Seveneves is a hard science fiction novel by Neal Stephenson published in 2015. The story tells of the desperate efforts to preserve Homo sapiens in the wake of apocalyptic events on Earth following the unexplained disintegration of the Moon, the remaking of human society as a space-based civilization after a severe genetic bottleneck. At some unspecified date in the near future, an unknown agent causes the Moon to shatter into seven pieces; as the remnants of the Moon begin to collide with one another and science popularizer "Doc" Dubois Harris calculates that the number of collisions will increase exponentially. A large number of Moon fragments will begin entering Earth's atmosphere, forming a "white sky" and blanketing the Earth within two years with what he calls a "Hard Rain" of bolides, it is decided to evacuate as many people and resources as possible to a "Cloud Ark" in orbit, including a "swarm" of "arklet" habitats that will be able to avoid the debris from the Moon—both to attempt to preserve the human race and to give the remaining doomed inhabitants of Earth something to hope for, to prevent civil disorder from breaking out on Earth before its surface is destroyed.
Each nation on Earth is invited to choose by lot a small number of young people to become eligible to join the Cloud Ark. The Cloud Ark is to be based around the International Space Station commanded by American astronaut Ivy Xiao; the ISS is bolted onto an iron Arjuna asteroid called Amalthea, which provides some protection against Moon debris. Robots are used to excavate Amalthea to provide more protection in a project run by mining and robotics engineer Dinah MacQuarie. Technicians and specialists, including Doc Dubois, are sent to the ISS in advance of the Hard Rain to prepare it to become the headquarters of the Cloud Ark; the plan is that the Cloud Ark must be self-sufficient for 5,000 years and capable of repopulating Earth once it is habitable again. A Human Genetic Archive is sent to the Cloud Ark, with the intention that it will be used to rebuild the human population. 1,500 people are launched into space in the two years before the Hard Rain begins. Suspecting that some architects of the Cloud Ark are interested only in pacifying Earth's inhabitants with false hope, a billionaire named Sean Probst realizes that the Cloud Ark will need a ready supply of water in order to provide propellant for the space station and to prevent it from falling into the Earth's atmosphere.
He embarks on a two-year expedition to extract ice from a comet nicknamed Greg's Skeleton, using a nuclear reactor to provide power to bring it back towards Earth. The Hard Rain begins two years after the destruction of the Moon as predicted. Markus Leuker, appointed leader of the Cloud Ark, declares all nations of Earth to be dissolved, imposes martial law under the Cloud Ark Constitution. Despite a worldwide agreement that members of government will not be launched into space, the President of the United States, Julia Bliss Flaherty, manages to get herself sent to the Cloud Ark at the last minute. Shortly afterwards the main cache of the physical Human Genetic Archive attached to the ISS is ruined by the thrusters of an arklet passing too leaving only samples, distributed amongst the arks. There is disagreement on the Cloud Ark about the best way to organize its society and avoid the debris of the Moon; some "Arkies" favor converting the Cloud Ark into a decentralized swarm of small space vessels at a higher orbit out of range of debris, rather than maintaining the central authority of the ISS.
Doc Dubois wants to shelter in a crevasse on the now-exposed iron core of the Moon. Others want to go to Mars. Julia Flaherty starts to acquire a coterie of followers and encourages the proponents of the decentralized swarm plan. Sean Probst's expedition has succeeded, he has brought a comet into an orbit that will soon pass by Earth, his radio has failed and he has built a replacement by hand, is able to communicate with Dinah MacQuarie by Morse code. However, he and his party die of radiation sickness caused by fallout from their nuclear reactor long before the expedition is complete. Markus Leuker and Dinah travel to the comet with a small crew to take control of it and bring it back to the Cloud Ark, in order to provide sufficient propellant to reach the Cleft on the moon's core. Just before Dinah returns with the ice as the sole survivor of the mission, Julia Flaherty persuades the majority of the population to abandon the ISS and move to higher orbit in a decentralized swarm, sends a preliminary expedition to Mars.
