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Exultant (Destiny's Children #2)

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  1,400 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
When it comes to cutting-edge science fiction, Stephen Baxter is in a league of his own. His mastery of hard science, his fearlessly speculative imagination, and his ability to combine grand philosophical questions with tales of rousing adventure make him essential reading for anyone concerned with the future of humankind. Now, in Exultant, Baxter takes us to a distant fut ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Del Rey (first published 2004)
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Daniel Roy
May 03, 2011 Daniel Roy rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf
I would definitely call Stephen Baxter's Exultant an interesting book, but I would be hard-pressed to recommend it to anyone. It has some very exciting SF concepts, but they are buried in a plot that makes so litle sense and dialog that will make you cringe.

Baxter is a man of ideas, but it seems he is too busy pondering grand concepts to put them in the proper context of a good story. There are truly mind-boggling concepts; even too many, it seems, because some have barely a page or two of devel
Aug 29, 2008 Betsey rated it it was amazing
There was a lot of really interesting stuff in this book! I don't understand all the reviews that say it doesn't tie into the first book of the series, Coalescent. It totally does! Lots of ways. I like the humans as insects analogies, all over the place. And the different types of social insects. The dark matter theorizing, and the idea of the monads was pretty cool. I also thought that Baxter really pulled out of his mold in this book. It feels much fresher and alive than the Manifold series, f ...more
Michel Meijer
Jan 17, 2016 Michel Meijer rated it really liked it
For someone slightly interested in theoretical physics and space operas, this book is it. Stephen Baxter takes all kinds of physics theories and thinking and puts it to work in the story. The evolution of the universe and how it all came to be is a consistent plot in the books he made. This story plays at the end of time in his space opera, the big showdown fight between humanity and its big enemie in the Galaxy, the Xeelee. And somehow the fight is about sacrificing young soldiers on rocks in t ...more
Omar Rivero
Aug 09, 2016 Omar Rivero rated it it was amazing
Any Stephen Baxter book with the enigmatic Xeelee automatically goes on my "must read" list. This book was no exception. I was very disappointed in the previous book in the series "Coalescent". The themes of that book didn't gel for me and I frankly found the subject matter disturbing. This book was an entirely different case. It took me longer to read than most of my books, simply because Baxter does not write what we would consider page turners. As with his other Xeelee sequence books, I would ...more
Feb 19, 2011 Chrissy rated it really liked it
My husband got this as part of a white elephant gift and the only reason I read it was because I was snowed in from work and bored. I was happily surprised! I liked how he handled the complications and paradoxes of time travel as well as the emotions, struggles, growth of the characters. Good book all around.
Nov 21, 2015 John rated it it was ok
Even Beethoven wrote a few duds. This sequel to Baxter's excellent 2003 novel "Coalescent" is a real disappointment. Its connection with that previous novel is extraordinarily tenuous, and this is the first of many problems, since "Exultant" fails to follow up on some of the loose threads left hanging at the end of "Coalescent." But the problems with "Exultant" run much deeper than that. This is the first Baxter novel I've read that felt like he just phoned it in, like his heart really wasn't in ...more
Mark Easter
From Publishers Weekly

Military SF fans will relish the second entry in Baxter's Destiny's Children trilogy, set long after the events recounted in 2003's Coalescent. When navy pilot Pirius and his crew violate protocol during a skirmish with the alien Xeelee and end up capturing a ship from "mankind's most ancient and most powerful foe," instead of accolades, two versions of Pirius—Pirius Red and Pirius Blue, from different time lanes—receive punishment. Pirius Red accompanies the eccentric Ni

Shane Kiely
Jul 12, 2015 Shane Kiely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sequel of sorts to Coalescent, this is the story of a millennia long war in the far distant future between an almost Spartan human civilisation & a race of aliens that exist outside the substance of our universe. In simpler terms it deals with a pilot named Pirius & how his potential to change the course of the Galaxy's history. So clearly Baxter felt Coalescent wasn't traditionally sci fi enough & decided to make up for that this time around. I won't even pretend to know anything ...more
Roger Bailey
This is hard science fiction right on the cutting edge of physics, cosmogeny and cosmology just like I like it. The plot concerns an interstellar war with an unfathomable species and presents some interesting twists and turns because both sides can accomplish time travel and thereby can receive actionable information from the future. Just give some thought to how that would effect strategy and tactics. To me, though, the most interesting premise of the book is what is actually something of a sub ...more
Jun 29, 2009 Kevin rated it liked it
Time travel paradox bifurcate the hero's journey.
Baxter has a head full of great concepts, and not all seem to make it to the page intact. The war between human and the mysterious Xeelee introduces a lot of wild concepts (most familiar among them the idea of war as Malthusian population control), but when we meet the bureaucrats on Earth who command the war effort these ideas teeter on the brink of clumsy satire; when the younger Pirius is granted an audience with one such bureaucrat, the man be
Jan 13, 2014 Ian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book of the Destiny’s Children trilogy, and I quite enjoyed the first, Coalescent (see here), so I was expecting to enjoy this one too. But… oh dear. The earlier book had two main narratives, one set in the present day and the other in Ancient Britain. Exultant is set wholly in the distant future, when humanity is at war with the Xeelee, and has been for over a thousand years. A pair of teen soldiers become involved in a series of attempts to strike a final blow against the Xe ...more
Mar 15, 2012 Michael rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Hard SF
This was definitely an interesting read, especially me being someone who is not only a science fiction fan but also a quantum physics fan. This books utilizes many current theories of quantum physics, and even builds a few of its own, and paints a universe more colorful and full of diversity than I had ever imagined.

