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Space (Manifold #2)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  3,963 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
The Japanese are in space, the US has turned inward - flights into space have become dreams of old men and women, dreams of an age of sublimated warfare which have left behind only images of charmingly antique rocket craft. Malenfant in this universe is not the reckless adventurer of TIME. He has stayed on Earth to invest in research into what he regards as long-term think ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published October 2nd 2000 by Voyager (first published August 2000)
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(showing 1-30)
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John Park
Two and a half stars.

There seem to be several traditional pitfalls in writing cosmic-scale SF. One is picking your audience, so you don't explain too much or assume too much of the technical background. Another is how to explain without introducing lectures and pulling your reader out of the story. A third is characters: to give your story meaning and impact you have to populate it with characters the reader can follow and care about; but how do you establish interesting characters without takin
Joseph Delaney
This is a great science fiction novel full of interesting ideas. It answers the questions we often ask such as:
Are there aliens out there amongst the stars?
If so why can’t we detect them and why aren’t they already here talking to us?
The answer is chilling!
We do eventually encounter aliens and pass through centuries which bring great changes to the earth. This book is an excellent read.
Stephen Baxter, in collaboration with Terry Pratchett, also wrote the first three books in the ‘Long Earth Se
Dec 28, 2012 Jesse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has not only made me a huge fan of Stephen Baxter's work, but has also earned him my respect and admiration.

This is a book that makes you think. Think beyond the story, and the characters, to the message it gives us, and to the questions it makes us ask ourselves.

What is the value of a life? Of a single life? Of all life?

What could really be out there, beyond our planet, elsewhere in our own solar system? Elsewhere in the galaxy? Elsewhere in the universe? What is the meaning behind it
Manifold is not a series per se, but rather different explorations of the theme “Are we alone in the universe?”. In “Time”, a portal is discovered in the solar system, and some fascinating stuff happens related to preserving life and intelligence in the long term. In “Space”, The Fermi Paradox is suddenly reversed, with aliens appearing everywhere and the whole universe is just one big fight for resources, to the point of utter barbarism.

I had some nasty nightmares after these, which is why I wi
Noah M.
Nov 30, 2008 Noah M. marked it as abandoned-for-sucking  ·  review of another edition
I'm not going to give this a rating because I didn't finish it.

After 100 pages of uninteresting crap I decided to just call it quits. It starts in almost the exact same way as Manifold: Time did, but then it rapidly proceeds down an orderly fashion.

The main character is the same as Manifold: Time. Here he is in one of the alternate time-lines that the first book spawned. Except he doesn't do anything in this one. It takes him about half a page to go from Earth to HALF WAY TO ALPHA-FUCK
Oct 24, 2014 Tomislav rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
It is the second in the Manifold series -
1) Manifold: Time
2) Manifold: Space
3) Manifold: Origin

Even though this book starts in 2020, 10 years after the start of Manifold:Time, and features the same Reid Malenfant character, it is definitely not a sequel. The future history of Earth and humanity diverge almost immediately. In this future history, we meet our first contact aliens as they enter the solar system. Through the use of saddle point gateways, individuals are able to translate themselves
Scott Kleinpeter
Aug 24, 2016 Scott Kleinpeter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun, sf
Borges pointed out Chesterton attempted to preserve the Epic Mode in "The Ballad of the White Horse," but could not overcome the sweeping majesty of American Western pictures. To me, even though I really enjoyed "Once Upon a Time in the West," it was somewhat deflationary thing to read, especially from my hero. He mentions in the same essay that no great Epics emerged after the two World Wars. I believe that the reason for this is that an Epic, for it to reach the level of the sublime, it must o ...more
Travis Weir
Oct 14, 2013 Travis Weir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Absolutely magnificent, both in it's scope, and in the strength of it's overall message about a possible future of humanity, and other life forms, in this universe. Baxter's descriptions of planets never before seen by human eyes, such as Venus and Mercury, were truly wonderful and left me almost feeling like I was standing on the planet's surface.

I especially enjoy the fact that each of the book in the Manifold series are in essence are a parallel universe. It fits in with what happened at the
Aug 23, 2014 Velma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of hard scifi
Despite a few minor quibbles (difficult to keep track of characters, some stretching of credulity concerning the lifespan of equipment and technology, some science fatigue), I enjoyed Manifold: Space almost as much as its predecessor. I particularly appreciate that Baxter writes convincing, complex female characters that are central to the action. I will probably seek out the final title in the 'series', Manifold: Origin.
Feb 08, 2009 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a light read. This book gains mega-points for having a coherent (although complex) storyline which, for the most part, is believable. Someone I know said to me that the difference between sci-fi and fantasy is that sci-fi tries to convincingly justify the new technology, something Baxter does extremely well.

