October 17th 2008

Sunstorm

This is the second of Clarke and Baxter’s Time Odyssey series.

At the end of the previous installment, Lieutenant Bisea has been returned from Mir to her own time and place.  She figures only peripherally in this installment.

Mostly, this book is about the sun-storm that is going to pretty much fry the solar system.  All manner of interesting and semi-interesting characters — politicians, scientists, military types, lunatics — come together to create a shield that will keep the sunstorm from frying Earth.  Bisea is there only to warn people that it was the Firstborn aliens who caused the sunstorm in the first place.

While it’s an interesting story, it’s much more about the science part of science fiction… development of individual characters doesn’t go much past a thinly fleshed-out stereotype.  In fact, several of the characters are simply cardboard cutouts propped up to serve a particular function.

If you enjoyed geeking out to the hard science part of the scifi genre, this is the book for you.  But if you want to know a bit more about the characters running around saving the world, you might want to skip this one.  I’m not sorry I read it, but I’m not likely to read the third book in this series.

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October 5th 2008

Time’s Eye

This is the first book in a series by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter.  Because I found the second book in the series among the hundreds of books I own, and because I just can’t read a series of books out of order (well, except for J. D. Robb’s Eve Dallas stories), I requested this book from Booksfree.

The main idea behind the story is that some incredibly ancient intelligence has ripped the heck out of the very fabric of space-time, and reorganized the planet (Earth) so that it has chunks of land (including people and animals) from virtually every band of time… from the days of the woolly mammoths right up to 2037.

Needless to day, this creates a few conflicts, not the least of which are the conflicts the earth (or Mir, as they chose to call it) has with itself as it attempts to integrate Ice Age glaciers with modern pollution and global warming.  In other words, the weather sucks.

And all the while, these strange metal objects are watching everything that’s going on.

At the very end of the story, one of the characters gets sent back to her proper space-time.  That’s where book two picks up.

Like everything else Sir Arthur ever wrote, there’s a heavy dose of actual science in this science fiction.  I’ve never been disappointed by any of his works.  Come to think of it, I’ve like everything I’ve read by Stephen Baxter, too.

If you are a fan of the science end of science fiction, you’ll like this one

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