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Exultant

(Destiny's Children #2)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,816 ratings  ·  77 reviews
When it comes to cutting-edge science fiction, Stephen Baxter is in a league of his own. His mastery of hard science, his fearlessly speculative imagination, and his ability to combine grand philosophical questions with tales of rousing adventure make him essential reading for anyone concerned with the future of humankind. Now, in Exultant, Baxter takes us to a distant fut ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Del Rey (first published 2004)
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Ethan Yes. They are connected and you might enjoy seeing the connections between them, but Exultant is not a direct continuation of Coalescent. I enjoyed bo…moreYes. They are connected and you might enjoy seeing the connections between them, but Exultant is not a direct continuation of Coalescent. I enjoyed both books, but they are very different books. I read them several years apart. People who read them more closely together may have a different take.(less)

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Bradley
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel was something of a shocker to me. I actually expected a continuation of Coalescent with the hive-mind Romans even if they take place in the near future with more George Poole or perhaps a future Michael Poole, but nothing could be farther from this.

(Not ENTIRELY true, actually, the hive-mind humans and a remnant 20-thousand-year-old near-immortal in Exultant gave us some continuity.)

But in actual fact, Exultant reads more like a bonafide Xeelee novel. As in, pulling together all the T
...more
Betsey
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
There was a lot of really interesting stuff in this book! I don't understand all the reviews that say it doesn't tie into the first book of the series, Coalescent. It totally does! Lots of ways. I like the humans as insects analogies, all over the place. And the different types of social insects. The dark matter theorizing, and the idea of the monads was pretty cool. I also thought that Baxter really pulled out of his mold in this book. It feels much fresher and alive than the Manifold series, f ...more
Daniel Roy
May 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf
I would definitely call Stephen Baxter's Exultant an interesting book, but I would be hard-pressed to recommend it to anyone. It has some very exciting SF concepts, but they are buried in a plot that makes so litle sense and dialog that will make you cringe.

Baxter is a man of ideas, but it seems he is too busy pondering grand concepts to put them in the proper context of a good story. There are truly mind-boggling concepts; even too many, it seems, because some have barely a page or two of devel
...more
Jack Pramitte
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
WOW! :o
Ethan
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
What have we got here? Enough Big Ideas for several novels? Mind-bending physics? Characters that are just kinda there? The feeling that you just experienced something really cool that you can't completely explain? Must be a Stephen Baxter novel.

This is nominally a sequel to Baxter's Coalescent, which I read several years ago and enjoyed. Exultant takes place in the same universe over 20,000 years later, so I guess it's a sequel in roughly the same way that Dune is a sequel to Hamlet. Especially
...more
Saul
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
After the digression of Coalescent, Baxter returns to his familiar settings of mind-bending physics and far-flung futures. This book reminded me a bit of The Forever War, but is a bit better done. Where Forever has relativistic effects, in Exultant we get full-on time travel shenanigans. Both feature the disfunctions of military life, cover-your-ass bureaucracy, meaningless wars and pointless loss of life. However, Baxter does a better job with the physics and ideas. Neither do a particularly gr ...more
Costin Manda
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Exultant, the second book in the Destiny's Children series felt a lot better than Coalescent. Not without its own flaws, it made the entire experience better, but maybe that's just me.

The book describes a universe twenty thousand years into the future, when human kind has infested the galaxy, destroying all sentient races they encountered with their immense war machine. They are currently at war with a technologically superior enemy called the Xeelee, which are trapped at the core of the galaxy,
...more
Florin Constantinescu
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-re-read
Aaaa, so this is why the author had us read the boring "Coalescent" beforehand... No, really, we could've lived without it.
"Exultant" is back in force to kick-ass far-future starship battles, hard-science, warring empires, cool concepts, even some cool character dilemmas. The action time-wise falls somewhere in the middle of "Ring" and finally shows humans engaged in battle with the Xeelee. The speculations on black hole physics here are so very cool. Can't help but 5* this guilty pleasure of mi
...more
Michel Meijer
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
For someone slightly interested in theoretical physics and space operas, this book is it. Stephen Baxter takes all kinds of physics theories and thinking and puts it to work in the story. The evolution of the universe and how it all came to be is a consistent plot in the books he made. This story plays at the end of time in his space opera, the big showdown fight between humanity and its big enemie in the Galaxy, the Xeelee. And somehow the fight is about sacrificing young soldiers on rocks in t ...more
Michael
Feb 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Hard SF
This was definitely an interesting read, especially me being someone who is not only a science fiction fan but also a quantum physics fan. This books utilizes many current theories of quantum physics, and even builds a few of its own, and paints a universe more colorful and full of diversity than I had ever imagined.

The story is long, so if you're looking for an action-packed experience, this isn't for you. The story seems unnecessarily convoluted, and drags on in many cases, leaving the reader
...more
Omar Rivero
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Any Stephen Baxter book with the enigmatic Xeelee automatically goes on my "must read" list. This book was no exception. I was very disappointed in the previous book in the series "Coalescent". The themes of that book didn't gel for me and I frankly found the subject matter disturbing. This book was an entirely different case. It took me longer to read than most of my books, simply because Baxter does not write what we would consider page turners. As with his other Xeelee sequence books, I would ...more
Chrissy
Feb 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
My husband got this as part of a white elephant gift and the only reason I read it was because I was snowed in from work and bored. I was happily surprised! I liked how he handled the complications and paradoxes of time travel as well as the emotions, struggles, growth of the characters. Good book all around.
Anton Hammarstedt
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-sci-fi
Now this is how you write cosmic sci-fi! As a sequel to Coalescent it is a bit of a let-down (not really referring the events of the last book beyond a few throwaway references to coalescents being a nonstandard-but-fairly-common form of societal organisation), but it feels like a much tighter sci-fi story overall.

