Seven Eves – Neal Stephenson
So what would happen if the Moon exploded?
This novel spends getting on to about 900 pages (867 in the hardback according to GoodReads) pondering just that.
On the whole, it does it rather well, dividing into three main parts.
First, the immediate aftermath of the Moon’s explosion and the consequences for the Earth when its inhabitants realise all life on earth is about to end too because of that explosion.
Second, what happens to those initial survivors of the end of the Earth when they escape into earth orbit?
Third, what happens to their long time descendants – many thousands of years in the future – when they can at last return to Earth?
All in all it is an excellent book and a marvellous achievement.
However, there are some places, especially in the first part of the book, where Stephenson does veer a little too near the dreaded info dump. Places where he spends what seems like more effort than is necessary for the sake of the narrative, on the minutiae of orbital calculations and other such details that tend to drag the story to a halt.
But it does get going again, and carries on far into the future and humanity’s struggle for survival and return to the Earth they abandoned so long ago, where some surprises await them.
It is a long book, and maybe some unevenness is only to be expected, but in the end, it is – I think – well worth the time and effort spent reading it.
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.