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Firstborn (A Time Odyssey, #3)
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(A Time Odyssey #3)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  3,199 ratings  ·  163 reviews
The Firstborn-the mysterious race of aliens who first became known to science fiction fans as the builders of the iconic black monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey-have inhabited legendary master of science fiction Sir Arthur C. Clarke's writing for decades. With Time's Eye and Sunstorm, the first two books in their acclaimed Time Odyssey series, Clarke and his brilliant ...more
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Del Rey Books (first published 2007)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  3,199 ratings  ·  163 reviews

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Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Concluding (sadly) the Time Odyssey trilogy, this book firmly solidifies the wildly disconnected first and second novels into one cohesive storyline.

There are bigger stakes, believe it or not. Badder weapons, new strangeness, and a direct call-back between Clarke's Firstborn race that became noncorporeal, were the architects of intelligent life, and who were directly referenced in all the psychedelic images from 2001 A Space Odyssey. If that doesn't get your blood pumping with all those
Nov 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Well... I am suitably impressed with the way this series just got better and better. This book was the best of the trilogy, and that's a feat because I was quite satisfied with book #2 (after being a bit underwhelmed with book #1).

The first book (Time's Eye) seemed like a science fantasy to me. (Of course, it's still Clarke & Baxter, so the science included will be accurate.) In the vein of Barsoom, in which an alternate Earth (called Mir) is explored, and alternate time-streams result in a
Peter Tillman
This is a novel that, by objective standards, is pretty bad. A slow and clumsy start, stock characters, plot points that make no sense.... And yet, and yet -- there's a lot of actual science in the story (documented in an afterword), and the story finally got moving and sucked me in. The time-sliced mosaic-world Mir, with a glacial North America filled with the Pleistocene megafauna, is pretty great (even if the human characters aren't). The space-battle with the incoming Q-missile is thrilling, ...more
Like some other readers, I had a harder time getting into this book than Time’s Eye and Sunstorm . I'll admit that one reason was my inability to fully grasp the scientific concepts involved. However, I also think that Stephen Baxter uses so much ink developing the technological and theoretical concepts that character development gets neglected.

Nevertheless, I loved the last 70 pages or so. Once Mr. Baxter gets past the predictable fate of the Q-bomb, the story opens up into a fascinating
May 14, 2015 rated it liked it
This series was all over the place for me. Time's Eye was interesting and fun but not necessarily amazing, but then I'd consider Sunstorm one of my favorite Clarke books. Sunstorm is classic Clarke and extremely well done. An alien threat that seems insurmountable, many failed attempts to stop it to the point that you're just as nervous as the characters to find out what they're going to do, and ingenious science that makes it all come together.

This, the third and final book in the series, has
K.A. Ashcomb
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you have been reading my previous book reviews, you know I have been gulping down A Time Odyssey series. I don't know why but this trilogy spoke to me. Maybe it is the what-if writing I respond to or to the concept that the entire world will end, but whatever is the reason I loved the series. It inspired me. The third book, Firstborn, added on to the problems which started in the first book. It tied the story together. When I read the second book, I had an inkling about how this series would ...more
Massimo Marino
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
An ancient race that will not share the available energy in the universe with other civilizations, and therefore is devoted to pursue the destruction of other intelligences as they become ‘competitors’; this is the premise of the great fresco by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter dedicated to the fight of humanity against the Firstborn who first became known to science fiction fans as the builders of the iconic black monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Firstborn have inhabited legendary ...more
Benjamin D.
Apr 11, 2017 rated it did not like it
Somewhere in this meandering travelogue is an outline for a decent book, but Baxter (I'm fairly certain Clarke wasn't actually involved in writing this) doesn't seem interested in it. In a rare moment of plot, when our main character finally matters, there's a couple pages of people talking about things, and then the event takes place off screen. None of the characters matter; they just move from place to place to place, and most are just caricatures anyway (What's that? Military guy is ...more
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I try to remind myself that my enjoyment of a book, or movie, or TV show, or game, whatever, stems from my expectations going into it. Which of course is why I’m sure I’ll hate the new Avengers movie when it comes out later this year, but I’ll probably love something that should be lame, like The Phantom Menace 3D experience – which I would probably see in 2D.

Anyhow, the last book I reviewed I was a bit harsh on. I expected a fun romp through a future universe full of FTL and mysterious aliens,
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
The third in the trilogy by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter which sees the Earth of the near-future face the threat of the firstborn, a malevolent alien race who want to destroy humanity. The book once again follows Bisea, who has survived the time-spliced version of Earth in Time's Eye and the huge sunstorm in Sunstorm. This time the threat is a quantum bomb heading straight for Earth.

Oddly we actually spend very little time on Earth as Bisea is taken to Mars to see a discovery which
Army of Penguins
Oof. I'll say this series was... interesting. I hadn't been a big fan of Time's Eye, but Sunstorm had been absolutely epic. And now this book... ends up somewhere between the other two, which is kinda fitting since it also tries to balance the uber-epic threat level of Sunstorm with the fantastic setting of Mir from Time's Eye.

