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Publisher's Summary

From Neal Stephenson - who coined the term metaverse in his 1992 novel Snow Crash - comes a sweeping, prescient new thriller that transports listeners to a near-future world in which 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 - visionary billionaire restaurant chain magnate T. R. Schmidt, PhD - 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?

Ranging from the Texas heartland to the Dutch royal palace in the Hague, from the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the sunbaked Chihuahuan Desert, Termination Shock brings together a disparate group of characters from different cultures and continents who grapple with the real-life repercussions of global warming. Ultimately, it asks the question: Might the cure be worse than the disease? 

Epic in scope while heartbreakingly human in perspective, 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.

©2021 Neal Stephenson (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Termination Shock

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing...Completely Understandable...Six Stars

Neal Stephenson hardly needs a critique from me. Like his other books, this is a rollercoaster ride of ideas, information, and language. However, it is far more accessible and human. Cannot recommend it strongly enough -- invest the 23 hours.

9 people found this helpful

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uncomfortable scifi is sometimes the best Scifi

Everything about this story feels absolutely plausible in today's world, to the point that it is hard to call scifi... given the pace at which technology is improving, maybe it was sci-fi when the author started.

The lack of clear "good guys" and "bad guys" made the whole story more uncomfortable to listen to, but it also made it much more realistic feeling.

9 people found this helpful

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Still on top of his game

I've been a fan of the author from the Big U and, over the years, what started as a unformed affinity has deepened into a kind of respect and admiration for his ability to weave very believable characters into absurdly surreal events that grapple very real questions and expose the absurd and surreal in our own lives, all while offering rollicking adventures that can buckle a swash with the best of them. In that way, Termination Shock is no different, and the author's skills are on full display. It's characters are as a real as they come, the world as ridiculous and absurd as you can imagine and, yet, through his brilliant characterizations and narrative, it all feels startlingly real and it hits dangerously close to home. Whether you want a unique lens on some of the problems of our day, or you just want to curl up on the couch and bear witness to a rip-roaring adventure, Termination Shock has you covered, taking you reassuringly into its embrace as it turns to show you a sulphur-tinged sunset more brilliant than you would have ever thought possible.

6 people found this helpful

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Thanks Again NS

So- besides the length of book I see the beauty in that! Neil is one of a kind & hit’s this one out of da park…

5 people found this helpful

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no. just no.

read the whole thing unfortunately. it was long, boring, and not worth it. only thing it is good for is to put you asleep. the person that read it did a good job.

3 people found this helpful

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Very Enjoyable!

Loved this audiobook! Narration was top notch and story was very original. Characters were well developed and extremely interesting! Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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Slow development, had to give it up

Got a few hours into it and felt it really hadn’t gone anywhere… so had to return it. Sad, since I thought it would be enthralling from the description.

1 person found this helpful

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not bad

this book was okay, but it never seemed to get going. not Neal's best, not his worst.

1 person found this helpful

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Too short

Unmistakable style, but it felt short for a Stephenson novel, like there was a lot of terrain he left unexplored. Maybe we'll get some sequels that fill in some of those gaps.

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Manmade volcanoes to save the planet

Neal Stephenson's Termination Shock is a near future tale of an 'Elon Musk-like' billionaire who is out to save the planet by injecting sulphur into the upper atmosphere and mimic the effect of volcanic eruption on climate. He assembles an eclectic group from regions most affected by rising sea levels including the queen of the Netherlands. While scientifically sound, the effects are variable in terms of geographic regions. One such adversely affected region mounts an offensive to take the sulphur launcher offline.

At his most basic, Stephenson is a storyteller, rather than a novelist and this offering is no exception. While the plot is fairly straightforward, the extent of backstories for all the various characters forms the bulk. Along the way, there are extensive discussions regarding the virtues and flaws with carbon capture and other traditional climate change mitigation strategies versus geoengineering. Interestingly, he highlights the paradoxical situation of climate change deniers accepting geoengineering as opposed to a reduction in fossil fuel use. He also veers off to explore the impact of deep fake news as well as performative warfare and the increasing creative applications of drones. The title derives from the notion that once an initially undesirable strategy has been started, stopping the effort may yield even more undesirable consequences. While overall entertaining, this offering seemed more forced than earlier works.

The narration was exceptionally well done, especially given the large casts. Character distinction was excellent. Pacing is smooth.