In the course of their sudden, unauthorized departure the ISS sustains catastrophic damage to many sections. The surviving portions of the Human Genetic Archive are carried along with them, but due to the Arkies' ignorance, these surviving portions are discarded or ignored. Only the digital version of the Human Genetic Archive survives aboard the ISS; the ISS and remaining third of the cloud ark combine through reshaping the ice into a support structure, is rechristened Endurance. During the three years that it takes for Endurance to reach the Cleft, the majority of its population die of various causes. Julia Bliss Flaherty's
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.
The Rise and Fall of D. O. D. O. is a science fiction novel by American writers Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland, published in 2017. The story follows the members of a secret U. S. government agency known as the Department of Diachronic Operations as they attempt to change history through the use of magic. Stephenson and Galland had written together on The Mongoliad. U. S. Army Major Tristan Lyons hires Dr. Melisande Stokes, a Harvard linguistics lecturer, to translate a variety of historic texts; the work is classified, to the point that Lyons cannot reveal the full name of D. O. D. O, the secret government agency that he works for. Stokes' translations suggest that magic and witches existed in the historical record, that magic grew weaker and ceased to function sometime during the Industrial Revolution. Stokes and Lyons discover that photography nullifies magic in the general area by causing a wave function collapse. Magic use ended worldwide when a photograph was taken of the solar eclipse of July 28, 1851.
Lyons recruits Dr. Frank Oda, a former MIT physicist who once worked on a device that could prevent wave function collapse; the device is somewhat like the box in the Schrödinger's cat experiment, though not deadly to anyone inside. At the same time, Stokes is contacted by Erszebet Karpathy, a Hungarian witch with a supernaturally-extended lifespan who claims to have met Stokes in 1851 London. Stokes learns that D. O. D. O. Stands for the Department of Diachronic Operations, that Lyons intends to build a device that will enable magic-assisted time travel. Over the next five years, D. O. D. O. Grows in size and scope as a project of IARPA and the Director of National Intelligence. Agents are trained in period-specific languages and combat techniques and magically sent back to 1601 London and the 1203-1204 Constantinople, among other times and places; the object is to alter historical events to subtly help the United States government, but it has to be done and methodically to avoid Diachronic Shear, a catastrophic magical explosion that occurs when history is changed too much or too quickly.
Witches are recruited to form a time travel network and some are brought to the present to assist D. O. D. O. Directly. One of these witches manages to gain control of the agency through the use of magic, sends Stokes back in time to July 1851 in the hopes that she will be stranded there when magic ceases to work; the D. O. D. O. Organization falls apart as members fall into two sides: a conspiracy of witches who want to sabotage the foundations of photography and the protagonists who pledge to counter their efforts; the Rise and Fall of D. O. D. O. Consists of multiples forms of narrative; the core novel is the first-person "Diachronicle" of Melisande Stokes as written in London in July 1851. Her notes are supplemented with journal entries, online chat, other forms of communication; each is in a different format and font, many texts are written from the point of view of secondary characters. Some parts are incomplete, it is explained that they were secretly stolen from D. O. D. O. Servers as the organization was collapsing.
Kirkus Reviews wrote that the "story gets weirder and more madcap" as it goes, but called the novel "a pleasing combination of much appeal to fans of speculative fiction." Financial Times praised the wit and "healthy sense of absurdity." However, The Guardian found that much of the humor didn't work, but that "though it’s no comic classic, The Rise and Fall of D. O. D. O. is big and enjoyable."
Anathem is a science fiction novel by American writer Neal Stephenson, published in 2008. Major themes include the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics and the philosophical debate between Platonic realism and nominalism. Anathem is set around the fictional planet Arbre. Thousands of years before the events in the novel, the planet's intellectuals entered concents to protect their activities from the collapse of society; the avout retain limited access to tools and are banned from possessing or operating most advanced technology and are supervised by the Inquisition, which answers to the outside world. The avout are allowed to communicate with people outside the walls of the concent only once every year, century, or millennium, depending on the particular vows they have taken; the narrator and protagonist, Fraa Erasmas, is an avout at the Concent of Saunt Edhar. His primary teacher, Fraa Orolo, discovers that an alien spacecraft is orbiting Arbre – a fact that the Sæcular Power attempts to cover up.
