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Xeelee: Endurance

by Stephen Baxter

Series: Xeelee Sequence (11)

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913296,275 (3.08)None
Return to the eon-spanning and universe-crossing conflict between humanity and the unknowable alien Xeelee in this selection of uncollected and unpublished stories, newly edited and placed in chronological reading order. From tales charting the earliest days of man's adventure to the stars to stories of Old Earth, four billion years in the future, the range and startling imagination of Baxter is always on display. As humanity rises and falls, ebbs and flows, one thing is always needed - the ability to endure. Contains eleven short stories and novellas.… (more)
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Baxter, Stephen. Xeelee: Endurance. Xeelee Sequence No. 15. Gollancz, 2015.
The Xeelee universe is Stephen Baxter’s foray into far-future, posthuman space opera on the largest possible scale. The whole timeline runs from the near future to roughly eight billion years hence, and that is not counting the multiverse or the places where time runs at different rates. These stories, written over the last decade, cover most of the timeline, so it is sometimes hard to remember that they are all in the same fictional universe. There is a chronology at the end, but frankly, the collection would be improved with some interstitial author’s notes. Of the bunch, my favorites are the stores set more than five billion hears from now in which time runs at different rates depending on altitude. The rich live on low levels and send their laundry to the attic where servants can get it done in a relative instant. But a short trip upstairs can age you quickly, so watch out. The time differential means that sex between an aristocrat and a attic servant can be problematic for all concerned. It also means that aerial warfare has to take time dilation into account. 4 stars. ( )
  Tom-e | Sep 20, 2020 |
In this collection of novellas, we range through the whole history of Baxter's Xeelee history, from the relatively near future of 'Return to Titan', set in 3685 in the early days of humanity's exploration of the solar system. As the future unfolds, the solar system is invaded and empires established. By the time of 'Starfall', set between 4771 and 4820, the colonies Earth had set up in the surrounding systems were no longer willing to be ruled by an Empress who's own provenance was shrouded in mystery. 'Remembrance', set in 5071 is set in the aftermath of the first alien occupation of the solar system, an old man telling the true tale of the final days of that occupation as a spaceship commander has to decide what to do with the remnants of the former occupation forces. The humans in 5274, 'Edurance' found themselves under the initially indifferent rule of the Qax but after an attack on Qax exotic material manufactories all over the solar system the Qax rule becomes harsher. By the time of 'The Seer and the Silverman', set in 5810, humanity is in charge of its own destiny and have decided that the Ghosts threaten that destiny so all interactions should be mediated by the warships of Earth Resurgant but Donn finds that the Ghosts are awfully savvy in their own fashion and any fighting would not be all one sided...

By the time of 'Gravity Dreams', 978,225, humanity was the dominant force in the galaxy, behind the Xeelee of course, and at last the Xeelee found humanity worthy of notice. Unfortunately for humanity. But Coton's problems are a lot closer to home as he finds his supposedly dormant Weaponised abilities were not so dormant as he'd been led to believe as he starts receiving messages from a strange dimension. But does he have the strength to help those sending the messages?

By the time of 'PeriAndri's Quest', 3.8 billion, humanity has been forced back to Earth, but in a time long lost, Earth had been blockaded and cut off from the rest of the universe and it had developed whole new form of civilisations. We aren't at the end yet, though, and in 'Climbing the Blue', c 4 billion, civilisation is moving back to a proper science based footing but Celi could care less for that until he and his girlfriend go to a dissection demonstration where he's taken by the possibilities. After becoming a medic, Celi is forced to take an uncomfortable decision when his wife falls ill to the always-terminal blight. In 'The Time Pit', c 4.5 billion, humanity can still find reasons to fight wars between different factions and when a small group of soldiers find themselves down in the Deep Red after escaping a losing war they find a strange society based round a set of abandoned intelligent machines that had evolved. 'The Lowland Expedition' c 4.8 Billion, takes us back down into the Deep Red, but this time it's a properly constituted expedition that thought it knew what it was getting into... The final story' Formidable Caress,. 5 Billion, takes place in the constrained society formed by the machines with their tame humans in the Mid Blue. Telni was a wild spirit who the machines let have his head as he examined the nature of time as it now pertained on this altered Earth. But what were these formidable caresses that history talked about?

In all honesty, I found most of these stories quite hard going but several were good, especially 'Gravity Dreams', 'Lowland Dreams' and 'Formidable Caress'. Most of these had been published earlier in various magazines, mainly Analog, though 'Endurance' was written especially for this collection, and the other stories have been edited for the collection. ( )
  JohnFair | Mar 4, 2017 |
A couple of novellas, spanning billions of years of mankind's expansion of space.

Return to Titan
I was hooked in at once, and the end. Omg. The end! I wanna know more. But this is just the early days of space exploration. And this trip was about the Moon Titan. Intriguing and good.

Spacefall
The first galactic war. So I get why the war began, still asshole way of doing it.

Remembrance
This was a good one. I could not stop reading. The squeem came and conquered earth. It was hellish.

Endurance
The Qax occupation. Poor earth, but they do seem better than the Squeem.

The seer and the silverman
Humans are free and they are now the conquerors. And they are not nicer than the ones that occupied them.

Gravity Dreams
Ad 978,225. They find people in a beta universe.

Periondry's quest
AD 3,8 billion years. Humans are turning creepy and weird.

Climbing the blue
Earth is so weird now. The rest of space seems to be lost.

The time pit
We are now so far into the future that I can not relate to them as humans, even though they are.

The lowland expedition
As in a few earlier stories, earth has time zones (in an effort to same them from aliens). And by this I mean that if you go up you can be away for 40 years, but only 1 year pass below. And in this story they visit a timepit and find strange strange things. Earth is messed up!!

Formidable caress
5 billions years.
As time pass humans seem to be going backwards. Technology lost and found again. Nothing new done. Buildings are alive and ruling. Scary future.


As you can see, the more time that passed, the more bizarre it got. Humans had spread back over the universe, and then they died and earth was left. But humans stayed as before. Idiots all of them.

I could not put it down. First there were invasions. Then we invaded space. Then things got weird. So interesting.
( )
  blodeuedd | Mar 2, 2016 |
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Return to the eon-spanning and universe-crossing conflict between humanity and the unknowable alien Xeelee in this selection of uncollected and unpublished stories, newly edited and placed in chronological reading order. From tales charting the earliest days of man's adventure to the stars to stories of Old Earth, four billion years in the future, the range and startling imagination of Baxter is always on display. As humanity rises and falls, ebbs and flows, one thing is always needed - the ability to endure. Contains eleven short stories and novellas.

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