Neal Stephenson has been on a roll recently, since Anathem, which I consider to be an amazing science-fiction novel. He naturally faced a quandary after writing so much cyberpunk that he had to reinvent new genres whilst writing his new books.
I have Anathem in three versions, two hardcover versions, one for European markets, one for American markets, and a digital version. Reamde was different, although interesting, it was far from being as compelling as Anathem.
Before writing Anathem, Stephenson had written a story in three volumes called The Baroque Cycle. It also took me a few tries to get through The Baroque Cycle, whose first tome had a difficult first 200 pages. But once you got past that, it was a rewarding read. In that sense, it reminded me of War & Peace.
Seveneves promised a return to science-fiction, after a few novels that encompassed more than one genre. The one thing that I enjoyed is that at least a third of the novel, the last third, takes place 5,000 years after the moon was destroyed. Naturally, like many such premises, Stephenson never elucidates the nature of the Agent, as he calls it in his book, the mechanism behind the destruction of the Moon.
I devoured Seveneves, reading through its 974 pages in a few days. I wasn’t disappointed. Like any novel, questions arise, and are posed after the initial reading. It was quite enjoyable. While I find it hard to compare to Anathem, which I last read a few years ago, it was an entertaining book, with its ups and downs.
There are more books hidden inside Seveneves, which we will never read. How did the Diggers survive, exactly? What happened to the Martian expedition from the swarm? The perspective of the story as seen from the viewpoint of the Pingers. It was clear that Aïda and Julia didn’t deserve to be cloned. Aïda, for her cannibalism, and Julia for her narcissistic recklessness. However, they did and this has consequences, thousands of years later. Seveneves is much better, in my opinion, that Alastair Reynolds’ vision of the 10K series, which I find quite disappointing compared to his best novels, Revelation Space, Pushing Ice, The Prefect, House of Suns…