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The Light of Other Days

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,576 Ratings  ·  225 Reviews
When a brilliant, driven industrialist harnesses the cutting edge of quantum physics to enable people everywhere, at trivial cost, to see one another at all times: around every corner, through every wall, into everyone's most private, hidden, and even intimate moments. It amounts to the sudden and complete abolition of human privacy--forever.

Then, as society reels, the sa
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 15th 2001 by Tor Science Fiction (first published April 16th 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Scot McAtee
Jul 03, 2011 Scot McAtee rated it it was amazing
This is what sci-fi is all about. Highly recommend it.

When the world discovers how and when it will end, the decline of humanity begins immediately. Most people become nothing more than animals seeking hedonistic pleasures, as if they believed they were going to die that day. But one fellow keeps his wits about him and continues to invent. His greatest invention, the worm cam, alters the trajectory of humanity as much as the impending natural disaster.

One can't help but link the worm cam and it'
I first read this book in summer 2008, and probably not a month has gone by since then that this book hasn't popped into my mind, for one reason or another. The technology and social issues discussed here (particularly regarding the ever-evolving definition of privacy in a society where technology allows everyone to observe everyone at all times) were was a good 25+ years ahead of their time, and are still enormously relevant today.

Yes, the characters are pretty flat, but as with most science-fi
CJ Bowen
Jul 14, 2013 CJ Bowen rated it did not like it
An interesting concept that quickly descends into dreck. I expected better from a couple of genre masters. The writing style wanders, a common thing when more than one author is involved. Rather than a coherent science fiction story, this book lurches between sections of story, science, and case studies that with work, could have been turned into a novel.

The authors use wormholes as a device that enables universal surveillance, including reaching into the past. This could have been terribly inte
‘Luz de otros días’ es una obra de ciencia ficción especulativa escrita a cuatro manos por, a mi entender, dos grandes del género, ambos de origen británico. Uno es Arthur C. Clarke, del que a estas alturas poco se puede añadir, y el otro es Stephen Baxter, que de unos años a esta parte se ha abierto una hueco importante en el género, con obras ciertamente importantes como ‘Antihielo’, una ucronía espectacular, y ‘Las naves del tiempo’, la sorprendente continuación de ‘La máquina del tiempo’ de ...more
May 08, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it
First the bad: It felt at times like a bizarre collision of cyberpunk and classic golden-age sci fi. The characters sucked big time. The pacing and focus sometimes drifted too much. I am maybe too squeamish about sex scenes, but this felt over the top. The backdrop and "near future" was nearly too far-fetched, before even reaching the heart of the story.

Yet this is a book that lives and dies by its central idea, and it's a damn good one - so good that after slogging through the first 80ish pages
Jul 02, 2010 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 17, 2010 Aimee rated it liked it
Well, it was an interesting idea for a book: quantum physics allow instantaneous transmissions of data across space - cool enough. Then, because of distance-time equivalence in a quantum universe, scientists are able to start beaming transmissions from anywhere in time as well as space. The technology turns almost everyone in the world into a paparazzo of everyone else, and many people also retreat into historical voyeurism. A few people cope with the total loss of privacy by seeking newer, bett ...more
Dustin Sullivan
Mar 09, 2015 Dustin Sullivan rated it did not like it
This was an interesting idea that was horribly executed. The characters are very flat. The story is not compelling. The story"telling" is the worst. Major plot points are basically skimmed over.

