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Our neighbor over in Medina, Bill Gates, has released his summer reading list, and you won’t be surprised to discover that it’s not exactly beach reading.

There’s one possible exception – Seattle author Neal Stephenson’s visionary science fiction novel “Seveneves,” just released in paperback (Morrow, $17.99). Here’s the premise: Something hits the moon, and it starts to break up. Earth’s leaders have two years to figure out how to preserve the human race before the planet’s surface is destroyed by the “Hard Rain,” a continuous pummeling of pieces of the former moon. Up on a space station , about 1,700 survivors have to figure out how their descendants will stay alive for the 5,000 years it will take for the Hard Rain to stop falling.

“Seveneves” falls squarely in the “hard science fiction” category (lots of science, mechanics and physics). In his comments, Gates said that’s what he liked about it: “You might lose patience with all the information you’ll get about space flight—Stephenson, who lives in Seattle, has clearly done his research—but I loved the technical details. Seveneves inspired me to rekindle my sci-fi habit,” Gates wrote.

Other titles: “How Not to be Wrong,” by Jordan Ellenberg; “The Vital Question,” by Nick Lane; “The Power to Compete,” by Ryoichi Mikitani and Hiroshi Mikitani; and “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Noah Yuval Harari.