Orolo secretly observes the alien ship with a video camera, technology, prohibited for the avout. Erasmas becomes aware of the content of Orolo's research after Orolo is banished from the Mathic World for his possession and use of proscribed technology within the concent, but the presence of the alien ship soon becomes an open secret among many of the avout at St. Edhar; the alien ship declares its presence by shining a laser upon the Millenarian Math of Saunt Edhar, the bastion of those avout who have taken a thousand-year vow not to interact with the outside world. Shortly after that, the Sæcular Power evoke many avout from Saunt Edhar, including Erasmas, as well as one Millenarian – Fraa Jad. Erasmas and several companions, on Fraa Jad's suggestion, decide to seek out Orolo. After a dangerous journey over the planet's frozen pole, undertaken to reach another continent without passing through national borders and his comrades arrive at a concent-like establishment called Orithena –, on the site of the ancient source of the Mathic world – where they reunite with the no-longer Fraa Orolo.
Orolo holds discussions with Erasmas about the nature of the cosmos and consciousness, how he believes that the aliens are not from another planet, but from another cosmos, influenced by Arbre. During the discussions between Orolo and Erasmas, a small spacecraft lands in Orithena, on the site of the ancient Mathic world's Analemma, visible from space. A female alien is on board, she has brought with her four vials of blood – that of the aliens – and much evidence about their technology. Shortly thereafter, the aliens propel a massive metal rod at a nearby volcano, triggering an eruption that destroys Orithena. Orolo sacrifices his life to ensure the safety of the dead alien's remains and her blood samples, an event that leads to his canonization as Saunt Orolo. Erasmas travels to the concent of Saunt Tredegarh – where he was expected to have gone when evoked – to attend the Convox; this is a joint conference of the avout and the Sæcular Power, dedicated to dealing with the military and technical issues raised by the existence of the alien ship in Arbre's orbit.
Tredegarh is where the Sæcular Power had brought the evoked avout of Saunt Edhar and from many other concents from all around the world to work on methods of interpreting the limited information regarding the alien spacecraft, as well as investigating possible military options. Much research is done on the samples Orolo sacrificed his life to save, the aliens are found to come from planets in four parallel and distinct cosmos: Urnud, Tro and Fthos; the multiple-worlds interpretation of the cosmos is discussed in great detail by the high-level avout at successive evening meals to which Erasmas performs the duties of a servant. In this section of the novel, it becomes plain that Laterre is our own Earth, which serves as a'higher plane of existence' for Urnud and Tro, Arbre is itself a'higher plane' for Laterre. Through observation and experiment and his companions determine that the conference is infiltrated by the aliens, unmask a French speaking Laterran linguist by the name of Jules Verne Durand.
He explains. The ruling faction intends to attack and raid Arbre for its resources in order to repair their spaceship, while the opposing faction favors open negotiation. Jules Durand offers to assist the avout of Arbre in resisting the ruling faction of the aliens, believing that they can bring the situation to a peaceful conclusion. Fearing alien attack after Durand has been exposed, the avout evacuate Saunt Tredegarh and all the other concents on Arbre simultaneously. Erasmas and his comrades are taken to a distant sanctuary, where they receive training for a mission to board the alien ship and disable its weaponry, they are launched into space – on ballistic missiles built for planetary nuclear warfare – unknowingly bringing with them "Everything Killers" that the Sæcular Power intends to use as a last resort should the primary goal of the mission fail. Three people – including Fraa Jad – are issued detonators. Upon arrival at the alien ship, they are preparing the ship's main weapon. Avout from the Ringing Vale, who dedicate their lives to study of the martial arts and military tactics, head off to destroy the ship's main weapon successful, but perish
Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing
Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing is a collection of short fiction and nonfiction by the speculative fiction author Neal Stephenson. It is composed of Stephenson's published articles and interviews although it does contain the unpublished short stories "Arsebestos" and "Under-Constable Proudfoot." Source: "Introduction" "Arsebestos" - not published In "Arsebestos", Stephenson draws connections between characters in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol who suffer from a lack of physical mobility and his own chiropractic issues in order to argue for the adoption of more physically active work spaces."Slashdot Interview" - "Metaphysics in the Royal Society 1715-2010" - "It's All Geek to Me" - "Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out" - "Gresham College Lecture" - "Spew" - Selected excerpts from "In the Kingdom of Mao Bell" - "Under-Constable Proudfoot" - not published "Mother Earth, Mother Board" - "The Salon Interview" - "Blind Secularism" - "Time Magazine Article about Anathem" - "Everything and More Foreword" - "The Great Simoleon Caper" - "Locked In" - "Innovation Starvation" - "Why I Am a Bad Correspondent" -
The System of the World (novel)
The System of the World is a novel by Neal Stephenson and is the third and final volume in The Baroque Cycle. The title alludes to the third volume of Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which bears the same name; the System of the World won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and the Prometheus Award in 2005, as well as a receiving a nomination for the Arthur C. Clarke Award the same year. Daniel Waterhouse returns to England from his "Technologickal College" project in Boston in order to try to resolve the feud between Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz over who invented calculus. Someone attempts to assassinate him with an "Infernal Device", Waterhouse forms a club to find out who did it and prosecute them, it turns out that the bomb was intended for his friend Isaac Newton. Jack Shaftoe, under the alias Jack the Coiner, attempts a heist at the Tower of London. Daniel Waterhouse and Isaac attempt to track down Jack Shaftoe for his counterfeiting crimes and tampering with the Pyx.
Meanwhile Eliza aids Princess Caroline of the Hanovers as her life is threatened amid the scheming over the successor to Queen Anne. Warring militias gather in London and the Whigs and Tories face off. Newton dies of typhus prior to the Trial of the Pyx, but is brought back to life with the philosopher's stone. Jack confesses to his counterfeiting crimes and is hanged but the watching crowd intervene and he survives, unknown to Newton. Jack is reunited with his love Eliza, they live out their days in the court of Louis XIV; the System of the World emulates many different literary styles. As one reviewer put it: it "is a con-fusion... of historical novel, roman à thèse, epistolary novel, roman à clef, nouveau roman, satirical novel, roman fleuve, et cetera, et cetera, all bound up in the unlikely guise of epic science-fiction page-turner." Eliza Enoch Root Bob Shaftoe, brother of Jack Shaftoe Jack Shaftoe Daniel Waterhouse Isaac Newton Johann von Hacklheber Henry Arlanc, friend of Jack Shaftoe, porter at the Royal Society Mrs. Arlanc, wife of Henry Roger Comstock, Marquis of Ravenscar, Whig ally of Daniel Waterhouse Will Comstock, Earl of Lostwithiel Édouard de Gex, Jesuit fanatic William Ham, nephew of Daniel Waterhouse Otto van Hoek, Captain of the Minerva Dappa, First mate of the Minerva Mr. Kikin, Russian diplomat in London Norman Orney, London shipbuilder Mr. Threader, Tory money-scrivener Charles White, Tory who bites off people's ears Peter Hoxton, engages in illicit activities Isaac Newton Gottfried Leibniz Christopher Wren Thomas Newcomen Peter the Great Caroline of Ansbach George I of Great Britain George II of Great Britain Sophia of Hanover John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer Catherine Barton Jack Ketch ISBN 0-06-052387-5: Hardcover edition.
ISBN 0-06-075086-3: Paperback edition. The System of the World at Worlds Without End
Quicksilver is a historical novel by Neal Stephenson, published in 2003. It is the first volume of The Baroque Cycle, his late Baroque historical fiction series, succeeded by The Confusion and The System of the World. Quicksilver won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and was nominated for the Locus Award in 2004. Stephenson organized the structure of Quicksilver such that chapters have been incorporated into three internal books titled "Quicksilver", "The King of the Vagabonds", "Odalisque". In 2006, each internal book was released in separate paperback editions, to make the 900 pages more approachable for readers; these internal books were independent novels within the greater cycle during composition. The novel Quicksilver is written in various narrative styles, such as theatrical staging and epistolary, follows a large group of characters. Though set in England and the United Provinces in the period 1655 through 1673, the first book includes a frame story set in late 1713 Massachusetts. In order to write the novel, Stephenson researched the period extensively and integrates events and historical themes important to historical scholarship throughout the novel.
