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A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Anathem, Reamde, and Cryptonomicon comes 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.

A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable. As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant.

From Publishers Weekly

Mar 09, 2015 – Stephenson's remarkable novel is deceptively complex, a disaster story and transhumanism tale that serves as the delivery mechanism for a series of technical and sociological visions. When the moon explodes, it doesn't take long for scientists (including Doc "Doob" Dubois, who bears no small resemblance to Neil DeGrasse Tyson) to realize that the debris will soon cause the destruction of Earth. The residents of the International Space Station, including roboticist Dinah MacQuarie and commander Ivy Xiao, immediately begin working with their colleagues on Earth to turn the ISS into a viable habitat for as many people as possible. The next two years are filled with heroic sacrifices, political upheavals, and disasters, most of which are only exacerbated when Earth finally succumbs to the "Hard Rain," meteorite bombardment that last for millennia. The survivors seven fertile women are destined to repopulate the human race, and it's only here, over halfway through the story, that Stephenson (the Baroque Cycle) really shows his hand, moving ahead 5,000 years to explore the moral and political implications of the earlier events. There's a ton to digest, but Stephenson's lucid prose makes it worth the while.

Customer Reviews

Great story!!

Wow!! Great epic, hard to put down

Very good and entertaining…for the most part

I am a fan of Neal Stephenson and I have read many of his books. I enjoy his prose style as well as meticulous approach to describing environment, characters and the way he sets up situations.

The first two parts of the book do an excellent job of weaving into the story a primer on the orbital mechanics involved in launching people into space, moving them around around the solar system, space station technology, human in space issues as well as the process through which the exploded moon would eventually rain down fragments on earth. He manages to do that while developing his main characters and telling a compelling story from individual human perspective as well as humanity.

The last part of the bok (the 5,000 year jump) has a good story to tell about humanity’s resilience and some of its less admirable flaws. However, I feel that the story takes second seat to some times excessively long winded and elaborate descriptions of space habitats or means of moving people around or back down to earth. I have noted and annoying tendency of Stephenson to repeat certain phrases (eg. « in another words » or « that meant » ). In fact this part reminds me of the last section of Anathem (another of his otherwise excellent novels).

Despite a last section that is not as strong as the first two (in my opinion), The overall product is excellent and I highly recommend it.

Great story and characters!

I loved this sci-fi novel. For someone with absolutely no scientific background, the last part about how things were built was difficult to understand. I should have taken a break but I couldn't stop reading. Definitely will read more books from this author.

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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Science Fiction
  • Published: May 19, 2015
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 880 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings