Anthony Eaton's Reviews > Ark

Ark by Stephen Baxter
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's review
Dec 29, 10

Read in December, 2010

This is Stephen Baxter returning to his best form, which is something I found particularly satisfying after the slightly less-than-his-usual-brilliance of 'Flood' (The prequel to 'Ark')

In many ways, it might be equally as valid to spell the title of this book using the homonym 'Arc', because the narrative arc of this novel has all the trademark broadness of scope that Baxter is so good at managing; the storyline covers a vast expanse of both time and space, and Baxter is unafraid to take huge leaps - sometimes fifteen or twenty years into the future, allowing the gaps to tell as much of the story as the words on the pages. It's a compelling way to write, and he does it beautifully.

As ever with Stephen Baxter, the science is engaging, interesting and - particularly importantly from my point of view - solidly rooted in contemporary, real world possibilities. The characters are well rounded and crafted, and unlike its prequel, 'Ark' had none of the slightly set-piece action sequences or deus ex machina devices to try and hold the reader's attention. Instead the compulsion to read comes from beautifully set up crisis, several hideous devil's alternative decision moments for the characters, and genuinely imaginative writing.

I'm not certain whether ark is a second book in an ongoing series or trilogy, or the finale to this strand of ideas. The ending could go either way. I really hope it's the former.

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