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(Proxima #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  5,679 ratings  ·  526 reviews
The very far future: The galaxy is a drifting wreck of black holes, neutron stars, and chill white dwarfs. The age of star formation is long past. Yet there is life here, feeding off the energies of the stellar remnants, and there is mind, a tremendous galaxy-spanning intelligence each of whose thoughts lasts a hundred thousand years. And this mind cradles memories of a lo ...more
Hardcover, 456 pages
Published September 19th 2013 by Gollancz
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Sooz My reaction was completely the opposite of Brian Luff's. I definitely felt i had been left hanging. not just that there are unanswered questions, but …moreMy reaction was completely the opposite of Brian Luff's. I definitely felt i had been left hanging. not just that there are unanswered questions, but the final scene comes out of left field and left me with a WTF expression on my face. (less)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I kinda dropped off the Stephen Baxter map for a good decade while he was writing about things that were mostly on the earth or in the far past, but before then, I was a die hard fan. Sure, I was always mildly or slightly more annoyed with the characters sometimes for various reasons usually regarding subtlety, but when it came to any portion of the universe he was making, I was always enraptured like all the best captive audiences alive.

No, this isn't a galaxy-wide naked singularity allowing eg
I wasn't quite sure how to rate this book for a while because, while there were parts of it I really enjoyed, other parts ...well, not so much.

What I liked

The world-building that we see on the planet of Per Ardua is outstanding, it all feels very real and utterly alien particularly the alien life forms that we encounter here. The life cycles of the "Builders" and the other alien lifeforms are very well thought out. The planet itself is a pretty unique way of looking at a world which always keep
Robert French
I have had the shelf in Goodreads named “abandoned” for some time, but never used it. Instead I simply deleted a book (or author) I did not particularly like. But Stephen Baxter’s novel Proxima has driven me to finally embrace this shelf so I can comment on books that irritate or simply annoy me. Proxima fits in that category with a vengeance. When I entered Proxima in Goodreads and checked the list of books by SB, I remembered before joining GR, I had read both Flood and Ark. I also remembered ...more
Aug 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
You know, I just can't seem to find hard scifi that really speaks to me.
I had high hopes for Proxima: interesting premise and an ex-engineer author with a history of collaborating with Terry Pratchett? Count me in.

But the book just wasn't for me. I honestly didn't plan on reviewing it because I just don't feel strongly enough about it to want to write about it, and it was so incredibly memorable that a few weeks after I read it, I'm struggling to remember the plot. The book itself is long, and t
This novel has a lot going for itself and while it does not fully succeed in its ambitious goal of integrating three classic but usually disparate sfnal storylines, so being overall less the sum of its parts, the parts themselves attain true magnificence on occasion adn the book is worth reading for sure; not to speak of the sequel (Ultima) that the sort-of cliffhanger ending requires

As others noted the blurb is quite inaccurate (even the name of the main human character is wrong as he is known
Megan Baxter
Mar 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Goddammit, Stephen Baxter, I'm trying! I've been trying to like you since I read an early book and thought the characters were so cardboard I couldn't get through it. (No idea what book that is now.) I enjoyed the first book you and Terry Pratchett wrote together. I mean, we share a last name. Arbitrarily, that feels like it should mean something.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.
Jul 17, 2013 rated it liked it
It's ok. I'd probably like it better if it wasn't the start of a trilogy. I might read the second book, Ultima, whenever they bother publishing it in America. Parts of it I liked, and parts of it I was bored by. It's not exactly the wild sf I was expecting. There are hints of it. The end is definitely eventful. Maybe the wild stuff comes in the second book.

By the way, there is NO mention of this stuff in the first book:

"...there is mind, a tremendous Galaxy-spanning intelligence each of whose t
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
I’m a fan of Stephen’s books, but if I’m honest, recently I’ve not kept up. Which is why I’m reading this one about a year after its first release (although the paperback is now imminent, due October 2014).

I’m pleased to see that we’re back to big Epic themes here, although you may be surprised at the start. For Proxima is not your typical ‘outwards to the stars’ novel, in fact, often the opposite.

