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Transcendent

(Destiny's Children #3)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,513 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Stephen Baxter's gripping page-turners are feats of bold speculation and big ideas that, for all their time-and-space-spanning grandeur, remain firmly rooted in scientific fact and cutting-edge theory. Now Baxter is back with the final volume in his monumental Destiny's Children trilogy, a tour de force in which parallel stories unfold-and then meet as humanity stands pois ...more
Paperback, 505 pages
Published July 25th 2006 by Del Rey Books (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,513 ratings  ·  59 reviews


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Bradley
There's a lot to love about this novel even though I have a few quibbles. My issues are purely personal in nature and do not reflect an actual fault in the novel, however.

First, the good:

We're split in the action between the digital new year coming up for us in about 25 years, at a time when Michael Poole has a stalled career and is still trying to overcome personal tragedy. The worldbuilding at this time is pretty awesome. Sentient houses and landscapes, severe environmental guilt that has led
...more
Tim
Mar 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I'd give this one 3.5 stars if I could. There's a lot to like about this book and its predecessors, Coalescent and Exultant. The three are marketed as a trilogy, but its much more fair to consider them three unrelated books set in the same universe. There is a through line that connects all of them, but it would be fairly straightforward to read them in isolation. My advice: if you like Baxter, read them all. If you're not sure, start with this one, even though it's the last.

This book in particu
...more
Erik Rühling
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was ok


More 'anyhows' than a freshman term paper. 'Baling' for 'bailing'. 'Five percent proof'?!! Did an editor read this at all?

If you can get past the bad editing and the dopey anthro-guilt global warming plot, it isn't altogether terrible. Reading 'the Warming' (capitalized so you know it's really bad and all mankind's fault^tm) as 'the Warmening' added some much-needed levity for me.

Oh, and while certain hand-wringing busybodies might consider a refrigerator that verbally warns you not to drink a
...more
L
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Baxter explores a number of issues--little things like love, family, the possible end of life as we know it on our planet, gods, etc. At some points the book does, I must admit, drag a bit. But when not caught up in technical or other esoteric details (which I know many adore), Baxter tells one hell of a tale. He has a wide-ranging and, frankly, beautiful vision--not exactly what one might expect from an engineer. Gea, the amazing sentient super-duper-artificial-intelligence, who visits as a toy ...more
Kev Kim
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was my introduction to the Destiny's Children series and it's remained my favorite still. Whereas others have had trouble with the story hopping between two timelines and all the brain crushing or mind blowing theories on human evolution, that's what I was expecting by this point in my Baxter reading career.

My favorite part was how the future storyline showed some of the extremes of humanotypes based on all the different environments we could end up in. Absolutely left me wanting more chap
...more
Peter Greenwell
Feb 08, 2012 rated it liked it
80% of this book is fine material. The other 20% delves into turgid metaphysics. It is gratifying in a way to catch up with George Poole's descendants and family, to see where they are forty years on...and the far future character of Alia is pleasing too. It's when Baxter tries to emulate the Clarke-like mystical....well, it comes apart a little at the seams.

Alexander
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edmund Bloxam
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Two threads run through the book. One creates an interesting setting. However, it uncomfortably settles around what amounts to a ghost story (which it is not clear is a ghost story, and quickly becomes clear it is something else). But it still plays out like a ghost story, and these never chime with me, because ghosts are such a ridiculous premise. What is truly distracting is how unphased people are at the sight of something that is so ridiculous.

Anyway, the beginnings of serious climate change
...more
Costin Manda
Feb 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Oh, no! After such a glorious second volume, Baxter regressed for the third volume of the Destiny's Children series, Transcendent. What you get is basically a continuation of the first volume, but without the emotional content or the cool ideas of Coalescent. Same awkward family relationships that no one really cares about, same main character who is actually driven by the actions and thoughts of people around him, rather than his own, same single final moment that shapes the world without actua ...more
Florin Constantinescu
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Books #1 & #2 of Destiny's Children showed a past-future parallel. Now the author attempts to do the same inside a single novel. The past parts are a sort of sequel to "Coalescent", while the future part introduces us to new elements in the distant Xeelee vs humans future. The two narratives obviously join via some kind of mind-time-travel.
The characters introduced in "Coalescent" have evolved along nicely, although their ecological preoccupations in this volume aren't the most exciting. The cor
...more
Karissa
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: home-2017
This is a book that has been on my shelf forever. I just randomly grabbed it to read. I wasn't aware that it was a part of a series, or that it was the third and final book. Luckily you don't need to read the previous books in the series to understand what is going on.

The most interesting part of the book for me was the description of the Warming. The year is 2047. Climate change has happened. Florida is receding; Miami is basically underwater. They try to discourage anyone from flying anywhere
...more
Anton Hammarstedt
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-sci-fi
Setting presentation, design and originality (how cool is the setting?): 3
>Setting verisimillitude and detail (how much sense does the setting make?): 2
Plot design, presentation and originality (How well-crafted was the plot, in the dramaturgic sense?): 4
Plot and character verisimillitude (How much sense did the plot and motivations make? Did events follow from motivations?): 3
Characterization and character development: 4
Character sympatheticness: 5
Prose: 4
Page turner factor: 4
Mind blown factor:
...more
Andy Mac
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This was really a decent "sort-of" finale to the series. Without spoilers, it closed out most of the plot lines and told a far future version of how things turned out.

Like many of Baxter's books, it felt smooth to read and the science of the science fiction was at least (generally) based in real science. In this case, often in philosophy as much as anything else. What happens to a humanity that is embroiled in a war that spans millennia?
betty c. spencer
A Half-million Years of Human History

Sitting in this chair I have seen, heard and felt the history of humans as the galaxy is conquered, lost and conquered again. I have thought with near-gods as they transcended to cope with the universe entire. I am inspired with the incredible effort and brilliant creativity of this work. It could even be reality.
Svetlana
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this! The parts about global warming and climate change made for a very scary read, reminded me somewhat of the Sunstorm (also his book co-written with Arthur C Clarke).
Ricky Boden
Sep 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
I tried my best and got 24% through it but just did not find myself engaged at all.

