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(Xeelee Sequence #4)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  3,448 ratings  ·  104 reviews
Michael Poole's wormholes constructed in the orbit of Jupiter had opened the galaxy to humankind. Then Poole tried looping a wormhole back on itself, tying a knot in space and ripping a hole in time.

It worked. Too well.

Poole was never seen again. Then from far in the future, from a time so distant that the stars themselves were dying embers, came an urgent SOS--and a pr

Paperback, 502 pages
Published September 2001 by Eos (first published July 1994)
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Stevie Kincade I really think the one to read is "Timelike Infinity" first. It isn't very long and is imo one of the best Sci Fis of all time. The events of TI are r…moreI really think the one to read is "Timelike Infinity" first. It isn't very long and is imo one of the best Sci Fis of all time. The events of TI are recapped in "Ring" but it will be more enjoyable if you have read that first. Raft and Flux are pretty much stand alone's and their relationship to Ring can be summarized in a sentence or two, where Timelike's relationship is a little more complicated. (less)

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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Hard science fiction authors are often criticized for writing prosaic prose and an inability to create believable, complex characters. Sci-fi legends like Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke did not escape such criticism yet their works remain immensely popular to this day and never go out of print. This begs the question of whether we really need high literary value in hard sf. I think this style of writing is quite suitable to convey the type of story being told. The type where the story and con ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, sci-fi
I'll start with a quote from The Times which has to be one of the finest review quotes for any novel you'll ever read; "The book sends in to free-fall the most awesome ideas in science fiction today...What makes these ideas assimilable is the prism of people through which they are refracted...good SF reveals the mortal host in the machine."

With my reading of Ring Stephen Baxter has become my favourite modern science fiction author, comparable in terms of sheer pleasure brought through ideas and
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Hard SF. Very hard -- I think I might have chipped a tooth. Something is wrong with the sun, and all the stars around us are dying far before their time. A conscious virtual human is sent into Sol to investigate, while an unlikely crew sets out to travel five million years into the future and see if there might be an escape for humanity.

Right, so. If you are not familiar with the Pauli Exclusion Principle, baryons, star life cycles, and the more speculative and bizarre edges of string theory (wh
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2016
4.5 Stars

Ring by Stephen Baxter is the best of the four book Xeelee Sequence. Baxter did something smart and rare with this series. All of the books are standalone novels. You can read them in pretty much any order with the exception that Ring should be read last. The coolest thing is the way that this book ties all four together. It is amazing.

Ring might be the most technical of the four books in this hard science fiction story. This is a true hard science novel. I loved how much time is spent
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've finally done it. I've gone and reread this book. I've been threatening to for the past five years. But here I've gone and made it happen.

Elsewhere, I've discussed how this was the first non Star Trek piece of fiction I read after nearly a decade of, well, religious extremism, wherein I vaguely thought this sort of thing was a sin. But working nightshift where I spent most of my time sitting on my ass and trying to alleviate boredom led me to give this novel a shot.

I picked it up, somewher
Steve Haywood
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, science, sf, hard
The fourth book in a four book sequence that has really got me into Baxter, and contemporary hard SF in general. A group of humans have discovered that something is wrong with the sun, and send an expedition five million years into the future to find out what went wrong. Much is learned about the enigmatic and powerful Xeelee, and their enemy, the dark matter photino birds.[return][return]I found this book an excellent one, much like the others in the sequence, though I wouldn t like to compare ...more
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
This really is one of the best science fiction books I have EVER read, and this is also my first book by this author. I've read books by other wonderful science fiction authors like Heinlein, Asimov, and Herbert, and this just... blew me away. I'm not even kidding you. I was sucked into this story with the tale of Lieserl, and I kept looking forward to the parts which had her in it.

The story and plot are fantastic, imaginative, and well-written. The amount of creativity and thought that went int
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First half of the book is pure gold in an epic scale but I somehow did not like when the handwavium Extra Super FTL hyperdrive appeared, it wasn't that bad to compromise the whole book but I was not expecting that at all. Probably it made sense in some way for the plot but It also made the universe looks like a small city and it sort of broke that sense of wonder you got when you reading about the Ring, super strings, etc.

