by Neal Stephenson

Rating: ★★★★

A satisfying apocalypse. Stephenson spins up a real slow-motion disaster: from the very slow degradation of the moon into a firestorm that burns the Earth and boils the ocean, to the technological shitstorm that follows from mankind desperately attempting to figure out how, in two years, they can do more for space habitation than the entirety of the effort of the preceding half-century. Further yet, to the terrifying results of allowing a politician to be one of those who survive.

Notable for its frank embrace of genetic engineering, Seveneves could easily have been a multi-volume, generation-spanning epic in the vein of Kim Stanley Robinson. Instead we see a shortcut, with the perspective moving from the tense and claustrophobic first two segments, in which most of humanity is destroyed either in fire or horror, to a more easy-breathing conclusion, which pins a peg of hope and adventure at the end of the hard millenia.

Stephenson has a tendency to diverge into background and context amidst his scenes, which is perfectly acceptable when you're interested in the topic at hand. Readers who find technical explanations boring, or who are looking for a faster pace, will probably suffer. I wasn't one of those. If anything, I could have stood a little more, in the final third of the book -- a diversion to fully crack open this new dynamic of mankind before moving to the conclusion.