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Xeelee: An Omnibus: Raft, Timelike Infinity, Flux, Ring

(Xeelee Sequence #1-4)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  660 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The Xeelee Sequence is a series of novels and short stories by British science fiction author Stephen Baxter. The novels span several billions of years, describing the future expansion of Mankind, its war with its arch-nemesis (an alien race called the Xeelee), and the Xeelee's own war with dark matter entities called photino birds.
Paperback, 900 pages
Published March 18th 2010 by Gollancz
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The Xeelee Flower(1987)*
More than Time and Distance(1988)*
Blue Shift(1989)*
The Quagma Datum(1989)*
The Eighth Room(1989)*
The Switch(1990)*

The Xeelee Flower(1987)*
More than Time and Distance(1988)*
Blue Shift(1989)*
The Quagma Datum(1989)*
The Eighth Room(1989)*
The Switch(1990)*
Vacuum Diagrams(1990)*
The Tyranny of Heaven(1990)*
Secret History(1991)*
The Baryonic Lords(1991)*
Timelike Infinity(1992)
Planck Zero(1992)*
The Gödel Sunflowers(1992)*
The Sun-People(1993)*
The Logic Pool(1994)*
Soliton Star(1997)*
Cadre Siblings(2000)**
Reality Dust(2000)**
Silver Ghost(2000)**
On the Orion Line(2000)**
The Cold Sink(2001)**
Ghost Pit(2001)**
In the Un-Black(2001)**
The Dreaming Mould(2002)**
Riding the Rock(2002)**
Conurbation 2473(2003)**
All in a Blaze(2003)**
Breeding Ground(2003)**
The Great Game(2003)**
The Ghop Line(2003)**
Mayflower 2(2004)**
Between Worlds(2004)**
PeriAndry’s Quest(2004)***
Lakes of Light(2005)**
Climbing the Blue(2005)***
The Time Pit(2005)***
Ghost Wars(2006)**
The Siege of Earth(2006)**
The Lowland Expedition(2006)***
The Seer and the Silverman(2008)***
Formidable Caress(2009)***
Return to Titan(2010)***
Gravity Dreams(2011)***
The Venus Generations(2017)****

* Vacuum Diagrams(1997)
** Resplendent(2006)
*** Endurance(2015)
**** not yet collected(less)

Community Reviews

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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  660 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Xeelee is an omnibus book containing:

Timelike Infinity

The above four titles are linked to my review of each individual volume. The titles are ordered in the book by publication dates but I find that reading the books in this order did not work for me as Timelike Infinity and Ring are closely linked while Raft and Flux read more like standalones. Also, the settings of Raft and Flux are so weird that it may be easier to get used to Baxter's style and the Xeelee's back story through Tim
Stevie Kincade
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I got into Stephen Baxter because the idea of a series that spanned all the way from the Big Bang to the last star in the universe winking out was absolutely irresistable to me. About a year ago I read all the synopsis of books featured on the various "Greatest Space Opera's of all time" lists.
The scope of Baxter's ideas had me buying dozens of his books without having read a word.

Baxter is a really smart guy. He has a talent for taking all of the latest physics theories and scientific knowledg
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Just finished "Raft" and eagerly moving on to the next. Incredible! Brilliantly fleshed out world, believable and accessible science, and characters both noble and shitty. Yay! The descriptions of mining stars, the rotational mechanics of the Belt and Raft, traveling in trees and whales - the majesty of it all isn't lost in the action. So many things to digest and muse on whilst going about my day.

"Turning facts into precious things made them seem sacred, immutable; and so he saw Scientists scru
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Hard, Epic SciFi
Recommended to Bill by: Stephen Baxter
Shelves: science-fiction
As a Baxter fan, I put off reading this series for far too long. This omnibus is an excellent way to get into this Hard, Epic Science Fiction Universe which so far has spanned over 5,000,000 years.

