My son came to visit. “Mum,” he says in that tone of voice that means he wants something MORE. “Do you have the latest Neal Stephenson book?”
“I don’t know the name, I just want the latest one.”
“That one that is published next month?” I replied, because it was still May.
“Oh, yes, that’d be the one.”
“Seveneves. Yes I do, HarperCollins sent it this week.”
“Can I have it?”
I experienced a sinking feeling in my gut. On the one hand, the more reviewers the better. On the other hand, actually getting a review out of my son is like extracting teeth. I’m still trying to get reviews from him for the Cartoon Network Holiday Special and the Adventure Time Christmas Special dvds; he now claims that I said he didn’t have to write a review. Sighing, I looked at the size of the book, the disaster that was my house — my partner was moving interstate for work and guess who was organising EVERYTHING? — and I considered the assignments I still hadn’t finished. “Alright. BUT YOU HAVE TO WRITE A REVIEW.”
“Yes, I’ll write a review, thanks Mum.”
I’m calling bullshit on this one.
A few days later:
“You know that book you gave me? BEST OPENING EVER. The moon explodes for no reason and this guy is busy photographing it and putting it on social media AND THE MOON JUST EXPLODED. He’s not worried about anything else, just being the first person to put it on social media.”
I ground my teeth. I stopped, consciously forced my jaws apart then sighed. I estimated the chances of getting the book back this year: about 10%. My son is a slow reader. I estimated the chances of getting the book back before Stephenson publishes his next blockbuster: less than 1 in 3. My chances of reading this book before hell freezes over were significantly increased if I waited for the ebook to be published and purchased an electronic copy of the paper book I was sent free for review. (This isn’t unheard of for me. [headdesk])
THEN HARPERCOLLINS SENT ME ANOTHER COPY.
They must have known.
Yes, one of the best openings ever. It’s up there with my previous favorite, which was “The building was on fire and it wasn’t my fault.”