Apart from that, it could be a full 5 star book.
Stevie Kincade
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"Timelike Infinity" is one of my favorite Science Fiction novels and "Ring" summarizes then picks up immediately after the events of Timelike. After slogging through "Flux" and listening to the excruciating "Proxima" I needed a decent break from Baxter. A few months later I couldn't have been happier to be reading this frantically from the first chapter thinking "Hooray Baxter IS good he just has some genuine stinkers too".

In "Timelike Infinity" we get an amazing story spun between a bunch of qu
Roddy Williams
There's an awful lot going on in this volume and, to be fair, Baxter has his work cut out tying the events in with the other Xeelee universe narratives.
The Paradoxa organisation has evolved in the wake of Michael Poole's original journey to the future in 'Timelike Infinity' and the subsequent discovery that there were powerful and inimical aliens out there. Paradoxa has now become a powerful body whose remit is to preserve Humanity. What has also been discovered is that someone or something is d
Visionary and gripping, if you skim the science lectures: Stephen Baxter is a fascinating teller of tales, although, for me, his highbrow scientific monologues rarely blend well with the plot. In Ring - the last of the Xeelee sequence - his ensemble cast includes several characters who regularly pause the action to make turgid lectures to their colleagues. Some of this science is integral to the story - of the ultimate fate of the Universe - but the interludes are like blocks of concrete around ...more
Apr 26, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Ok, so the science in these books is great, I have a degree in Astrophysics and I really enjoyed the hard physics here. That was about it though. This is the fourth book in the series and I read them all except I skipped most of Flux. It just seemed a bit too much, and I just wasn't enjoying the read so I skipped to the final 20 pages.
I think these books are more about the science than about an actual good story. It seems the author had an ending for the book in mind and some good ideas (same wi
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Once in awhile you come across a book that totally blows your mind. The Ring was (unexpectedly) was one such book for me.

The Ring takes the reader from a futuristic Earth that has endured alien conquest and subsequent successful revolution out of the solar system and on to an adventure that spans the evolution of humanity and the universe. And those aren't the mind blowing parts.

The Ring was the first Stephen Baxter book I had read and enjoyed it so much that I went on to read most of his other
(page 55 of 512): I dig Lieserl, the chick that flies inside the sun.

Lieserl was suspended inside the body of the Sun.

She spread her arms wide and lifted up her face. She was deep within the Sun's convective zone, the broad mantle of turbulent material beneath the growing photosphere. Convective cells larger than the Earth, tangled with ropes of magnetic flux, filled the world around her with a complex, dynamic, three-dimensional tapestry. She could hear the roar of the great gas founts, smell
Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is probably the most important novel in the “early Baxter” books of the Xeelee sequence. Michael Poole has opened the universe to mankind with his wormholes. We are introduced to Lieserl, humanity’s sentient probe inside our sun. GUTships ride to the very edge of space and time. One of them carries, ark-like, the seed of humanity. Thousands of subjective years later, it arrives at the Ring, a classic BDO (Big Dumb Object) constructed as an escape hatch from the impending destruction of our ...more
Nov 16, 2008 rated it did not like it
A truly horrible book. It claims to be "very, very hard SF", but almost all important features of the plot are completely implausible. A lot of buzzwords are thrown around, and basic understanding of certain principles is demonstrated, but real understanding of the fundamentals is completely lacking. The characters are completely flat and have no depth or complexity. The dialogue is easy to read, but not realistic at all. Most aspects of the book simply didn't make sense. I'm still not sure why ...more
Michelle Fraser-Page
Feb 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy books that challenge me. Baxter writes hard SF, and this book has a huge scope. It covers alternately 1000 years and 5 million years, depending on whether you go with the time dilation effect of near lightspeed or stay at rest. It deals with concepts of light matter (baryonic) creatures at war with dark matter creatures, and using whole galaxies and constructed cosmic string structures as weapons of war. Pretty fantastic. The characters were okay. I thought they performed about as ...more
Leif Anderson
Pretty good medium-hard scifi. This became one of those unification novels that scifi authors write sometimes; a single book that lays out a framework containing all the worlds that they've ever written about. Often those books suffer because they have to bend the rules in order to unify all those worlds. However, this was a pretty good story in its own right, and did a respectable job with the unification (as far as I can tell - I haven't read many of Baxter's other books). ...more
May 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I've read hard scifi, I forgot how much I enjoyed it. This is a great book that stands up well to my memory of it from years ago when I first read it. ...more
Peter Dunn
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK the idea of a gateway (in this case the titular Ring) that you can travel through to from one world/dimension/point in space time to another world/dimension/[point in space time is a fairly ubiquitous science fiction device. However the sheer scale of this one still invokes an equally huge sense of wonder, and the background story of who, and why, they built it is a novel and very engaging one.