This is a long read, and it does drag in places. But if you're interested in the Fermi Paradox and vaguely believable sci-fi, then this is right up your street.
Greg Knight
Sep 16, 2008 Greg Knight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans, goths
Recommended to Greg by: ellen
This is a depressing, but more realistic than most, take on what space travel would be like, assuming teleportation did exist. Travelers live through generations while being teleported between planetary systems (at light speed) - and come home to an earth they don't recognize.

Aliens take a *very* inhuman shape this time around.

Baxter poses an interesting potential solution to Fermi's Paradox.

Worthwhile though make sure you're not depressed already when you start it.
Ninke Hermsen
Aug 22, 2012 Ninke Hermsen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
I found the story interesting. It has the same characters, but they live totally different lives from the first time you met them. It really does read like an exploration of the theme (Space). Sometimes so, that you loose the storyline a bit: the vast expanses of relapsed time alienate you from the people on the planets, just like it does the main caracters.
I found the theories on the development/ exploitation of planets fascinating to read. All in all an entertaining story.
Jack Pramitte
Jun 29, 2015 Jack Pramitte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Peut-être mon livre de science-fiction préféré. Rempli d'idées fascinantes. Une incroyable et émouvante histoire du futur.
Florin Constantinescu
This review covers the entire 4-book Manifold series:

Your garden variety 4-book trilogies usually start the plot off in the first book, then leave you with 2 or 3 cliff-hangers before maybe resolving everything in the 4th book.
Even SB had previously subscribed to this concept.

Today, let's try something new: why don't we make books 2 and 3 be not sequels or prequels to book 1, but rather sidels, if you wish. A sort of rewrites featuring the same characters, only the premises completely different
Robert Lebling
Jan 06, 2017 Robert Lebling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It truly expands your mind, and shows how petty much of our activity is. There are much larger forces at work in this book's Universe and the human experiment-- as exciting as it is -- is only a sideline. Congrats to Baxter for thinking big.
Blake Garvin
Feb 03, 2015 Blake Garvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Manifold Space, by Stephen Baxter, is an excellent science fiction novel that will keep you turning the pages with its mind blowing theories of the development of life. The book starts in the year 2020 with new booms in space travel beyond what we could imagine by 2020, colonies on the moon, the human race expanding towards new heights, going towards travelling the universe.
Malenfant, an aging, out-of-his-time astronaut, is losing fame, money, and his credibility. His theories on space travel
Nov 14, 2008 Terran rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Terran by: Droids & Dragons book club in ABQ
This is an intriguing examination of the Fermi paradox. The ideas are compelling. I just wish that there had been a story and some characters to go with the pop science essays.

The core thesis of the book, that life is nearly inevitable and fills the galaxy, is at least mildly plausible. I certainly want to believe it and, given the presence of life in truly mind-boggling conditions here on Earth (extremophiles living in volcanic vents; buried in hundreds of meters of Antarctican ice; found in tr
Peter Goodman

“Manifold: Space,” by Stephen Baxter (Del Ray, 2001). This is the second of Baxter’s “Manifold” quartet. The next two are “Origin,” which seems self-explanatory, and “Phase Space,” which is not. As in “Time,” Baxter uses bits and pieces of quantum theory, astronomy, biology, etc., to create a huge, eon-encompassing saga whose focus, this time, is on the immensity of space. This time, the universe is unfailingly malevolent. Once again, Reid Malenfant is the protagonist, though Emma is dead, and t
Cameron Allen
Aug 21, 2013 Cameron Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After the savagely mind-boggling, stupendous Time, I just had to come back for more. Space is my all-time favorite, go-to avenue for SF, so I had high hopes for it.

I however did not, could not, expect what I was in for.

It concerns the same focal characters as Time, but placed in an alternate universe. While Time focused on humanity's longevity, and the consequences of learning our own ultimate destiny; a long, empty, futile march into eternity, Space concerns the Fermi Paradox: if the universe i
Rating this one was a struggle. There's much to admire here. Baxter is, for a hard SF guy, a pretty solid writer and stylist--he creates plausible characters and is very adept as writing well-crafted, memorable prose. There are a lot--and I mean a LOT--of mind-bending and cool ideas in this book, everything from weird crystalline plants on the moon that grow backwards in time through numerous alien species, ancient life forms revived, engineering on a stellar level, etc. If offers an interesting ...more
Small and fragile in a big, bad universe: For my money, this is the best of Baxter's highly variable output. My main grouch is that the title is wrong. This is the book in the manifold series that should be called 'Time'! Baxter conveys a wonderful impression of the depth and strangeness of the future. By contrast, although there is plenty of star hoping, the book's main action centres on the solar system itself.

