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(Xeelee Sequence #3)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,360 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Imagine a race of submicroscopic humans, genetically engineered to live in the universe's most hostile environment, the turbulent superfluid mantle of a neutron star

Imagine that the memory of the superbeings who created them has been kept alive from generation to generation.

Now imagine the most incredible family reunion in history--and you're ready for the latest mind-expa
Mass Market Paperback, 366 pages
Published August 3rd 1998 by Voyager (first published 1993)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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 ·  1,360 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I try to read most books without reading the synopsis first, it is more fun discovering the story that way, but for Stephen Baxter’s books this never work out. Baxter has an immense imagination backed by a profound knowledge of science. He is also quite a good storyteller, definitely an ideal combo for writing hard sci-fi… but! I suspect he may find it difficult to conceive how little the layman understand scientific principles that he takes for granted. I imagine he hasn’t been a layman since t ...more
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, I really did. But I didn't. It's certainly not because I don't enjoy hard sf. Far from it. The first two in Baxter's Xeelee sequence, while far from literary triumphs, at least kept my attention and were fun to read. I have to admit that after 160 pages of Flux, I was forced to do something I never do: skim through sections until I hit some meat, which was much closer to the end of the story than I would have liked. I didn't care about any of the storylines except one ...more
Esteban LV
Dec 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
Ugh! Even worse than "Raft"!

Well, it's not that they're bad novels per se, it's just that they're so... parroquial. They're absolutely not space operas, but small stories of a small group of ignorant people on a remote corner of the universe. That universe happens to be the same as "Timelike Infinity", so I read them just because of that, but if you're planning to read the Xeelee saga, you can skip Raft and Flux and have a better time sleeping, they feel so alien to the "proper" Xeelee universe,
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
3 Stars

Flux by Stephen Baxter, Book 3 in the Xeelee sequence, did not live up to the first two novels. I made a huge mistake in that I should have never moved on to this book after immediately having read Timelike Infinity. I absolutely loved that book and was thrilled with the hard science, deep philosophy, and great characters. With such an emotional impact, I should have waited a bit to move on to this book. I am giving this read 3 stars only because the world building is that good.

It is sad
Lee Belbin
About a 200m spherical world inhabited by 'humans'. Some 'steam punk' aspects. The usual comparisons of 'modern' vs tribal worlds. Easily put down. ...more
Johan Haneveld
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
9+ Yes, I can see how people would award this book lesser stars. There are some pretty critical reviews on here. And I can see where those critics come from. I would even agree with them, I think, if I didn't pick up this book to read a Stephen Baxter tale. If a Stephen Baxter story is what you want to read - a far future story, featuring almost uncomprehensible science, rocking your brain, encompassing a scale of galaxies and larger and grand conclusions with a sense of awe about them - this is ...more
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Incredible. Life inside the mantle of a star, where breathable "Air" is actually more nearly a liquid than a gas with a density nearly identical to a human body, where "humans" essentially swim instead of walk. In addition to the hard science fiction aspects, I really enjoyed the contrast between the primitive but wise outsiders with the cultured but ignorant people of the city.

I've enjoyed Baxter's novels, but this was the best so far. The climax kept pushing until the end, and the story had so
May 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
Here's a memorable quote from the book -

"Painfully slow,..." There. Yes. That's a quote. From the book. I'm not gonna give the context, since I think it is never out of place in the ENTIRE book, the storyline being good for about 1/5th or even 1/10th of its size.

And the science. It is all off. Flux lines! Flux lines can't hit you! They are not discrete as implied in the story multiple times. Smelling photons. Impossible because it depends on a faster than light physiology. Not to mention instant
Evgeny Petrov
Sep 14, 2013 rated it liked it
The worst in four books Xelee sequence. You can skip this book and to miss nothing.
Feb 28, 2021 added it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I suppose I've lost some of my sense of wonder over the years. There was a time when I believed I might actually get offplanet during my lifetime, but that dream just slides further and further away as NASA underachieves and private industry fails to step up to the plate. That said, you can understand why I find Baxter's account of life on the surface of a neutron star less than thrilling - more of an amusing tale in the tradition of Barsoom or Gor.

Unfortunately, the tale wasn't anywhere near as
Peter Dunn
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another Xeelee sequence book full of huge and ambitious SF ideas such as what would live inside a neutron star look like and the answers to that are clever and entertaining. These big ideas alone are worth reading Baxter’s Xeelee novels for, but this book also comes closest to having believable characters whom the reader can empathise with, which isn’t a common phenomenon in science fiction in general, and rarer still in the Xeelee stories.

The big unanswered question that no one in the book eve
Florin Constantinescu
This has to be the craziest idea ever or a science-fiction novel: in the remote future, a group people have been miniaturized and tasked with living inside of and steering a neutron star that was fired at an immense cosmic structure created by enemies of humans.