The story is long, so if you're looking for an action-packed experience, this isn't for you. The story seems unnecessarily convoluted, and drags on in many cases, leaving the reader
Mar 06, 2010 Tim rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Again, I'd really like to give this book 3.5 stars. Probably the most readable of the loosely connected trilogy that includes Coalescent and Transcendent, but the least provocative in terms of ideas. There is still great stuff in here. Love the "silver ghosts."

What I like about Baxter is that he's not repeating tired cliches about a science fiction future. He's doing fresh stuff.

The only author I can compare him to in the scope of his future historical vision is Olaf Stapledon though perhaps Art
I read the first in this trilogy and it was earthbound real time and historical so familiar. I skipped a lot of this follow-up which is futuristic and space-bound. I think it appeals to that part of Baxter's readership that are into space opera, star wars or Haldeman 'Forever War'. I enjoyed Heinlein's 'Starship Troopers' but can't see anything better past it. I intend to read the third in the trilogy, which at least starts on an Earth with recognisable characters.
Apr 13, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This book is very different from the previous book. I enjoyed it a lot more. There was more flow to the story. There were times when it got kind of bogged down just for the sake of being bogged down I believe.

I liked the fact that he talked about the coalescent in this book, but it wasn't really in the forefront, unless you talk about the military and the way they used kids for fighting.

There was a lot of good ideas in the book and unfortunately, he didn't really go into too much detail. The ali
Kieren Bonner
Jan 31, 2015 Kieren Bonner rated it it was amazing
i really enjoyed this book i have been working through the entire xeelee sequence and this book really helped me grasp a deeper understanding of the universe that stephen baxter has built.

this is my favourite stephen baxter book, and was also the first one i read,
Peter Walton-Jones
Exultant is the 2nd in the 4 part "Destiny's Children" series. I found it superior to the story told in part 1. Baxter does not write what I would call classic sci-fi. He writes like the good and capable story teller that he is; creating wide-sweeping and complex scenarios that generally sustain a readers' attention. This story is set far, far in the future; in the 3rd expansion of human-kind into the universe. There is much sort of technical detail in this story that doesn't really work for me, ...more
Eva Asker
Feb 14, 2016 Eva Asker rated it it was ok
Although I didn't like this book I continued reading, but the regards never came. Mindboggling physics, but none of the characters are interesting and some concepts in the book are never explained. This book for me was a waste of time and not at all as good as the first one in the serie.
Casey Robinson
Jul 13, 2014 Casey Robinson rated it really liked it
I just cannot read the first book in any Stephen Baxter series first. I always always always start with a non-first.

Oh well at least I didn't start with the last one this time, like I did with the Xeelee sequence.
Jan 07, 2016 Dave rated it liked it
I liked the book, but I feel this series doesn't fit together well. There was such a gap between book #1 and this book, and they had so little in common, that there seems little reason to read these in order.
Aug 21, 2015 Quiddity rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed the embedded idea/sub-sections about the formation of life at the very start of the universe. The rest, not so much.
Jun 10, 2015 Todd rated it really liked it
Easily the best book of the trilogy, the type of far-flung futuristic hard sci-fi madness that I love Baxter for.
Tharindra Kaluthotaarachchi
Better than coalescent..manages to drag the characters and the story in a good pace which is really difficult in a story like this. Nice and interesting possibilities for life but it would have been better if the author found a way to bring out their existence from actual findings in the story arc with reasoning and inferring by main characters rather than from a scientist who finally realizing it and blurting it out to the blue. That seems to be the only downside for this book.. and there's no ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Scott rated it really liked it
Fantastic continuation of a great tale.
Duncan Rice
Jan 05, 2015 Duncan Rice rated it really liked it
The first book helps the reader understand the cultural context and conflicts. But if you skip it this book stands alone quite well. The first third comes off as a dull narrative. Stick with it because the book gets very good after that as the speculative social and science aspects come forward.
Apr 01, 2016 David rated it really liked it
Another long but amazingly detailed and varied read from Stephen Baxter. How does he think this stuff up?
Gary Swan
May 21, 2016 Gary Swan rated it it was ok
Coalecent was a great book ,this just tried to be too clever and never tied in with book 1.
Aug 03, 2015 Max rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a good story, original in its ideas about the very beginning of the universe, some of its early inhabitants and the time before the Big Bang, but at times a bit moralistic and in places it is not convincing in its dealing with technical aspects. One of the man characters, Commissary Nilis, is not always credible. As volume two in the Destiny's Child trilogy, it is an interesting sequel to Coalescent; it is not as grippng as that first volume, though.
Paul Williams
Jun 28, 2013 Paul Williams rated it liked it
Amazing depth of imagination about the different stages of evolution of the universe - and life. I think Baxter needs to stick to this writing style, unlike the books before and after it in this series.

It's connection to other books in this series, and the greater Xeelee cycle, is quite baffling. Check some chronologies before you read, unless you want to read the conclusion of the Xeelee conflict before it starts!
Chiththarthan Nagarajan
Feb 12, 2015 Chiththarthan Nagarajan rated it really liked it
subtlety, intriguing, riveting. Non doctrinal till the end!
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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

Destiny's Children (4 books)
  • Coalescent (Destiny's Children, #1)
  • Transcendent (Destiny's Children, #3)
  • Resplendent (Destiny's Children, #4)

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“The past is a distraction, a source of envy, enmity, bitterness. Only the present matters, for only in the present can we shape the future.

Cut loose the past; it is dead weight.
Let the Extirpation continue. Let it never end.”
“A brief life burns brightly.” 3 likes
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