|End paper illustration by Weta Workshop|
Stephenson also mentions in the acknowledgements that he worked at Blue Origin, the private space exploration company started by Jeff Bezos, that just recently released the footage of their successful vertical rocket landing. On his website, Stephenson goes into more detail about when he worked there and described the various things he did, saying "...the bulk of my efforts were devoted to investigating possible alternatives to conventional rockets as ways of getting into space." This work ends up being very handy when it came to writing science fiction stories like Seveneves, and I'm sure helped him to develop connections with others in the aerospace industry that he also thanks in the acknowledgements.
What I really like about this story is how Stephenson uses the doomsday event from which this story grows, as a tool that allows us to examine ourselves as a people, or maybe more accurately, as a species. I can't say how he does this without spoilers; what I can tell you is that the future represented in this Seveneves universe is neither utopian nor dystopian, which in and of itself, separates this story from a lot of the SF out there. Stephenson's SF is based on hard science that being developed right now, and he extrapolates our technology out into the future is a way that that lends a realness to the storyline. His writing style is easy to read, and he allows himself to spin off on a tangent to explain or describe something when he needs to and then gets back to the story. Walking that fine line in a novel can be tricky, needing to fill the reader in on what they need to know without boring us with the details is one of those things that he has down.
So yes, read this book. And if I'm right, read the follow up(s) as well. Maybe late this year, early next is my guess.