Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Rufus MacQuarie, over Morse Code

Seveneves, a 2015 novel by Neal Stephenson, details the disintegration of the Moon and humanity's efforts to preserve humanity in its aftermath.

Tropes used in Seveneves include:
  • Abnormal Ammo: "ambots", or small robots designed to provide maximum damage to targets but none to the space habitats they may be in, prove invaluable during the five thousand years humanity is residing entirely in space. Some are even programmed to return to their shooter.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 5/Planetary Extinction, caused by the moon blowing up, but due to careful management and general science, is turned into a Class 2/Societal Collapse.
  • Alien Space Bats: The moon explodes "for no apparent reason", but this is glossed over (and justified) since the main concern isn't "why did this happen", but "what happens next".
  • Auto Cannibalism: You don't need legs in space, but they are a handy source of nutrients if food stocks run low.
  • Brand X: Played with, since they also exist in their real-life counterparts back on Earth. For example, Skape (skype), and Spacebook (guess).
  • Bread and Circuses: It's generally accepted by the higher-ups that the Cloud Ark program is simply to placate the masses back on Earth to prevent riots with the promise that they will live on in their data and ethnic groups.
  • Cannibal Tribe: Aïda and co, although justified by virtue of it being strictly necessary at the time.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Sonar Taxlaw, although justified because he's part of a community that's been living underground for five thousand years.
  • Cool Spaceship: Two examples - the Ymir, which was effectively a nuclear reactor strapped to a comet, which is fuelled with water from the comet itself and Endurance, which is an ice-composite shell containing the entirety of the ISS and an asteroid.
  • Culture Chop Suey: Downplayed, but the culture of the Seven Races in general is an amalgamation of Anglophone Western societies with a significant Russian influence.

The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.

  • Eternal English: Played with. The "English" used by the Seven Races, even after thousands of years would still be recognizable to the original Eves, albeit with a decidedly Slavic bent and Cyrillic lettering. Justified with the Diggers, given how they've maintained complete copies of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica.
  • Fantastic Racism: Completely inevitable and somewhat justified/prophesized by Aïda.
  • Finagle's Law: Despite the effort that humanity gave to preserving itself, the Human Genetic Archive is destroyed, Izzy is hit multiple times by bolides, riots occur in the Ark and there are only eight survivors within three years.
  • First Contact: In the final part of the book, rather confusingly, with humanity itself.
  • Fling a Light Into the Future: The whole point of the Cloud Ark - priceless artefacts, frozen embryos and encoded DNA sent up into space to prevent their destruction by the bolides and ensure a future for humanity.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: What should we name the giant rocks that are going to eradicate humanity? How about Peach Pit, Lima Bean, Mr Spinny.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: Justified since one of the Eves was a Russian cosmonaut. In addition, her descendants, the Teklans are implied to be Space Russians in all but name.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Almost all of the Ark's population, most of Izzy's crew, and Ymir fall into this category.
  • Hero of Another Story: Some decide to retreat underground or into ocean trenches to save themselves from the Hard Rain. It works, and it's implied that they might have a story as impressive as the space effort detailed in Seveneves.
  • Hufflepuff House: Camites, mostly due to Camila's decree that her race should be as pacifist as possible.
  • Human Subspecies: The Seven Races, as well as the Diggers and Pingers. Among them, the Dinans are the closest to "original/baseline" humanity.
  • Info Dump: About half the book. There's a lot to learn.
  • Jack of All Trades: The Moirans can "go epi" and get a brand new genetic phenotype, making them incredibly versatile.
  • Lost Technology: Despite all the advances, microchips and wireless technology still haven't returned to pre-zero capabilities, mostly because smaller transistors are, despite being more powerful per square inch, more susceptible to destruction by cosmic rays - a big problem in space - and also since modern-day social media is blamed for the tensions that lead to the Break between the Swarm and Endurance, rather passive-aggressively known as "Tav's Mistake".
  • Meaningful Name: Most of the Spacers are named after important people, places and events from The Epic.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Justified since women are generally more adaptable to life in space, requiring less food and being less susceptible to radiation, to the extent that by the end of the second third, the only eight humans remaining alive are all female.
  • Moving Buildings: Justified, since everything's in space and that's how orbital mechanics work.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed
    • African-American celebrity science personality Doc Dubois is Neil De Grasse Tyson, to the point where he's sent up to the ISS to report on all the science going on
    • Commercial space-enthusiast philanthropist Sean Probst is Elon Musk
    • Teenage activist and target of an assassination attempt Camila is Malala Yousafzai
    • Tech blogger Tavistock Prowse (of "Tav's Mistake") is Cory Doctorow
    • (Ex-)president of the USA Julia Bliss Flaherty (or JBF) is suspiciously similar to Hillary Clinton (presumably in a parallel universe where she won the 2016 election) or possibly Sarah Palin.
  • President Evil: Julia, although it's debatable if she fits this during her actual term in office.
  • Propaganda Machine: The Reds have a channel filled with propaganda which is their only means of contact with Blue.
  • Sex Is Good: Especially given the world's going to end.
  • Sex Is Evil: The Diggers had to maintain strict population control since their habitats could only support so many people. After contraceptives ran out, abstinence through near-religion became the only way to achieve it.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: A long description of the mass-to-fuel ratio required for any trip into space, concludes that if you are on the wrong side of the ratio, you're "completely screwed."
  1. ,which is fine because some life remains off it