There is a real problem in the universe called “space debris” — old pieces of satellites and other man-made objects in orbit around Earth that can crash into each other and impede the safety of future space exploration. This was the true-life seed of inspiration that Neal Stephenson needed for his newest novel, Seveneves (William Morrow, 2015), but in true Stephenson fashion, he brings in a host of other science-fiction staples to complicate the plot. In this case, we’re dealing with an exploding moon, repopulation of the Earth via seven women, and the genetics of interbreeding aliens and humans.
Stephenson is the author of several wildly popular post-cyberpunk speculative-fiction novels, including Snow Crash and The Diamond Age: or A Young Ladies Illustrated Primer. His 1999 novel, Cryptonomicon, won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award in 2013. Its subjects of computing, code breaking, and data havens were anchored firmly in historical and scientific fact. Stephenson is taken quite seriously by people involved with the future of technology and humanity: He has worked for Blue Origin, an aerospace development company designing technology for affordable private space travel.
Stephenson reads from and signs copies of Seveneves on Sunday, Nov. 29, at 3:30 p.m. at the Jean Cocteau Cinema (418 Montezuma Ave.). Admission to the reading, which is followed by a question-and-answer session, is $10; $35 buys you a hardcover copy of the book and admission to the event. Call 505-466-5528. — Jennifer Levin