I also think the authors tried to address too many issues in one story. Not only are there WormCams, which allow anyone to view any point in spacetime, there's an asteroid on course to destroy the world in 500 years. Oh yeah, and people adapt the WormCam technology to link their minds and create some sor
James Eckman
Jan 22, 2015 James Eckman rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: sf, fiction
This might be the worst novel I read this year, I certainly hope I don't read anything worse without being paid for it. First of this book is billed as a hard SF golden age, or as I like to say, bronze age, book and it lives up to its billing. First, it has the paper thin characters that characterized early SF. Even within these, there are horrible inconsistencies, why does Hiram, a paranoid control freak, hire Kate, a known enemy, to run a super-sensitive project? Why does Kate even go along wi ...more
Lolly's Library (Dork Kettle)
See, this is the problem with books written by "visionaries" who try to predict near-future events: When they get stuff wrong, it affects the entire reading experience. When you read a book published in 1950 and set in, say, 2000, it's easy to laugh at what the author thought the future would be (flying cars and regular trips to moon resorts, perhaps) and marvel at the things the author came close to getting right (perhaps a computer set-up very close to the internet or artificial bionic limbs). ...more
Jul 03, 2010 Bryan rated it it was amazing
Pedaphilic pornographic garbage: I had to stop reading because I could not tolerate this novel any longer! I read 280 pages, and just couldn't finish it. Explicit sexual scenes seem to be the norm with Baxter these days. In this pornographic novel, Baxter describes two naked teenage children having sex in public, with adults watching them while pleasuring themselves. He goes into graphic detail. It's disgusting and shameful.'s all part of the story, and their behavior is just a result of ...more
Aug 08, 2010 Raj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
When I was a couple of chapters into this book, I felt that I was going to struggle with it, since I was finding the characters unmemorable (and, when I did remember them, irritating), the plot thin and none of the really big ideas that Clarke is famous for. I was wondering if this was just another senile-period damp squib. However, I'd heard good things about it, so I stuck with it and was eventually rewarded.

A driven media entrepreneur, Hiram Patterson, creates a way to use artificial wormhole
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cynthianna /Celine Chatillon
This is a book that I really wanted to like--tried to like throughout the long slog of reading it. I've always been a big fan of Clarke since his Rendezvous with Rama and 2001 days, but alas I can't say I enjoyed reading The Light of Other Days quite as much. I realize Clarke wasn't the best with developing three-dimensional characters as he is with explaining esoteric science theories, but is it too much to expect at least one character in a novel of this scope be someone you can cheer on? The ...more
Brad Tull
Oct 23, 2014 Brad Tull rated it it was amazing
This was a really good read!I got into reading Stephen Baxter's other two books, "Flood" & "Ark" recently and loved them. When I saw that he wrote a book with Arthur C. Clarke, and the subject, I knew I would be in for a fun ride. They did not disappoint. What made this even more fun to read, was knowing that the book was written back in 2000. A lot of the ideas and technologies they wrote about are happening today, just with a different technology...the internet, web cams, streaming video e ...more
Mike Ebbert
I didn't enjoy this book very much. I'm not sure the authors knew what they wanted to write about. Characters appeared, got some development, and then were abandoned. People in society changed their lifestyles in response to technology, which is I think the core of the point they wanted to make. But people changed in far too short a time span, in my opinion, and unrealistically as well.

Several sexual passages seemed way out of place in the context of the rest of the book. They weren't too graphi
Mar 29, 2015 Thomas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Just as great as I remember it! Once you get through the first couple of chapters, this book is impossible to put down. The uses of micro wormholes and their effects on society really got me thinking. If time and space were yours to control, what would you do!

spoiler alert!

The only part of the story that ground my gears was the look into the past to find the true history of Jesus. I could care less to hear any more religious nonsense, and then once the actual history of Jesus is discovered, ther
Dec 03, 2008 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
After sixty pages I still felt no need to continue reading. I didn't feel like I knew or cared about the characters, knew or cared about the plot, or knew or cared about the technical jargon that litters so many of this book's pages. I got this book for free and thought that since it was co-authored by Arthur C. Clarke that it had to be at least decent. I mean, if there were a Mount Rushmore of science fiction, his face would be carved up there. But this book just didn't do it for me. I think I' ...more
Dániel Darabos
Jul 21, 2015 Dániel Darabos rated it it was ok
I am interested in the idea of a total erosion of privacy, and that is the central theme of this book. I think it does a fair job of covering this subject. But I found the book on the whole boring and weakly written.

Many subjects are covered without saying anything new. Self-driving cars, computers in our pockets, VR glasses, private space flight, climate change... I can open any tech journal and read the same stuff as in the novel. I guess it's an inherent difficulty with near-future stories bu
Patrick Gibson
Nov 18, 2014 Patrick Gibson rated it did not like it
Shelves: snorgasm
The premise is simple: In the near future, scientists discover how to generate tiny wormholes that can peer anyplace, anytime - even into the past. They are cameras of unlimited and unstoppable power. Naturally, society must adapt to this great change.

The idea of scientists being able to unravel the past makes for a great story that could really touch on some fantastic issues. Filled with promise, it fell flat. The themes and situations that could have been explored were barely touched on. What
Mar 19, 2014 Kacey rated it it was ok
I was hankering for some good sci-fi, and I knew that Arthur C. Clarke was always a safe bet in that category. Also, the premise of this novel really interested me. So I checked it out. And while some of the story was fairly interesting, there were also some things I didn't really like about it.

