So, I like a few others read Mr Stephenson’s Seveneves. Unlike Mr Beale I was not as taken aback by the social themes for their own sake, but unlike Mr Likko while I agree Mr Stephenson has full control of his craft, I found much of the major plot elements unlikely. The whole Lord of Flies destruction of thousands for the sole purpose of the title of the book seemed, to strain my credulity (as well as the transparent venality of the former President, which oddly enough few seem to notice). So, when I finished the book, I was on the verge of recommending to many of my acquaintances … but as the hours (not days) passed, the “but …” kept coming up about things I found unlikely or unreasonable. So, for my 2 cents, if you’re going to grab some science fiction for your summer reading, I’d instead recommend Mr Wright’s two series (start with The Golden Age or Count to a Trillion). Of those two series my thought’s keep returning to themes and phrases drawn from those two. That of course is if you haven’t read The Martian already.
I did finish Prit Buttar’s Collision of Empires, covering World War I focusing on the Eastern front, the blog post which pointed me to this work, of which I don’t recall the provenance, noted that this was one, if not the only, historical English work covering that part of the war. It was striking how all of the actors in this affair while mostly (to greater or lesser degree) understood that defense in this time (due to technology) far outstripped the capabilities of offense at the same time. Yet almost everyone of them (Conrad especially) insisted that vigorous offense was required of their troops (to the obvious horrific consequences).