Twenty-Fifteen: I’m doing something I’ve been putting off for far too long. I’m getting serious about reading, again. I’ve dusted off my paperbacks and charged up my Kindle. It’s time to take the time to feed my poor television-adled brain with a selection of healthy, nourishing fiction. So, read on, little brain. Read on. We’re going Book to the Future!
After bragging up my eager consumption of Neal Stephenson’s latest doorstop of a novel “Seveneves” I must admit I lost some momentum.
Six hundred pages into the nearly nine hundred page novel the story did me the same favour. So, I suppose it’s only fair.
To the credit of the author, it picks up speed again after a weighty thumb-thick stack of pages, but any story that straddles a time gap of fifty centuries by ending an engaging narrative with an abrupt conclusion and follows that by simply stating “Five Thousand Years Later” is going to have a few struggles with keeping the reader fully engaged.
I fell off the wagon, and picked away a few dozen pages here and there until I found myself pulled back into the far future action. If it wasn’t for all that lost steam the book would have rated and easy five stars (but I can’t fairly give it full grade, considering.)
After all, the story is truly epic, and Stephenson has done a mind-bending job of world building even as he tears the Earth to shreds in the wake of his story. Many of the characters are rich and unique, save for a few of the secondary players who blur together as the action speeds along, and the complexity of technological ideas and orbital mechanics that interlope through the story rate a reader (at the very least) a deserved and well-enjoyed university credit in introductory physics.
This might turn some off, but anyone who calls themselves a fan of Stephenson for either his rich technical description mixed through his stories or for the scope and scale of his packed long-view perspective will enjoy the ride from “Seveneves.” I kinda wish I had the spare time to read it through once again, actually.