interesting I know that long narratives and space jargon would put me to sleep. Not to mention how long it is! Interesting review however 🙂

  • I’ve never seen this book before… I’m not one to read lengthy books but when it sounds soo good, I just think I should just go for it. Especially since it’s scifi! I’m adding this to my tbr now!!! Crossing my fingers I’ll find it on local bookstores!!

  • So glad you liked this book Joy 😀 But gosh, so long. I’m not sure I could take it, lol. Probably not for me. But ahh, it do seem pretty exciting 😀 And you make me so curious. Ack. Thank you for sharing about it sweetie. <3

  • Jazmen

    This book could be the most amazing thing ever, and at 867 pages I still wouldn’t pick up. You’re good girl, because the way my patience is set up…

  • I don’t think I have the patience for this one, but it sounds like it’d be a fun movie!

    • I didn’t think so either, but the premise. Oh the premise is just too good to pass up.

  • I know you liked this one but 800+ pages and it’s dry and full of space jargon? I have a feeling I’m going to end up DNF’ing it so I won’t even bother putting this on my wishlist. I might consider watching the movie, lol.

    • Hahah! Perseverance was at an all-time high while I was reading this book. 😉

  • Yeahhh, the only time I’ll get to experience this book is if they turn it into a movie. I tried an excerpt of The Martian, can’t even finish the darn chapter but I enjoyed the movie very much. I’m sure this will fare the same as far as I’m concerned. Hehehe

    • I haven’t seen The Martian yet! I so want to watch it! I don’t know if this one would make for a great movie though. It didn’t have enough action, to be honest.

  • Do you know what this reminds me of? The 100. Which I don’t really like much, but I do love science fiction novels. And the fact that this is wayyyy into the future.

    I think I will maybe give this a try if I see it at the library. I feel like I might struggle with some of the terms, but I have overcome them in other sci-fi novels. So who knows?

    Awesome review Joy!

    • Oh yeah. The 100. It does have similarities, except this novel doesn’t have a Finn in it. 🙂

  • shootingstarsmag

    That’s great you really enjoyed this one. Sometimes you just never know! I don’t really like most sci-fi, so definitely not a read for me.


    • Me either. I just really like the idea of the moon exploding and the effects thereafter.

  • I don’t think this book is for me,
    Joy. Sci-Fi is not my genre, and a monster of a Sci-Fi book is definitely not
    for me. I continue to admire your strength and dedication to unclutter your

    • I don’t generally read Sci-Fi as well, but there was something about the book’s premise that called to me. I enjoyed it, nevertheless. 🙂

  • I haven’t read a lot of science fiction. This does sound interesting though. Sci-fi crossed with some politics. It is amazing how egos can get in the way of common sense. We are seeing that in the political environment today. I’m going to add this to my list, though I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to try it. I like the idea of it thought. Great review. 🙂

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

    • Le sigh. Yes. I’m very aware of the US politics right now. It’s so frustrating to witness, to be honest.

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    Hm. Not sure this is the book for me Joy. I haven’t been an overly patient reader lately, and I feel like this is the type of book that I would need to take in slowly in order to not get overwhelmed by all the space jargon you mentioned. So glad you stuck with it though and ended up enjoying it overall!

    • Patience and your full time concentration at times required!

  • Sci Fi is such an exhausting genre for me. I’m very picky about the books I do pick up in the genre. The concept sounds cool, but man does the book sound long. I’m glad you enjoyed this though, Joy! 🙂

    • It so is, Nick. This one doesn’t even have romance! I mean, that in itself is a wonder.

  • You know me, I love my science fiction. Yes, even the ones that can send some heads reeling like this one. But I am glad you were able to get through it despite all the sci-fi-ness and really enjoy it as well. 🙂 That has to be rewarding! And it sounds like it has such a cool hook, and the human survival element to this one is done so well too. Ahhh I want <3

    • It is a cool book, but daunting. Really, really daunting.

  • The library has it so…maybe

  • I’m glad you made it through and enjoyed it. I love all that science and space talk, so it was fine with me. But it does have it’s dry moments. I was really invested in the people and their stories, my heart even hurt a couple times. Those two certain characters who sacrificed themselves … it just kind of hit hard. Damn, I kind of want to read this again. I do wish we would’ve got more of what happened after it ended.

    • There were a lot of people who sacrificed themselves, but they were almost robotic? I didn’t feel a single pang of loss – which is very callous of me, I know. Welp. I’m glad I read this one, though. I’ve always been curious about astronomy and the oblivion of space, so this was long overdue. 🙂

  • The page count is intimidating, but I do love end of the world scenarios. Ones where people survive and beat the odds, of course. 🙂

    • Hahah! I know. I swear, my arms hurt. I may be sporting some wicked biceps. 🙂