Fresh from his latest collaboration with Terry Pratchett on the Long Earth sequence Stephen Baxter now returns to the mysteries and challanges first hinted at in his acclaimed novel PROXIMA.
In PROXIMA we discovered ancient alien artifacts on the planet of Per Ardua - hatches that allowed us to step across light years of space as if we were stepping into another room. The u...more
I'm talking universal death under the theory that there is a finite number of universes in a multi-verse, meaning that somewhere along the line the bubble is going to pop when it runs up against the wall. It's a very fascinating theory and it even makes a ton of sense because infinite is a very irrational number.
So what does this mean fo ...more
The idea of mutliple dimensions and possible outcomes of history is ver ...more
From the publisher: “In PROXIMA we discovered ancient alien artifacts on the planet of Per Ardua – hatches that allowed us to step across light years of space as if we were stepping into another room. The universe opened up to us. Now in ULTIMA the con ...more
In a way, it's hard to review Ultima without also referring to Proxima, since it's a direct continuation of the story and doesn't make much sense without Proxima as context. The story picks up where Proxima left off, with Yuri Eden, Stef Kalinski, and the ColU trying to make sense of where the hatch they entered on Per Ardua has taken them...
If the writ ...more
This takes up from the end of the first book, Proxima where: the key characters, counting in two machine entities, have escaped the coming cataclysm of the Nail into a hatch, emerging in a timeline where Rome, the empire, has continued on into space by the immense energies of the kernels. In this civilization, they must find a way to, first, survive, then next, escape. Before ...more
If the afterword of Ultima was anything to go by then Baxter had a lot of fun researching the alternate histories that fill this book. But Wiki-walks and What-if’s do not a novel make and there was a lot missing from this book that would make it a satisfying read.
I went into Ultima with high hopes having only finished Proxima a couple of weeks before. I was ready to find out what happened to the characters I’d gotten to know and see how Baxter resolved all of the threads he’d s ...more
This is the second book in the Proxima series, and I did not read the first. This was a distinct disadvantage for me, and I may not be judging the series fairly. My interest was in trying Stephen Baxter, a well-known and well-regarded science fiction author that I hadn't gotten to yet.
Weirdly, this is the second book in quick succession that I've read that takes the idea of a Roman empire that never fell. In this case, the Roma ...more
Proxima ends with a cliffhanger, and Ultima starts from that point. Be warned that anything more I say about Ultima will be a spoiler with regard to Pr ...more
I feel like this is as far as we can go in this story without getting silly or boring. Ultima was a nice closing of the long arc story line.
Over all, I really did enjoyed it for the most part.
The world-build ...more
(See my blog version: http://examinedworlds.blogspot.com/20...)
I really enjoyed the previous volume in the duology, Proxima, which you might say is part of the trend of "Interstellar Colonization 101" (see my blog post on the topic: http://examinedworlds.blogspot.com/20...).
That's right, in an alternate universe, the Roman Empire was not content with its conquests of Southern Europe, Northern Africa and South America, so Caesar's legions built spaceships and set out for the stars.
If that description alone doesn't convince you to read this book, well, I don't know what will (unless perhaps I can entice you with this teensy spoiler: (view spoiler)[Incas in space (hide spoiler)]?).
But as entertaining as Romans in Space is (and I thoroughly enjoyed this ...more
However, it's hard to ignore the fact that most of the characters are passive observers of mighty cosmic ideas. It's kind of the point of the book, which makes it interesting without ever really being engaging.
Very bad character-development and basically non-existing emotions, inter-relationships rendered detached and impassive.
The story itself still has some gaps, some threads even unexplained in the end. But overall, the jumps in space And time coalesc into a great telltale narrative, exploring some pretty mind-boggling scientific probabilities.
That was what kept me reading.
In a bit more detail: It's over 500 pages of full-on widescreen hard(ish) SF into which Baxter weaves a number of his obsessions from previous novels: parallel universes, the Carter Catastrophe, deep time and, oddly, the Roma ...more
Ultima picks up at the exact moment when the aptly-named Yuri Eden steps through the aforesaid hatch. Exactly where (perh ...more
Wait, I’m already going sideways to what I was hoping to say here. Which is that one of my favorite things to do was stargaze. As a kid that was actually hard for me to do. I essentially had no rules in my daily life aside from this: Be home ...more
The story feels and executes as a logical and immediate continuation of Proxima. New themes and science fiction elements, most notably the alternate universe theory, are brought into the ...more
So after the events of Proxima we find ourselves in a slightly different universe. Yuri, Stef and the Col-U came through a hatch and the ship escaping the war on Earth also finds its way into this changed universe. It's a jobar hinge, a place where history has swung in a different direction. Here, the Roman empire never fell and the Romans are now travelling through space expanding their empire and building hatches.
A fair chun ...more
The end of Proxima had our crew running into a group of people who were speaking Latin. What we qu ...more
Baxter has never been one to shy away from thinking big. the plot is so wide that it requires the last 30 pages to be nearly all final exposition. It is a bit of a disappointment that the novel's momentum must stop for this final denouement, but I cannot see how it might have been handled otherwise. I was also di ...more