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Space by Stephen Baxter
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Space (2001)

by Stephen Baxter

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Manifold (2)

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    Existence by David Brin (Aarontay)
    Aarontay: Another attempt to explain the Femi's Paradox.
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» See also 17 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
This side-quel to Manifold:Time did not work for me at all. The same main character, Reid Malenfant, is the core of the book, but in this parallel universe, his life has worked out very differently. To orient readers, at least those familiar with SF, one of the primary characters from the first book, his wife, is almost immediately revealed to have died of cancer, a tumor triggered by a random accident of cosmic rays. But more than local history has changed. While the mysterious interstellar gates still exist, now Fermi's Paradox is the primary theme. At first, it's where are they, but it quickly becomes "they're here, and more are coming, and it's not a good thing." The primary idea Baxter wants to play with is that in a universe this large, no matter how large it is, sooner or later, something will survive to wipe everything else out. But there's more layers to that idea than that. As Reid and several women (who dominate most of this arcs in this book) travel the light years by gate, there's no escaping the time differential. Hundreds and thousands of years pass in the history of our solar system, in Stapledonian fashion. Unfortunately, several things work against the book. The theme means that for the most part everyone is a helpless observer of solar and galactic events beyond anyone's control. The small "cast" means that despite a temporal and spatial canvas that boggles the imagination, people still run into each other more easily than I can find friends in small town. The book ends with two events, both of which seemed at odds with the "universe really doesn't care about Earth and humans, you know" theme that was the crux of the preceding 500 pages. ( )
1 vote ChrisRiesbeck | Dec 8, 2017 |
Another excellent story from Baxter. 2nd volume of Manifold series. ( )
  rondoctor | Jun 13, 2017 |
Really quite stunning. I liked Manifold: Time but found it occasionally uneven and that it didn't entirely fit together. But this book was a lot better (and I recommend starting with it, there's no sense in which this is a sequel).

Manifold: Space is an exploration of the Fermi Paradox -- why we don't see life elsewhere in the universe. And the answers it gives are quite chilling but ultimately hopeful. It is as much about evolution as physics as it explores the adaptations of humans living everywhere from Mercury to Triton -- not to mention the other non-carbon based life forms the star travellers find throughout the universe, in many cases dead or dying from violent expansionary cultures and ultimately recurrent physical phenomenon themselves. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Although this book starts out with a premise - and characters - already encountered in 'Time; Manifold 1', very quickly we head off in a different direction. Whilst the first book focused on Reid Malenfant and his companions travelling backwards and forwards in time, this book sees a different Reid Malenfant, with a slightly different history, becoming involved with our first contact with aliens.

In a way, this book is a return to the big, wide-screen Baxter of his early years; there is a larger cast of characters, and some of them are less well-drawn. But the scale and events of the story more than make up for that. Baxter's concern here is the Fermi Paradox - if more advanced alien races exist in the galaxy, why have we never seen any firm evidence of their existence? - and he suggests a very plausible reason why not.

There is a large element of old-fashioned "gosh-wowery" in this book; instead of staying effectively on a near-Earth asteroid, as in the first book in the trilogy, the action here skips from star to star, as far as the galactic core; and there are plenty of strange lifeforms, asteroid impacts with planets and exploding moons to keep anyone happy: all done in the best possible scientific taste and accuracy. (No, seriously.) The transcendant fate of the main character reveals the true nature of the artificial aliens and offers the possibility of the survival of life by the end of the book which draws hope from nearly universal destruction. ( )
  RobertDay | Oct 3, 2013 |
Really quite stunning. I liked Manifold: Time but found it occasionally uneven and that it didn't entirely fit together. But this book was a lot better (and I recommend starting with it, there's no sense in which this is a sequel).

Manifold: Space is an exploration of the Fermi Paradox -- why we don't see life elsewhere in the universe. And the answers it gives are quite chilling but ultimately hopeful. It is as much about evolution as physics as it explores the adaptations of humans living everywhere from Mercury to Triton -- not to mention the other non-carbon based life forms the star travellers find throughout the universe, in many cases dead or dying from violent expansionary cultures and ultimately recurrent physical phenomenon themselves. ( )
  jasonlf | Aug 3, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Baxterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Okano, RyuichiCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Innumerable suns exist; innumerable earths revolve around these suns in a manner similar to the way the seven planets revolve around our sun. Living beings inhabit these worlds...
- Giordano Bruno (1548-1600)
If they existed, they would be here.
- Enrico Fermi (1901-1954)
Dedication
To my nephew, Thomas Baxter, and Simon Bradshaw and Eric Brown
First words
My name is Reid Malenfant. You know me. And you know I'm an incorrigible space cadet.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345430786, Mass Market Paperback)

Stephen Baxter follows up his Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee Manifold: Time with the second book in the Manifold series, Manifold: Space. In this novel, former shuttle pilot and astronaut Reid Malenfant meets his destiny once again in a tale that stretches the bounds of both space and time.

The year is 2020 and the Japanese have colonized the moon. The 60-year-old Malenfant is called there by a young scientist named Nemoto who has discovered something in the asteroid belt that can only mean humans are not alone in the universe. The aliens seem robotic in nature and appear to be building something in Earth's backyard. The Gaijin, as they are called by humans, don't respond to communication efforts so an unmanned ship is launched to investigate. In the meantime, Malenfant decides answers are only possible by mounting an expedition to Alpha Centauri, which may be where the Gaijin come from.

Baxter, who won the John W. Campbell Award and the Philip K. Dick Award for his novel The Time Ships, orchestrates a stunning array of scientific possibilities in Manifold: Space. Each chapter adds a new piece to his mosaic of humanity's future. The novel is admirable in its enormous scope, but it's hard to invest much emotion in the characters. Although they are well drawn, they vanish for long periods of time as Baxter leapfrogs through time and space. Manifold: Space, by its nature, lacks passion but excels in grand ideas. --Kathie Huddleston

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

This thrilling sequel to "Manifold" finds Reid Malenfant, fueled by curiosity, venturing to the far edge of the solar system. There, he discovers a strange alien artifact; a gateway allowing instantaneous travel through interstellar space. What lies beyond the other side of the gateway will push Malenfant beyond terror, sanity, and humanity itself.… (more)

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