No.1 great
No.2 good

Lost me on this
Fred
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Baxter presents a fascinating setting of global warming.

The plot and characters are boring and stupid.
It is boring because the characters, don't do anything; things are done to them. The characters have the emotional maturity of 15 year old kids.
It is stupid because he has taken the ideas of a Russian mystic and turned them into a "science fiction" story.

The mystic was "... Fyodorov, a futurist, who theorized about the eventual perfection of the human race and society (i.e., utopia), including
...more
Ng Xin Zhao
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Worth reading just for the climate change issues alone. Amazing that they did so much more.
Mark Easter
From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-Set in the same vast time scale and future as Coalescent (2003) and Exultant (2004, both Del Rey), Transcendent can be read independently. Michael Poole is a middle-aged engineer in the year of the digital millennium (2047) and Alia is a recognizably human (but evolved) adolescent born on a starship half a million years later. Michael still dreams of space flight, but the world and its possibilities are much diminished due to environmental deg

...more
Roger Bailey
Stephen J. Gould once said that he was frequently asked what he thought the future of human evolution would be like. His answer was that we are not going anywhere. His theory of punctuated equilibrium holds that when a species has a large population and is widespread it is pretty well adapted to its environment and is not under selective pressure to change. It is when the environment changes or something else happens to severely reduce the population orr to isolate a small subpopulation from the ...more
José Monico
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
First sentence: "The girl from the future told me that the sky is full of dying worlds." *Lets out a sigh of relief.

I inadvertently skipped the second book in the thematic series and went for the third; coming off of Coalescent, I was nervous as to what Baxter would decide to go with for this one. And it immediately looked like it was more of the same methods we have come to know the author by. Sure it's not perfect, but it's good. With the cherry being the implementation of some canon material
...more
Simon Chamberlain
[Minor spoilers ahead][return][return]Third book in the Destiny's Children trilogy, which overall I found disappointing compared to his earlier work (I loved the Manifold trilogy, and Evolution was pretty good too).[return][return]Transcendent is still a lot better than Coalescent and Exultant, though. I'd almost suggest skipping the first two, and going with the third. Although it contains elements drawn from the first two novels, they are in the background rather than being essential to the pl ...more
Sharon
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
The book goes back and forth between two characters and time periods: a man named Michael Poole in the not-too-distant future on Earth, and a girl named Alia who lives on a ship millennia into the future. The Michael Poole story imagines what could happen to the planet and our species if things continue on the course they are on with global warming. Honestly, it seems like something that could possibly happen and it is scary. The more futuristic sections are definitely more in the "sci-fi" categ ...more
Bonnie Tharp
Mar 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I love a good SciFi novel and Transcendent was GOOD. When Border's was selling their stock I perused the SciFi section to discover what stories might be hiding. After all, skimming the bookshelves at Border's is how I discovered Kristin Smith and Contact. While Transcendent's worldview peaked my interest, the future of Earth in 2047 with no cars and the ice caps melted so much of the land was under water; and a million years further where humans have moved all over the galaxy and adapted to new ...more
Shane Kiely
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 3 of Destiny's Children is both a sequel & a prequel to books 1 & 2. Unlike the first book, this time around the separate timelines are more intrinsically interlinked. It's got probably the most sophisticated plot of the series so far, but it's probably the least compelling, it's still an interesting to see how everything resolves itself but Coalescent & Exultant appealed to me more. The ideas espoused are interesting but complex & I found my mind did tend to drift occasionally. The charact ...more
Betsey
Aug 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Baxter is definitely getting better & better. I thought the characters in this book were better developed than in other books, but the story line was a little thin for the length of the book. I'm impressed by Baxter's ability to work out cute little details and link them together over a long series. I always wonder how authors do that - if they take notes or what. Anyway, this was another one of the Baxter's climate change books. I got a little tired of reading the details of global warming & it ...more
grundoon
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
3.5 The set up for both story lines, near-future eco disaster and 500,000 years hence, kept me quite excited for a couple of hundred pages. There are still some terrific scenes as things progress, but overall it felt like an opportunity missed. For me, both stories eventually go in directions which don't meet their earlier potential, and the clumsiness of their ultimate convergence is only more surprising when it becomes clear he'd been working towards this ending all along. Nonetheless, probabl ...more
Rich Kulesus
Dec 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Authorial self-deprecation: Devising an ultra-intelligent unified society that makes outrageously ridiculous decisions because the author's own intellect is an insufficient match for his own creation.

The brazenness of the premise is only superseded by its laughable implausability.

Yes, it's part of a series that raises some interesting concepts. Skip this one, however - it contributes nothing.
Rebecca
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The final book in Baxter's 'Destiny's Children' trilogy, this novel focuses on the philosophical and emotional evolution of mankind (in all its divergences). With a timescale that's sheer unimagineable, it had me hooked from the very first page.

Thank goodness there are a collection of short stories after this book, as it didn't tie up ALL the loose ends of the series!
Simon
Feb 05, 2010 rated it it was ok
I agree with some of the readers who suggest reading Transcendent (book 3 in the trilogy of four ...) first. Thought you could read the second one last. Actually the order doesn't really matter. There are major and minor threads linking the first three books but the narratives are independent. You can enjoy them in any order.

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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

Destiny's Children (4 books)
  • Coalescent (Destiny's Children, #1)
  • Exultant (Destiny's Children, #2)
  • Resplendent (Destiny's Children, #4)

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