The initial story was the most intriguing part. It felt like an expansion of Big Brother, where everyone with access to a WormCam could spy on everyone else. And the use of this ability was very believabl
Mar 27, 2011 Andreas rated it it was amazing
This novel explores a really fascinating concept. What if technology could be developed that let us see any place in space and time, including past, present and future? Society would be transformed. Lying would be impossible.

But Clarke and Baxter take it much much further than that, and the ending is just plain incredible as, without spoiling it too much, humans can finally seek redeption for the crimes of ages past. Read this book.
Rich Griese
Feb 06, 2016 Rich Griese rated it liked it
The idea that one day anyone/everyone will be able to see everything that anyone in history has ever done is quite scary/embarrassing. In the immediate days after I finished the book I kept going over in my mind a number of the stupid things I had done in my life. I also realized that I had probably forgotten more embarrassing and stupid shit than I remembered. I couldn't decide if that was comforting or not.

Try to imagine a world where everything that anyone does is available to anyone else to
Oct 27, 2015 Ben rated it it was amazing
I noticed that there were lots of negative reviews of this book based on its lack of memorable and developed characters, the concepts portrayed in this book are the foundations of science fiction, if they are not to your liking then I suggest that teen drama might be more suited to you.

I quite enjoyed this book, it was quite different from much of the usual scifi in its writing style and focus. There was quite a bit less depth to characters as they would only have detracted from the almost philo
Mike Hammer
Mar 19, 2015 Mike Hammer rated it it was amazing
Very thought provoking sci-fi with excellent world-building. Baxter extrapolates all of the changes that might come to society after the invention of a method of seeing everyone, everywhere, undetected. Even the past can be viewed, leading to wonderfully written passages that reminded me of the best parts of Baxter's "Evolution" or certain parts of Crichton's "Timeline." Baxter is someone you read when you want this kind of writing - great, imaginative world building, evocative descriptions of e ...more
Lee Belbin
Dec 13, 2015 Lee Belbin rated it it was ok
The premise behind this book, a wormhole viewer, is a cute scenario for a SF novel, but it is not well handled. This is therefore not a typical Arthur C. Clarke novel, sadly. The frenetic pace, and the multitude of diversions detract greatly from the story. Some of the personalities are unbelieveable and inconsistent even if they were and many of the interpersonals are ridiculous. A potential meteor impact on the earth provides a theme through the book only to be dismissed inconsequentially at t ...more
Jeff Powers
Nov 04, 2015 Jeff Powers rated it liked it
The Light of Other Days feels like an old classic of science fiction. A simple story with barely fleshed out characters whose sole purpose is to fuel the futurist ideas of the book. This book reminds me of other works by the late Arthur C Clarke, and like his take on HG Wells really shows that Stephen Baxter can capture the voice of a classic writer. Like Childhoods End, Rama, or the 2001 series, this book has some big lofty ideas about our future and the implications of possible technology. But ...more
Jul 17, 2009 Jake rated it really liked it
The Light of Other Days, with its voyeuristic gaze back into history via worm-hole cameras was a pretty good read. It was fun imagining what historical events I would look back and witness: the Battle of Gettysburg; the dinosaurs; the Tunguska blast, etc. It’s a tantalizing technology to ruminate on, for a little while anyway.

Perhaps that’s why I didn’t fall in love with this book. There is too much too obvious about its suppositions. And most of it reflects poorly on our species. Of course the
Brent Stansfield
Nov 04, 2013 Brent Stansfield rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Z
May 03, 2012 Mary Z rated it really liked it
Hiram Patterson is a driven, capitalistic industrialist who tries to harness the ability to control wormholes so that he could ‘scoop’ his competition, see around every corner, into every hidden space and report the news before anyone else can. But the technology is too powerful to remain a secret long. Soon everyone can access a visual record of anything at any time with the “Wormcam”. And even time itself is no match for this technology, and people can peer, not only into each other’s bedrooms ...more
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Arthur C. Clarke was one of the most important and influential figures in 20th century science fiction. He spent the first half of his life in England, where he served in World War Two as a radar operator, before emigrating to Ceylon in 1956. He is best known for the novel and movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, which he co-created with the assistance of Stanley Kubrick.

Clarke was a graduate of King's Co
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