Saturday, August 29, 2015


Neal Stephenson


Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian Fiction

Summary (from Goodreads): An exciting and thought-provoking science fiction epic—a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years.

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.

Review:  The premise of this book was fascinating - what would happen if the people of the world found out that it was going to be destroyed in two years?  The majority of the story focuses on how engineers jury-rig the International Space Station to be able to support enough people to continue the human race.  While this section was well-written, interesting, compelling and somewhat plausible, I thought there was too much focus on technical space engineering, and not enough on the emotions of the main characters.  This section ended too abruptly for me, just at a time when I was getting really interested in how the remaining survivors would manage to survive longer.  The last quarter of the book skips ahead 5000 years, and giving a glimpse into how humanity has managed to survive, and how they attempt to return to Earth.  I would have preferred more information, more emotion from the characters, and more believability.  And again, the ending was too abrupt.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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