The first two novels are highly reminiscent of the works of Hal Clement, the father of Hard SciFi. They concern 2 human-derived, humanoid species living near extreme environmental conditions. They were gengineered by humans to survive these conditions, one in the gasses surrounding a black hole and the
Four books of the Xeele universe in one. What I really like about them is tons of awesome technology. Stephen Baxter gets creative in all four stories. He is prone to info-dumps every few pages, but I didn't mind. Other than that, stories, characters and dialogues are so-so.

Raft and Timelike Infinity are the best. Flux, other than portraying an ineresting society, is weakest. The whole story exists just so that the main characters would perform a certain action in the end. Ring drags on too long
Jamie Bridle
I stopped reading this as I didn't like the style. Clearly written by an older man with an engineering headset; that is to say, flat emotionless characters being pushed around a chessboard. This style of writing was probably great back in the day but pretty out of touch now. The only female character in the story is of course described via her looks while the males are described more via their character. The female character is objectified. I got no time for this.
Lee Belbin
A bit scattered and cryptic at times, but a fair example of a big "what if...?". In this case, the novellas center around the idea of evolution under two separate scenarios - ongoing war and a small population on a starship. Not sure I buy either scenarios as both have serious holes and inconsistencies.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing big ideas often strung out with wooden characters and dull plots.
Patrick Scheele
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Raft: 2 stars
The science isn't nearly as hard as it pretends to be, but that's not this story's biggest problem. The biggest problem is that the ending (view spoiler)
AJ Nelson
My only experience before this with Baxter was Titan, which I did not like at all. But, I'm glad I gave him another chance because the Xeelee books are great. Though, if you go for this Omnibus... it's not in the best reading order, read up on that before you start.
Mårten Ericson
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hard SF-readers
As promised the "Xeelee, an Omnibus" takes place on a cosmic scale. Since it is a collection of four books (Raft, Timelike Infinity, Flux and Ring) it's hard to put one single rating on it. So, I will try to give one for each. However first some remarks on Stephen Baxter's writing in general.

Stephen writes what is called hard SF. Science is deeply embedded into the stories. I like this, in fact I love it. However sometimes the prose gets overwhelmed by Baxter's want to explain and the explanatio
Omar Rivero
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always compelling reading. From the shock of Raft to the ambition of Ring. They were all excellent stories, with one notable exception for me at least. I found Flux to be a bit of a slog to wade through. I get where he was going. I just wasn't fascinated by the trip. And again, it's probably just me. So I'm still giving it a solid 5 stars. I started the Xeelee Sequence with Vacuum Diagrams. So I figured this ponderous, yet thoroughly enjoyable tome was the best way to do it. I was right. He ain' ...more
John Kerr
Jan 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Raft (***)
Smacks somewhat of an early novel. However, the relatively simple twist on gravity does exercise your brain in trying to visualise the setting and its inhabitants.

Timelike Infinity (****)
Grander in scale than Raft, examining causality on the most epic of scales. I felt there was a rather casual use of time travel (he may have opened a can of worms with this but we'll see if he holds it together in subsequent stories in the same universe). Seems to overstep itself a little right at the
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to rate this omnibus as a whole as it contains 4 very different novels. I liked Ring and Timelike Infinity. Flux was interesting but felt drawn out unnecessarily and I really did not like Raft which felt too simplistic with characters awfully and unrealistically good guy/bad guy with nothing in between. Characters do not seem to be too well developed in any of the novels anyway, science is clearly the queen of every story. This is both good and bad - it makes the novels interesting and unus ...more
Matti Tornio
Jan 05, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The scale may be epic and the stories grand, but this omnibus didn't really work for me. The individual books are loosely related at best and reading them in the published (=publication) order doesn't work too well. The quality of the books is also quite uneven, with Timelike Infinity being the weakest of the lot by far.