I do however have three sets of questions that either weren’t answered or perhaps I just wasn’t payi
Aug 06, 2020 rated it liked it
After the wonderful Raft and Timelike Infinity i was expecting Baxter to get his shit together and finish the story he seems to be really passionate about with a bang. But man, it feels like with Flux (third and the most boring book) his actual writing skills got worse somehow. And i got pretty nervous about Ring. So the finale of Xeelee sequence felt long, overstretched and underwhelming. Yes, underwhelming, because however grandiose the actual story is - and it is pretty awesome and is pretty ...more
Matt Price
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
God damn this is probably the hardest sci-fi book I've ever read. "So hard I chipped a tooth", as one other reviewer put it. The book seems to be 60% diatribes on star life-cycles, fundamental physics and some seriously funky spacetime manipulation. Luckily, the remaining 40% rescues itself with a sense of cosmic awe almost unparalleled, rigorously and deeply explored consequences of the physics and cultures the author postulates, and a (somewhat) interesting and (relatively) diverse cast of cha ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a disjointed climax to the original Xeelee sequence. The different sections of the book break up the pace of the story and make the novel feel bloated. The problem with weak characterisation persists. Baxter is enamoured with terse, sarcastic heroes who irritate each other in unbelievable and uninteresting ways. The stoicism is occasionally ruptured by revealing asides (like the love affair that develops between two 'virtual' humans), but these are few and far between. The main draw of the ...more
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Frustratingly boring but with moments of pure genius and imagination sprinkled throughout.

Reading Ring was like having sex with a dynamic and experienced lover, but at the moment of climax, they stop and go home, saying "see you tomorrow". This repeats every day for 2 weeks.

About half way through I couldn't take it any more and just started skipping pages quickly and scanning them to pick up the major plot events.

I would rather just read a list of Baxter's ingenious ideas rather than having to
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot of fiction, some science. It stretched the imagination to the max.

4 stars because of the lack of Xeelee, of focus on technologies and believable science. Like all the Xeelee books I've read so far, it's not about the Xeelee but about some temporal travel.

I'm reading the books in the Xeelee series in the chronological order from Wikipedia. This is the one I enjoyed the most so far - I especially like a SF novel that doesn't focus on human drama and interactions. Ain't nobody got time fo'
Florin Constantinescu
Set against a background where a war as long as the universe has been raging on between the photino birds who are consuming suns and the mysterious Xeelee who are trying to prevent that, "Ring"
together with "Timelike Infitiy", are a tour-de-force in far future hard science fiction. Few other authors can handle this kind of grand-scale galactic projects with such ease.
The setting is absolutely stunning, the characters unbelievably human even if so far in the future, the plot extremely catchy, an
Keith Bell
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
(3rd time through). While this novel does stand alone, it is the last in Baxter's Xeelee Sequence. An ambitious serious in itself, this novel represents true "Hard" Sci-Fi. Aspects of astrophysics, cosmology, relativity, String theory and time travel throughout with some great concepts and thought experiments. While this may be off-putting for some I love it. Baxter also does justice with characterization and plot which isn't always the case with Hards Sci-Fi. (Some do great with he science/engi ...more
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A story on a universal scale in space and time, this hard SF novel takes us to the end of time and space and humankind, and beyond. The reader is enlightened about dark matter, relativity, GUT, FTL, string theory and AI, all in an epic story of survival. It's long, but Baxter is a really good storyteller and doesn't avoid technical talk at times, nicely balanced with human drama and grand vistas. An oldie - 1994 - but definitely worth a read. ...more
Artem Z
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Man, was this a bore. I read Vacuum Diagrams and Timelike Infinity in the same series and liked them but this one was just too much. Most of it is just scientific technobabble with a story that could be summarized in 2 sentences. But is somehow stretched to 500 pages.
Unless you have a massive interest in astrophysics, skip this one. Read Vacuum Diagrams instead, as it explores the themes from this book but is much more readable due to being short stories.
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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)
  • 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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