However, Stephenson alters details such as the members of the Cabal ministry, the historical cabinet of Charles II of England, to facilitate the incorporation of his fictional characters. Within the historical context, Stephenson deals with many themes which pervade his other works, including the exploration of knowledge and cryptography; the plot of the first and third books focus on Daniel Waterhouse's exploits as a natural philosopher and friend to the young Isaac Newton and his observations of English politics and religion, respectively. The second book introduces the vagabond Jack Shaftoe and Eliza as they cross Europe landing in the Netherlands, where Eliza becomes entangled in commerce and politics. Quicksilver operates in the same fictional universe as Stephenson's earlier novel Cryptonomicon, in which descendants of Quicksilver characters Shaftoe and Waterhouse appear prominently. During the period in which he wrote Cryptonomicon, Stephenson read George Dyson's Darwin Amongst the Machines, which led him to Gottfried Leibniz's interest in a computing machine, the Leibniz–Newton feud, Newton's work at the Royal Treasury.
He considered this "striking when was working on a book about money and a book about computers," and became inspired to write about the period. Intended to be included in Cryptonomicon, Stephenson instead used the material as the foundation for Quicksilver, the first volume of the Baroque Cycle; the research for the sprawling historical novel created what Stephenson called "data management problems", he resorted to a system of notebooks to record research, track characters, find material during the writing process. In Quicksilver, Stephenson places the ancestors of the Cryptonomicon's characters in Enlightenment Europe alongside a cast of historical individuals from Restoration England and the Enlightenment. Amongst the cast are some of the most prominent natural philosophers and scientists, politicians of the age. In an interview, Stephenson explained he deliberately depicted both the historical and fictional characters as authentic representatives of historical classes of people, such as the Vagabonds as personified by Jack, the Barbary slaves as personified by Eliza.
In his research for the characters, he explored the major scholarship about the period. Stephenson did extensive research on the Age of Enlightenment, noting that it is accessible for English speaking researchers because of the many well documented figures such as Leibniz and Samuel Pepys. In the course of his research he noted historiographic inconsistencies regarding characters of the period which he had to reconcile. Prominent was the deification of Newton and Boyle and their scientific method by Enlightenment and Victorian scholars, he considers the scientific work done during the Baroque period as crucial to the Enlightenment. From his research he concluded that the Enlightenment in general "is and should be a controversial event because although it led to the flourishing of the sciences and political liberties and a lot of good stuff like that, one can argue that it played a role in the French Revolution and some of the negative events of the time as well." The portrayal of a confusing and uncertain era develops throughout the book.
Some reviewers commented that Stephenson seems to carry his understanding of the period a little too far at times, delving into too much detail. Nick Hasted of The Independent wrote that this research made "descriptions of Restoration London feel leaden, intellectual discourses between Newton and his contemporaries textbook-dry." Despite the thorough examination of the period, Stephenson does take liberty in depicting the Enlightenment. Both main and secondary fictional characters become prominent members of society who advise the most important figures of the period and affect everything from politics to economics and science. For example, he repopulates the real Cabal Ministry with fictional characters. Quicksilver is a historical fiction novel that uses fantasy and science fiction techniques; the book is written in "an omniscient modern presence given to wisecracks, with extensive use of the continuous present". Mark Sanderson of The Daily Telegraph and Steven Poole of The Guardian both describe the novel as in the picaresque genre, a genre common to 17th- and 18th-century Europe.
