June 08, 2015 at 07:39 PM EDT

Seveneves

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Neal Stephenson
publisher
William Morrow
genre
Novel
We gave it an A-

In this wild tome where the moon explodes in the very first sentence, one of the best contemporary science-fiction writers gets in on the postapocalyptic game. The subject may be old hat—how does human society cope in the face of seismic change?—but Stephenson brings nuanced characters to life with both scientific savvy and riotous humor, elevating Seveneves beyond tropes. The nearly 900-page journey is a doozy, but Stephenson’s clever prose keeps it lively as he catapults readers from a Neil deGrasse Tyson-inspired scientist deciphering what “the Agent” did to the moon to exploring what became of humanity millennia later. Cataclysm has rarely been more fun. A–

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