Occupying a side-slot in the grand Xeelee history, this novel also serves to show how Baxter's style has improved since his clumsy debut, "Raft", in spite of the even harder science. The group of characters that this book is concerned wit
Chris Backhouse
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Flirted with giving this one 3 stars. For the first 2/3 of the book the fact that everyone's a microscopic being living inside a neutron star is essentially irrelevant. We just have a very slow story of aborigines seeing the big city for the first time. Of course at the end it goes all Baxtery and big things happen very quickly. ...more
Anupriya Karippadath
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quite unlike anything I've read before, in a good way. I must say, I prefer Baxter's grander-scaled stories, like Vacuum Diagrams and Ring. Flux is limited to a single world(ish) of human(ish) habitation, but it has enough of the strange and wonderful in it to keep the readers' attention through a story that does plod on a bit at times. ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've been working my way through the Xeelee Sequence, and this is about where I can safely say I'm hooked. Original BIG concepts throughout this series, and hard sci-fi to the max. This tale of modified post-humans living in the mantle of a neutron star is as mindbending as it sounds. So good. ...more
Julie Furnell
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
I usually enjoy Stephen Baxter's novels but this is one of his weakest. Nothing much really happens and I struggled to finish it. To be honest, as others have said you could just skip this one in the Xeelee sequence. ...more
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
One of the few books I've given up on. Had no desire to finish this. The first two books in the series were decent and had some unique concepts but this was just too dull. Gonna have to take a hard pass at the rest of the Xeelee series. ...more
Fredric Rice
Dec 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I have read all of the Xeelee series novels, yet everything that Stephen Baxter writes is a good tread, well almost all of them. ;)
Jan 16, 2021 rated it liked it
A brilliant 200 page story slogged over 400 pages. It took far too long to get this story moving but in the end, if you enjoy his xeelee sequence, this one is still worth the read.
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2011 added it
Promising but, disappointing: The most striking thing about this novel is the setting. The events take place within a thin layer just below the surface of a neutron star.

Somehow, life is possible within this environment and the main characters are a tiny race of beings created by humans to be able to live in the environment.

Within this world, the author creates a preindustrial society whose attitudes bear an odd resemblance to those on the planet Norfolk in Peter Hamilton's "Night's Dawn" series

Michael O'Donnell
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
“Dura woke with a start. There was something wrong. The photons didn’t smell right.”

Any story which begins like that can’t help but pique one’s interest and draw you in, and this is just what Flux does.

The third novel in Stephen Baxter’s Xeelee sequence is set inside a neutron star and follows microscopic Human Being, Dura, on a journey from the boondocks of the star’s mantle, downflux to the city of Parz, near the south pole. On arrival in Parz, Dura must survive ‘Glitches’ in the star’s magnet
Sep 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Innovative projection of the future of humanity, but kind of a mish mash as a novel. The characters are so-so, the real focus of the book is that they're microscopic, and genetically engineered to live in an unnatural environment. Once that idea is spelled out, it's mainly the interaction of the characters to keep you involved, and Baxter isn't that great at dialog or interpersonal development. You really don't care about any of the characters, their emotions are so repressed. When you finally g ...more
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved the concept of this book, I loved the world and the "humans" in it and the feeling of a deep strangeness, of reading about a totally alien culture, at first without being aware of it. But it was so tiring! I know a little bit about quantum physics and possible ways of space travel and this was not the first example of excellent and well-researched science fiction I read. But I'm not a physicist, I don't have the energy to read every page of a book about 10 times until I finally understan ...more
Aug 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoyed Hot house by Brian Aldis or Dragon's Egg by Robert Forward, you should enjoy thus too. Set in the far future, it's about a race of people genetically engineered to survive in a neutron star. They think of themselves as human even though everything is different, their body chemistry is based on tin, not carbon. They smell photons and see by echo location, and they are very, very small. They live in an inverted world inside a star, the crust where plants grow is above, the quantum s ...more
Wynand Schoonbee
I did not enjoy Flux nearly as much as Timelike Infinity. It eventually started dragging in the middle making me want to skim to more intresting parts, but I persevered to the end. Let's hope the next book in the Xeelee series (Ring) is more engaging.

Perhaps it's because I've read neutron star science fiction (notably the novels Dragons Egg & it's sequel Star Quake by Robert L. Forward), and the contrast in the world building and hard science fiction in those novels are markedly superior to Flu
Lord Humungus
May 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Probably my favorite book in the Xeelee/Ring Cycle, and one of my favorite Baxter books. Incredibly imagined with a showstopper ending (at least for me). I didn't know it was part of the sequence when I read it and this made it all the more unusual. The only reason Time Ships gets more stars is because Time Ships was also incredibly fun and entertaining. ...more
Mar 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
As he did in Raft, Baxter plays with an idea in this novel. Heavily modified humans have colonized the mantle of a neutron star. The micro story taking up most of the novel is rather pedestrian, but the setting is magnificent. The macro story is about the fulfillment of a long lost purpose. Fun idea but not such a fun read.
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
The third book in Stephen Baxter's Xeelee sequence is his most straight forward and entertaining book of the three so far. Gone is the overwhelming physics info dumps, replaced with an Asimov-esque adventure tale, a story of a culture clash and the exploration of similar themes to the effect of the Empire in Asimov's universe. ...more
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Started to read this book (the 3rd in Baxter's Xeelee Sequence), but it was, even for me, a little too "out there" and after a couple of chapters, it really just wasn't working, so I set it aside and moved onto the next book (Ring).
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Young Woman lives in a Neutron Star [s] 4 29 Oct 19, 2011 02:13PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Xeelee Sequence (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • Raft (Xeelee Sequence, #1)
  • Timelike Infinity (Xeelee Sequence, #2)
  • Ring (Xeelee Sequence, #4)
  • Vacuum Diagrams (Xeelee Sequence, #5)
  • Making History & Reality Dust (Xeelee Sequence, #6)
  • Riding the Rock (Xeelee Sequence, #7)
  • Mayflower II (Xeelee Sequence, #8)
  • Coalescent (Destiny's Children, #1)
  • Exultant (Destiny's Children, #2)
  • Transcendent (Destiny's Children, #3)

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