The chief challenge in any novel spanning centuries and millennia is to maintain a c

Oct 28, 2013 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Despite being something of a sequel to Manifold: Time this is pretty much a stand-alone book. It's set in a different universe to Time, and this time Reid Malenfant has to deal with aliens. Lots of them. Here Baxter really explores the idea of the Fermi Paradox, the idea that if aliens exist why can't we see evidence of them everywhere? Well in this book the Gajin, an alien race, turn up in the solar system and it soon becomes clear that there is evidence of alien life across the galaxy. Suddenl ...more
Manifold: Space was not a terrible book, but it did leave me heavily disappointed. I loved Manifold Time. The concepts it introduced. The epic, grand scale of what was going on. It worked on a lot of levels for me. And I found it highly inspirational. An optimistic view of how the universe works and humanity's ultimate destiny.

This book did a great job of replicating that during the prologue. It's an excellent, almost fist-pumping start to the book. It gave me a heady rush while reading it. I wa
Dec 27, 2008 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baxter combines truckloads of real-world physics with clear thinking about the ramifications of the economics of interstellar travel and colonization to make an unsettling novel. It is hard to argue with his conclusions about the economics and logistics of an exponentially expanding population, the resource pressures involved, and the speed of light as a harsh mistress. The conclusion is an uncompromisingly Darwinian galaxy where the only logical result of the meeting of two civilizations is bru ...more
Jan 09, 2013 David rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: near-future
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charles Oakley
What follows is a more of a personal review rather than a generic one; also, it might contain spoilers...

Overall I liked it, but found it too lengthy. Great ideas don't need that much text. The introduction of new characters, to show how vast and heartless the universe is, was ok in a sci-fi context, but I much preferred the more character driven first book. We hardly got to see Malenfant in the second book, even though his transformation into cybernetic existence was quite a turn... I kep think
Benjamin Atkinson
Jan 19, 2015 Benjamin Atkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hard SF readers only
Shelves: hard-sf
I greatly enjoyed this middle entry in his Manifold Quartet. I feel it is morally incumbent if not simply kind, to mention that this novel will not appeal to most fans of Space Opera. I state that because this is a book of ideas with characters used as connective tissue. Without a certain mysterious Japanese scientist their would not be a single truly excellent character in the entire novel. However,and it is a big however, this book is on fire with cosmological speculation. Where do we come fro ...more
Bill Purdy
Mar 03, 2008 Bill Purdy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Geeks. Pretty much only geeks.
Recommended to Bill by: Heard it mentioned on NPR
Manifold: Space is even more ambitious in its scope than its predecessor, Manifold: Time (and that one was pretty ambitious). Portals show up in this one, too, but they are designed to allow interstellar travel. Several humans (including Reid himself, and some neanderthals, and a few others) warp from port to port, allowing them to live for thousands of years and, with the help of an alien robot-like species, follow the development (or devolvement, in some cases) of humankind over vast periods o ...more
Krzysztof Kot
Mar 14, 2010 Krzysztof Kot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting sci-fi that takes place over nine thousand years! This allows the author to explore many what-if types of scenarios and how human settlement might look on a far future earth as well as other planets in our solar system.

The central theme of the book is a discussion of how human expansion into the stars might look as we expand from star to star. Extrapolating this Baxter asks a compelling question "if this sort of expansion is possible, wouldn't someone have done it by now? Where
Duane Steenson
Jun 07, 2014 Duane Steenson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My definition of a great book is one that changes you somehow after you've read it. This book changed me in a significant way. It changed the way I thought about time. Time is a fundamental agreement we have here on earth. I say I'll meet you at 4 pm. You say ok and it works because we agree on what 4 pm is, and will be. Arthur C. Clarke said the same thing after reading this book. You'll never think about time the same way again. We're talking big picture thinking here. We live, grow old and di ...more
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Stephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge (mathematics) and Southampton Universities (doctorate in aeroengineering research). Baxter is the winner of 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 ...more
More about Stephen Baxter...

Other Books in the Series

Manifold (4 books)
  • Manifold: Time (Manifold, #1)
  • Manifold: Origin (Manifold Trilogy)
  • Phase Space

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“Is it really conceivable, given all of that immensity, all that structure, that we are truly alone? That life emerged here, and nowhere else?” 1 likes
“The Earth gave you life, gave you food and language and intelligence, and will take you back when you die.” 1 likes
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