I won't go into too spoiler-y plot details here, so I'll just say that my main issues with this book were the pacing and the last few chapters, which left me mildly
Rick Ludwig
A conclusion that ties up the other two books, but I was disappointed. I rank this between the other two. the first in the series was my favorite and promised more than the subsequent two delivered. This one was better than the second in the series, which had little to do with the first. I wish I had stopped after reading Time's Eye to be honest. Taken on its own, Firstborn had some good moments, but they were scattered. I was glad to see Bisesa return to Mir and to see what had happened there, ...more
Cian Beirdd
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Unsatisfying. For those of us hoping to see the aliens (which Clarke never does) or find some emotional conclusion, the book is a disappointment. Neat technology, fun science, but not much in terms of any real conclusion; at the end of this series the Firstborn are still an imminent threat, they still have technology beyond our imaginings, and they still want us dead. Mir is still in flux, Mars is gone but what that entails for the solar system is not explored. Frustrating is a good word for ...more
Mar 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Somewhat more rambling and less satisfying than the previous two Time Odyssey books. Unsatisfying ending.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Oh my. I'm not a fan of Stephen Baxter's writing, and this series has convinced me to never again read a collaboration between a legendary and a lesser author, unless I already like the work of the lesser author on its own. I'm ashamed to admit I speed read parts of the book, that was how bad it was. Take my review with a grain of salt because it might not be impartial.

If you're reading the review of the third book, I'm confident to speak about things that might be spoilers. If you haven't read
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I loved the first book in the series with its highly intriguing premise and was excited to find out about its sequels. Having now finished them, I see why people who loved the last two volumes prefer it to the first--they really go more into the hard science, which is why I didn't enjoy them as much. I truly appreciate the attention to accurate science, but as a non-science person it just wasn't as interesting to me. I persevered through the series, however, because I felt invested in the ...more
Shhhhh Ahhhhh
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Umm.. what a let down. I liked how they seeded the ground for any future universe expansions by deliberately saying that there was room for thousands of other stories due to these events but.. could one of those stories have ended more definitively than this one? Why don't we find out anything more about the First Born? Who are the Last Born? Are they obviously humans who have reverse engineered the power to create Eyes? And was Mars in the Mir reality slice truly Mars from the far past? It ...more
Phorc Ewe
Oct 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Felt like the first 3/4 of the book were spent with weeks & weeks and chapter after chapter of mundane traveling. Occasionally something really interesting would happen, they would mention it at the end of a chapter, and then ignore it for a while only later to skip over it without detail.
Wrapped up with an extremely anticlimactic end.
Sad because the first two of this trilogy were good/decent.

Oh yeah, spoiler: We don't learn Jack about the Firstborn other than they sent another
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved this trilogy so much and this one managed to outdo sunstorm with the various dangers in the subplots. Just wish things resolved better for the overall story. I wish grasper ended up being more integral to the story or that the firstborn somehow revealed their true nature or that some overall knowledge of humanity was gained. I didn't feel that here like I did from the first two in this trilogy or really any of ACC's other books. Still worth reading though.
Micah Grant
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
The finale cranks the techiness up another notch, and joins the different universes of the previous two books. The characters keep growing, the most interesting aspect to me, as does humanity. It's hard for me to embrace the level of optimism underlying the story, but I feel like just some exposure to that perspective is encouraging, and it is not untempered by fully plausible human folly.
Raul Lagos
Nov 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Not a good book compared with Time's Eye and Sunstorm. The characters were not well developed (and there were too many of them), the writing was forced... it seems that it was finished in a hurry. There's no action and the main character is just a victim of circumstances.
Lame story. Disappointed.
Yanique Gillana
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this entire series and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of sci-fi and world history. I loved all the cameos, the characters and relationships were rich and felt realistic, and the scope.... Definitely a new fave.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Pretty stupid. The second book in the series was the pinnacle. This one was just too outrageous, and too much fine-tuning and precise occurrences needed to propagate the story. And where is the Firstborn mythos? :'(
Dec 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the book, but didn't care for the ending. I liked the direction it was going, but it felt unresolved - like it needed at least another chapter if not another book. Maybe one was planned but Arthur C. Clarke's death put an end to it.
Matt Heavner
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
really fun sci-fi and a good trilogy. Some of the chapters began with a huge discontinuity - so it was a bit harder than necessary to figure out what part of the multiple narrative threads we were thrown into next - but overall good.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
The first two books in the series were really good. This book is a mess. There is really no need to read this to complete the trilogy. Just consider Time's Eye and Sunstorm to be orthogonally related (Arthur C. Clarke's idea) but stand alone works and you will be happy, imo.
Jon Ross
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Overall I liked it and loved the trilogy, but I may be alone in this thought, but felt things got really jumbled and forced together around 3/4 through the final book. I finished because I was committed to it, but really didn't care for the wrap up.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it liked it
After enjoying "Time's Eye" and not liking "Sunstorm" at all. (I gave it one star), "First born" brought us back to the story I cared about.
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Arthur Charles 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

Other books in the series

A Time Odyssey (3 books)
  • Time's Eye (A Time Odyssey, #1)
  • Sunstorm (A Time Odyssey, #2)
“The universe is full of energy, but much of it is at equilibrium. At equilibrium no energy can flow, and therefore it cannot be used for work, any more than the level waters of a pond can be used to drive a water-wheel. It is on the flow of energy out of equilibrium—the small fraction of “useful” energy, “exergy”—that life depends.” 3 likes
“Mammoths, building a signal to Mars, on the North American ice cap.” 1 likes
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