Humor permeates the text, both situational and in the language itself, which emulates the p
Hackers is an anthology of science fiction short stories edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois. It was first published in 1996, it contains stories by science fiction and cyberpunk writers of the late 1980s and early 1990s about hackers. This story, written by William Gibson, was first published in Omni in July, 1982, it tells the story of two hackers. The two main characters are Bobby Quine who specializes in software and Automatic Jack whose field is hardware. A third character in the story is Rikki, a girl with whom Bobby becomes infatuated and for whom he wants to hit it big. Automatic Jack acquires a piece of Russian hacking software, sophisticated and hard to trace; the rest of the story unfolds with Bobby deciding to break into the system of a notorious and vicious criminal called Chrome, who handles money transfers for organized crime, Automatic Jack reluctantly agreeing to help. The break-in is successful, but Rikki decides to leave the group and go to Hollywood, to the grief of Quine and Jack who have grown to love her.
Bobby Quine is mentioned in Neuromancer as one of the mentors of the protagonist. The Finn, a recurring character in Gibson's Sprawl trilogy of novels, makes his first appearance in this story as a minor figure; the events of the story are referenced in the second entry of the Sprawl trilogy. The word cyberspace, coined by Gibson, was first used in this story; this story and "Dogfight" were published in a collection of William Gibson short stories titled Burning Chrome. The story functioned as a conceptual prototype for Gibson's Sprawl trilogy of novels; this story was written by Tom Maddox, was first published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in 1987. This is the story of a man; the man finds out that his wife's electronic records have disappeared. Bound by his wife's love, he plunges back to his hacker days to track his wife's abductor, enlists the help of his old college hacking master. Thinking that it was the company involved in the business deal, he blackmails them, but finds out that something else may be behind the ordeal.
This story was written by Greg Egan, was first published in Interzone 44 in 1991. Two twin sisters in the near future find themselves in the middle of a world where a virus evolved through mutation and natural selection as part of biological warfare research has escaped. Both sisters become infected with a version of the virus; the surviving sister uses her hacking skills to find out the reason behind her sister's death, exact revenge and inform the public. This story was written by Pat Cadigan, was first published in Light Years and Dark in 1984; this story takes place in a post-modern world where Roll is about to become extinct. Bands of the time have to use "sinners", or people who have experienced Rock and Roll in person, in order to realize their music; this is the story of one such sinner. This story was written by Robert Silverberg and was first published in Playboy in 1987. In the future, an alien species has colonized the Earth and used the humans' own information infrastructure to control them through their in-body implants.
Hackers have become valuable. Some hackers have become known as pardoners because they can arrange for people to escape the aliens' sentences in exchange for profit; the story focuses on one of the best pardoners. He is bested in a hacking duel only to find out; the pardoner faces a mistake he made in his past and finds a way to escape by hacking the alien mainframe with the help of a woman he had swindled. This story was written by Alexander Jablokov and was first published in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in June 1991. A man afflicted with Alzheimer's disease programs his personality into a computer, enlists the machine's help for his final wish; this story was written by Michael Swanwick and William Gibson, was first published in Omni in 1985. A lonely ex-shoplifter who suffers from a neural block preventing him from returning to his hometown of Washington, D. C. finds a female friend, whose parents have set a neural block on her to protect her virginity – a sort of a mental chastity belt.
He becomes enthralled by a new video game – Fokkers & Spads – where he engages in dogfights as a World War I fighter pilot and, with help from his female friend becomes one of the best fighters. To beat the best fighter, though, he betrays and hurts his newfound friend only to find himself alone again after his victory over the crippled war-veteran Tiny; the story is typical of the cyberpunk genre in that its mood never rises from the melancholy and that the protagonist ends up suffering a kind of pyrrhic victory, realizing too late that succeeding in his endeavor has cost him too dearly. As in film noir, the theme of betrayal exists in the tale, as the protagonist sacrifices everything around him to succeed; this story was written by Bruce Sterling, was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1988. In a bizarre future, free from AIDS and genetic diseases, everyone can be a human genome hacker. One such hacker/scientist, while trying to find a way for the human body to become a cocaine-producing factory, engineers a virus that enriches the dendritic connections of mammalian brains.
This virus seems to produce eccentric, absent-minded geniuses, but most humans are immune to this neural Chernobyl. Instead, it is animals that suffer the most obvious changes as a result of t