11 Feb 2017


Seveneves, Neal Stephenson

Such an epic idea and series of ideas, with such realized potential that the structural flaws mostly around its ending only make me admire its epicness.

Let's do away with the flaws: the price, first of all. Twelve euros is steep for an e-book, but hell. And the narrative is too fast at the end. A hundred important things happen but all with very little tension, as if the plan was complete but the publisher rushed the book out the door.

To create tension, you miss twice then bullseye the third time. Let me be clear: the last sixth of Seveneves, after flawless execution of the first five sixths, is a string of bullseyes. All that's missing is the "misses," those teasing narrative events that tell you you're getting close to the big reveal but which make you think everything's gone to hell. It feels like Stephenson had the entire plan written out, but for the very last part the publisher rushed the book out the door. Nevertheless, since the GOOD parts got written, it's still a good read.

We're left with: A catastrophe novel of immense, epic ideas, relentlessly coming one after the other; A funny novel, with funny characters and an unthinkable optimism in the face of the most unthinkably biggest disasters that could ever occur; and bunch of good little stories within a good big story. Don't spend twelve euros, but read it.

Update: for some reason Google Plus is re-publishing this post every time I make a small change, while Google Blogger is reverting my text to old versions and deleting key paragraphs. Hopefully, this will be the last correction.