Fantasy Stephen Baxter Manifold: Space

ISBN 13: 9780345430779

Manifold: Space

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9780345430779: Manifold: Space

Few writers can combine mind bending scientific speculation with breathtaking adventure like award-winning author Stephen Baxter. In Manifold: Time, Baxter told a thrilling story in which the fate of the universe hung in the balance. It followed visionary Reid Malenfant, a man who willed humankind to explore space, and ultimately was faced with a harrowing choice between a past that never was and a future that must never be. Now, in Manifold: Space, Reid Malenfant is back. But this is a different Malenfant. And a different universe.

Fueled by an insatiable curiosity, Malenfant ventures to the far edge of the solar system, where he discovers a strange artifact left behind by an alien civilization: A gateway that functions as a kind of quantum transporter, allowing virtually instantaneous travel over the vast distances of interstellar space. What lies on the other side of the gateway? Malenfant decides to find out.

Yet as Malenfant embarks on a grand tour of the universe, back on Earth the Japanese scientist Nemoto fears her worst nightmares are coming true. Startling and chilling discoveries reveal that the Moon, Mars, Venus, even the Jovian moons, once thrived with life . . . life that was snuffed out in the distant past by starfaring races. Snuffed out not just once but many times, in cycles of birth and destruction as plain as they are inexplicable.

One fact is clear. The recent, Earthbound arrival of the Gaijin portend the first alien visitors in a new cycle. And behind them, looms another--a species with an ominous predilection for blowing up suns. In desperation, Nemoto searches for a means of survival. Or failing that, revenge.

Meanwhile Malenfant, having traveled millions of light years, is once more faced with a choice both impossible and necessary--a choice that will push him beyond terror, beyond sanity, beyond humanity itself.

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Review:

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

About the Author:

Stephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge (mathematics) and Southampton Universities (doctorate in aeroengineering research). Baxter is the winner of both The British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, as well as being a nominee for an Arthur C. Clarke Award, most recently for Manifold: Time. His novel Voyage won the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History Novel of the Year; he also won the John W. Campbell Award and the Philip K. Dick Award for his novel The Time Ships.

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