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Manifold: Space (Manifold, #2)
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Manifold: Space (Manifold #2)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  2,966 ratings  ·  90 reviews
The year is 2020. Fueled by an insatiable curiosity, Reid Malenfant ventures to the far edge of the solar system, where he discovers a strange artifact left behind by an alien civilization: A gateway thatfunctions 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 gatew ...more
ebook, 512 pages
Published December 16th 2003 by Del Rey Books (first published August 2000)
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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
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
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.
Dec 02, 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
Blake Garvin
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
Ninke Hermsen
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.
Greg Knight
Sep 16, 2008 Greg Knight rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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.
Duane Steenson
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
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
Benjamin Atkinson
Mar 05, 2015 Benjamin Atkinson rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Cameron Allen
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
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
Nov 14, 2008 Terran rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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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
Bill Purdy
Apr 01, 2008 Bill Purdy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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

This is a very complex, thought provoking book. While engaging it definitely felt like a chore to wade through it at points. It also felt a bit redundant at points, but I did enjoy it and have I've never read anything quite like it so it gets points for uniqueness, intelligence, and depth. However, I couldn't imagine reading a lot of similar or related books as it feels "been there, done that". I tried to read 'Manifold: Origin' and didn't finish it as I was bored and got easily distracted.
Krzysztof Kot
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
Steven Bragg
The large number of ideas put forward in this book can be of interest, but the time scale is so massive that the book as a whole does not link together well, and so makes for a slow read. The result is less of a novel and more of a clustered-together set of concepts. Also, the overall tone is glum.
It was pretty clear pretty quickly that this Reid Malenfant was not the same as the one in Manifold:Time. It took a little while for me to realize that Baxter was fleshing out the opposite universe from Manifold:Time. In other words, this was the universe where life & mind evolved everywhere, in every nook & cranny. The worry was not running out of time, as in Manifold:Time, but running out of space. Interesting, almost like an etude, Baxter explores the different possible universes. In ...more
Carol Spears
This was not as good as the first (Manifold: Time). The characters were not as likable and the one character who stayed alive for all those centuries became dreary to me.

This seemed to be a bunch of possible situations connected more than a story like the first one was.
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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 every
Ugh...I just can't read any more of this. How can he make something that ought to be mind-boggling and earth shattering so dull? I know that's a basic human tendency--if aliens were discovered tomorrow, it would shake the world...and then after a while everyone would deal with it, the initial rush would fade away. It wouldn't be very long before everyone would just go back to their regular lives, because we're human, and that's what we do. But it doesn't make for a very good story. He manages to ...more
Quite an epic! Some reviewer said it was dismal, but I find this refreshing and nicely complementing Manifold: Time.
David H. Friedman
Reminds me of Arthur Clarke. Baxter lacks something of Clarke's delicate mysticism and poetry. He has much more science to play with, more physics and astrophysics, and his greatest strength is his descriptions of planetary surfaces and atmospheres; sun-, moon- and planet-rises; stellar and galactic evolution; collisions, eruptions, shockwaves on massive scales. His main characters are a bit flat, whereas his minor characters after have quirky and interesting little touches.


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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
  • Phase Space
Manifold: Time (Manifold, #1) The Time Ships Flood (Flood, #1) Ring (Xeelee Sequence, #4) Manifold: Origin

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“Thinking about paradoxes is the way human understanding advances. I think the Fermi paradox is telling us something very profound about the universe, and our place in it.” 0 likes
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