From the book: The 27th century: Proxima Centauri, an undistinguished red dwarf star, is the neares
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard SF novel of first contact and intrasolar war. After a rather slow start, this book picks up about a third of the way in as the science fictional elements take over the narrative and the sense of wonder ramps up a couple orders. The setting is about a century in the future when man has established settlements in Mars, Mercury, the moon, asteroid belt, Jovian moons. Alien artifacts mined in Mercury power large hulk ships for transport across solar distances. A colony is established in Proxima ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have big problems with all the major characters, but this novel deserves 5 stars because of the world-building, the science, the fascinating Solar System, the strangeness of a fully developed alien world, the question regarding our own evolution and the ever curios robot.
Mårten Ericson
Where to begin? I started reading Baxters works about two years ago, and have since come to terms with that he is somewhat uneven in his writing. Some stories are among the best sci fi I've read, some stories are significantly less sharp. Unfortunately the recently published Proxima will have to be filed among the latter.

It's a strange book in many ways. To me it apparently consists of several different storylines that - even if Baxter actually tie them together - don't really belong in the same
Natasha Hurley-Walker
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Baxter does what Baxter does best: phenomenal world-building using paper-thin characters and pacy interleaved stories, each ending with a cliffhanger so you CANNOT STOP READING. I just can't say enough about the world-building. What a fantastic, fleshed-out future, complete with history which *isn't* the usual 20th-century references but instead a proper backstory of post-climate change collapse which informs every character's politics and prejudices throughout. The worlds, the tech, the "too-co ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Proxima" is an epic story. Yet well paced, using simple language to explain complex science, much like an Arthur C. Clarke novel (who Mr. Baxter is often compared to, as he should be, considering he has collaborated with Sir Clarke on occasion), "Proxima" is a bit geeky and 'info-dumpy' at times, but personally, I like that sort of thing. There are great characters and situations in this novel, and I enjoyed it very much.

Looking forward to the sequel.
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
When most sci-fi authors write about aliens they think how evolved their brains and how advanced their civilization might be and that they probably want to kill us and take over our planet. Stephen Baxter in his novel Proxima shows the most possible form that extraterrestrial life could take: not creatures that look like humans but with weird eyebrows and pointy ears using only their logic, but animals like those on earth, with strong instict, adapted to their own ecosystem. This scientifically ...more
Stevie Kincade
May 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
(Audiobook) I am a Baxter fan but this is a giant POS. A common criticism of Baxter is that he can't write characters. I normally don't care because Baxter's UNIVERSE is usually the strongest character. This universe is as drab, bleak and miserable as the loathsome characters he has filled it with. The plot is stupid and poorly researched. Penal colony on a new world, better fill it up with Australians! The Aboriginal character describes herself as "full blooded" when the very idea is highly off ...more
Oct 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
Genuinely dreadful. The first few chapters were reasonably engaging but then it degenerated into a mire of clumsy exposition and lengthy descriptions; ultimately even the premise was irritating.
It's a pity as 'Yuri' was a likeable and engaging character and the author certainly has a detailed imagination - he just needs to learn how to wield it more delicately than a sledge-hammer.
Unless you're terminally, terminally bored, don't read this turgid nonsense, it really would be put to better use as
Kara Babcock
I seem to remember reading some or all of Stephen Baxter’s Manifold books when I was much younger. Those also involved a future sentience/intelligence at the end of the universe reaching back in the history of the universe to alter events through weird, inexplicable phenomena. So I guess this is a thing for him. Proxima starts its life as a straightforward tale of enforced penal colonization of another planet before gradually sprawling into a parallel tale of solar system politics before eventua ...more
Nikola Tasev
Aug 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
This was supposed to be an epic book, spanning vast distances and about a century. This is spoiled by the author's inability to sustain more than a few characters with detail, so we follow those characters from very early age to being old and grey. They somehow never develop, change, retire, or become replaced by other people. The same guy calls the shots in the Solar System from the start of the book till the end.
Reading through the plot holes is painful. I really want to read a good colonizat
Dec 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I'd first been introduced to Stephen Baxter via his aeon-spanning widescreen-IMAX Manifold trilogy, and Proxima is a sort of return to that kind of big-canvas science fiction. Spanning decades, rather than millennia, there is nonetheless time for characters introduced early on in the story as children to become major players in themselves, and for the movers and shakers of one generation to grow old and die, or else fade away into the background.