The books also suffer from poorly written characters and rather boring writing style. The science is for the most part solid and there are some interesting ideas with the technol
Huw Evans
Sep 17, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
My literary hero is Terry Pratchett. When I heard that he was collaborating with Stephen Baxter, of whom I had never heard in spite of his prolific output, I had to read something by him. I read the whole omnibsu dutifully and, at the end, thought "And then what?" and started to worry about the collaboration. There are one or two nice conceits in the individual stories but I could not engage with either the characters or the situations.If anything a found it rather facile and very disappointing.
Raft; interesting but difficult to get through, I kept setting it aside to read other things. It was like reading a fever-induced dream, with humanity surviving on a metal raft in a dying nebula with flying trees and huge space whales. Very odd.

Timelike Infinity; I liked this one and managed to read it during the course of one day so it definately kept my attention better.

Flux; oh dear, I gave up on Flux. I very rarely give up on a book but after a month of trying I admitted defeat.

Ring; this
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Heard good things about it and Betty ~Altic got it for my birthday!

Took me a while to work through this as there was a lot going on. Once I got into the sequence, and realised what was going on ( I was a bit dim to be honest), it really kicked off. I'm now into the Destiny's Child series, which runs with the same themes and timeline.

This is classic Hard SF - real old school, but with some proper science and real characters. Recommended.
Sandy K
Jun 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, 2012
Hooray, it's over! Here's the very short version:

Raft: 3 stars
Timelike Infinity: 2 stars
Flux: 4 stars
Ring: 3 stars

So 3 stars overall. Would have liked the end of Ring much better if it had led directly into Raft, which would have been amazing, but alas, we only get a brief tease of the possibility.

I did really enjoy Flux, which deserves mention for having stuff so odd I couldn't actually visualise it, which basically never happens with me. Maybe I need to read more sci-fi.
Jeff Forcier
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Overall, great storytelling/characterization/worldbuilding (universebuilding?). Definitely a must-read for most scifi fans.

One downside is that most of the references in Ring (which was published last) to Flux and Raft come off as awkward/hamfisted instead of feeling natural, including bewildering leaps of logic by some of the characters. For a set of works celebrated for their intertwined nature I felt this was kind of a letdown.

Thankfully that's my only real complaint!
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviews in Spanish of the four books included in this volume:

- Timelike Infinity:
- Ring:
- Raft:
- Flux:

Feb 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
I think the order was wrong. Should have been Timelike Infinity, Ring, Flux, Raft, that is the order I should have read them in, would have made for more continuity. Overall it is an interesting world, but as others have mentioned the characters are fairly flat. These books all require a fair amount of imagination and decent understanding of physics.
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stephen is an intelligent sci-fi writer, some of it was a bit over my head! But do not let that distract you, for all of the techno theories etc. this is a story about evolution of humanity in the future. As I have said in other reviews, Baxter has a knack for writing about human nature and as a collective species complete with all of our foibles and abilities to be great. A good read.
Timo Aun
The story and especially dialogues are horrible, but the ideas and the science part is awesome in most part. I don't think anything can live inside a neutron star, though.. which is the whole premise for Flux.
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic collection and enjoyed every moment. Baxter has some really interesting stories to tell that go beyond a lot of other science fiction.
Paul McLernon
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who is into Science Fiction needs to check out Baxter. Superb.
Michael Schulz
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished the first story, "Raft", very good.
I'm now done with the book, Ring was the best story. (maybe too much science, very cool if you like physics).
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the book was very interesting. I love in particular the last chapter with the mayflower story. It really defines the human dynamics in an artificial environment, in a deep analysis. great reading.
Paul Forbes
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the Zeelee series!
Darryl Lambert
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stephen Baxter's Xeelee books takes me far away in both time and space. Baxter is my favorite SciFi author.
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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)
  • Flux (Xeelee Sequence, #3)
  • Ring (Xeelee Sequence, #4)
  • Vacuum Diagrams (Xeelee Sequence, #5)
  • Making History & Reality Dust (Xeelee Sequence, #6)
  • Riding the Rock (Xeelee Sequence, #7)
  • Mayflower II
  • Coalescent (Destiny's Children, #1)
  • Exultant (Destiny's Children, #2)
“Rees, the secret of a Scientist is not what he knows. It’s what he asks.” 1 likes
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