Seveneves

by Neal Stephenson

What would be the implications if the Moon were destroyed? Well, first the fragments would create more fragments, which would eventually start falling to Earth, boiling the oceans and destroying all life on the surface. So it’s time to get underground or get into space.

Stephenson was clearly more interested in the near term effects, mostly in terms of physics and politics. The “escape from Earth” part of the book is dense and detailed, and takes up two thirds of the book. Then, it fast forwards five thousand years and races to a conclusion through what feels like a grab bag of Stephenson’s ideas for other novels.

Still, this was a thought-provoking, great read. If the last third was less satisfying, the first two-thirds made up for it.

An Excess Male

by Maggie Shen King

China’s one-child policy and the value it places on men over women results in a society with too many men, state-mandated polygamy, and men desperate for any chance at (shared) domestic bliss. Factor in state intolerance of gays and neurodivergents, a quarter of men unable to join a marriage, and China has a lot of “excess”—disposable, even—males. Characters you’ll care about and an exciting plot make this a good read.