It tells three – or perhaps four – stories, in par
Michael Brookes
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is some damn fine science fiction. It ticked all the right boxes for me for what I consider to make essential sci-fi reading. So much so that it's one of those reviews where I get to list all the good things, without having to worry about the negative. A rare please :-)

For me science fiction is at it's best when tackling big questions, or for tight character led stories, and we are fortunate in having both here. There are a few big issues being tackled here, such as how humanity tackles res
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2013
3 stars

This book is a mixed bag for me. It starts strong and has a great deal of fun science fiction concepts, space travel, and alien lifeforms. It has your typical mixed cast of people both good and bad. Baxter brings to life the life forms on Proxima C. and makes it into the highlight of this book. I never really bonded with any of the characters and had a hard time staying focused. At the 70% mark in the book, things get very political and doom and gloom to a point that I lost interest.
David Monroe
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book covers the story of a group of former convicts stranded on a planet orbiting Proxima by the government and forced by the government start a colony. This was a mixed bag of typical Baxter quirks. Great world building, but random, distracting info-dumps. Interesting characters, but it's mostly all head and little heart. I expect these from a Baxter novel. I enjoy reading him, I just wish sometimes he'd go off formula a bit more.
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without doubt, my favourite book of 2013 so far and a novel that I will treasure and re-read. It has left me with so much to think about. A masterpiece that is also never less than accessible. I'm overwhelmed!

Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
how is it that someone who likes science fiction as much as I do has never read Stephen Baxter?! I am loving this book and -at about 2/3's of the way in - I cannot wait to see how he pulls the two threads together and ends this story. it is seriously the best hard sci fi I have read in a long time.

for lovers of hard -but still accessible- sci fi, Proxima is for you! my only complaint is that -when I picked it up- I didn't realize it was the first in a series. of course if i had checked in with
Vincent Stoessel
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I love Baxter's ability to express big ideas in his work. Vacuum diagrams, a collection of stories about humans and their relationship with other more advanced species in the galaxy is still one of my all time favorite hard SF novels. Baxter is also known for relatively poor character development. In this novel, he seems to have made a greater effort on his characters which I appreciated. Baxter often pokes fun at himself. For example, a main character is often bored with the science expositions ...more
Lost meets Stargate.
I once fell for a story involving a mysterious hatch, now I know better. (Yes, I'm still bitter.)
Proxima is halfway between hard science fiction, Kim Stanley Robinson, and space opera, Peter F. Hamilton.
It's entertaining but despite the cliffhanger at the end I'm not very tempted to continue with Ultima.
3,5 stars
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Some interesting concepts and some engaging passages and chapters. Of course, it is hardcore sci-fi, but one can still try to write more compelling plot lines. At least, some do try. I wish Stephen Baxter would try, too.
My husband told me that the second installment of this diptych is more engaging and more compelling, but this bland one leaves me hesitant to read its sequel.

The concept of the future politics is also interesting, but I think its geopolitical moment was explored to the point of
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf
This book took me an inordinate amount of time to read. Not because I wasn't enjoying it, but partly because I was also reading something else and also because I tend to spend less time reading these days.

It is actually the first book I've read of this author so I guess it was about time since he's been rather prolific. I'm not sure if this counts as a good sample of the kind of work he produces but while I did generally enjoy it I found the flow of the narrative diluted by the frequent jumps in
Nov 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
second reading - 23 December 2016 - ***** library audio cd. My kid picked this audio book out at the library for listening together. Had I ever heard of it? Yes, I've read it. Eye roll. Unlike two years ago, I had also read Ultima before starting this time. Some of the mystery was missing for me, but I got to re-experience it through the expression on my kid's face as the worldbuilding was revealed. One new aspect though, was the over-the-top reading by Kyle McCarley. Somehow, I just never heard ...more
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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

Proxima (3 books)
  • Ultima
  • Obelisk

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