Stephenson’s Termination Shock

This week saw the announcement of Neal Stephenson’s latest novel, Termination Shock. It’s an Easter miracle! We’re big fans of Stephenson here at Kaedrin and any new books are treated as events. So what’s it about?

Neal Stephenson’s sweeping, prescient new novel transports readers to a near-future world where the greenhouse effect has inexorably resulted in a whirling-dervish troposphere of superstorms, rising sea levels, global flooding, merciless heat waves, and virulent, deadly pandemics.

One man has a Big Idea for reversing global warming, a master plan perhaps best described as “elemental.” But will it work? And just as important, what are the consequences for the planet and all of humanity should it be applied?

As only Stephenson can, Termination Shock sounds a clarion alarm, ponders potential solutions and dire risks, and wraps it all together in an exhilarating, witty, mind-expanding speculative adventure.

I must admit to a bit of trepidation about Stephenson going down such a well tread path (the amount of recent science fiction addressing climate change explicitly or implicitly is high, and often quite didactic), but I’m confident that he has the tools to pull it off in a way that is entertaining and interesting. Stephenson’s tackled the environmental angle before, and managed to wrap it up in an entertaining thriller structure (in fact, it’s probably his most accessible novel).

In physics, the Termination Shock is one of the outer boundaries of the sun’s influence in the solar system, which perhaps indicates that we’re in for some space travel that the marketing blurb doesn’t mention. There is also the scare quotes around “elemental” that point to more potential scientific avenues that this will explore. As usual, hopes are high. The novel comes out on November 16, 2021.

In other Stephenson-adjacent news, I just finished the sequel to The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. and quite enjoyed it. Look for a review coming soon!

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