Contextualizing the contemporary Western situation with some simple but effective bits of far-future imagination, Liu keeps things relevant by understanding the idea that problems will always exist, and thus what matters is our approach—our attitude—toward them.
Rocket Stack Rank gives the story four stars, citing pros and cons:
Pro: (…) The ending is heartwarming because, after all that time, Mia finally has the right words–and they’re noble, inspiring words. At the large-scale level, it’s a great description of human evolution and transformation into a galaxy-spanning civilization–if civilization is even the right word for something so grand.
Con: There’s little action and no tension in the story, which mostly consists of a recitation of events that transpired.
Tangent Online reviewer Jason McGregor comments:
While this story doesn’t seem to be as free from a sort of historical dualism (which leads to a tincture of human self-loathing which is mostly balanced by an explicit appreciation of our “wondrous” quality) as it is from the human vs. nature dualism that it explicitly disavows and does seem like yet another climate change story at first, it does move on to bigger and better things which do involve mega-engineering and a bit of “gosh wow” and is a good execution of the tried-and-true and fitting “time lapse” structure.
What did you think of “Seven Birthdays”? Read the story, and join the discussion in the comments!