I always get an iffy feeling when I read a story about military operations written by someone with no military background, so the pure military parts of Exultant reads a bit like John
...more
SaberSnail
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'll say up front that I'm a big fan of Stephen Baxter. However, he definitely has a tendency to cover some similar themes and styles in his stories. Therefore, I was happy to find that this book was a little bit of a refreshing change from his typical offerings (while still retaining most of what makes his style distinct). This book has a fairly tight plot, rather than being a sprawling epic which he sometimes wanders off into. Not only that, but the book doesn't end with there only being one m ...more
Russell Emmerson
Dec 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
This sets up part of the bigger picture of the series. Unfortunately it also fails to bring readers from Book 1 along. There is some tie-in but it’s difficult to recover when you spend the first third of the book wondering why you’re reading it.
betty c. spencer
From before the beginning of time

A gripping tour d'force of modern cosmology and understandable quantum physics in a compelling matrix of life, lust and galactic conflict. Complex but entertaining.
Falbs
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Vast in scope, a ton of big ideas here, from time travel to FTL speeds, a fun read.
Walden Effingham
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
not at all bad- good space opera.....
Pavel Lishin
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked it, but "trench warfare in space" kept breaking my suspension of disbelief.
Ed
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another tour de force in Baxter's Destiny's Children series! Keeps you going and guessing til right up to the end, including time line bifurcations, black holes, Xelee, oh my!!
Marc
Aug 06, 2020 rated it liked it
ok but not great, not a high reading level - almost YA
Svetlana
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The third part of the book really saved it for me. It brought a lot of things together from previous Xeelee books and stories and I really liked that part.
However I found it difficult to really engage with the main story.
Tom Loock
Abandoned at ca. 15% - thus no rating.

Had hoped for a continuation of the story from 'Coalescent', but this one takes place 10k+ years in the future -and is also very SF with lots of jargon that is way above my head. Furthermore I have learned that it would be advisable to read the Xeelee-novels first.

Baxter is a great writer and I will definitely read other books of his; not this one though.
Mark Easter
From Publishers Weekly

Military SF fans will relish the second entry in Baxter's Destiny's Children trilogy, set long after the events recounted in 2003's Coalescent. When navy pilot Pirius and his crew violate protocol during a skirmish with the alien Xeelee and end up capturing a ship from "mankind's most ancient and most powerful foe," instead of accolades, two versions of Pirius—Pirius Red and Pirius Blue, from different time lanes—receive punishment. Pirius Red accompanies the eccent

...more
Kevin
Jun 29, 2009 rated it liked it
Time travel paradox bifurcate the hero's journey.
Baxter has a head full of great concepts, and not all seem to make it to the page intact. The war between human and the mysterious Xeelee introduces a lot of wild concepts (most familiar among them the idea of war as Malthusian population control), but when we meet the bureaucrats on Earth who command the war effort these ideas teeter on the brink of clumsy satire; when the younger Pirius is granted an audience with one such bureaucrat, the man be
...more
John
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Even Beethoven wrote a few duds. This sequel to Baxter's excellent 2003 novel "Coalescent" is a real disappointment. Its connection with that previous novel is extraordinarily tenuous, and this is the first of many problems, since "Exultant" fails to follow up on some of the loose threads left hanging at the end of "Coalescent." But the problems with "Exultant" run much deeper than that. This is the first Baxter novel I've read that felt like he just phoned it in, like his heart really wasn't in ...more
Roger Bailey
This is hard science fiction right on the cutting edge of physics, cosmogeny and cosmology just like I like it. The plot concerns an interstellar war with an unfathomable species and presents some interesting twists and turns because both sides can accomplish time travel and thereby can receive actionable information from the future. Just give some thought to how that would effect strategy and tactics. To me, though, the most interesting premise of the book is what is actually something of a sub ...more
Shane Kiely
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sequel of sorts to Coalescent, this is the story of a millennia long war in the far distant future between an almost Spartan human civilisation & a race of aliens that exist outside the substance of our universe. In simpler terms it deals with a pilot named Pirius & how his potential to change the course of the Galaxy's history. So clearly Baxter felt Coalescent wasn't traditionally sci fi enough & decided to make up for that this time around. I won't even pretend to know anything about quantu ...more
Tim
Mar 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Again, I'd really like to give this book 3.5 stars. Probably the most readable of the loosely connected trilogy that includes Coalescent and Transcendent, but the least provocative in terms of ideas. There is still great stuff in here. Love the "silver ghosts."

What I like about Baxter is that he's not repeating tired cliches about a science fiction future. He's doing fresh stuff.

The only author I can compare him to in the scope of his future historical vision is Olaf Stapledon though perhaps Art
...more
Richard
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This book is very different from the previous book. I enjoyed it a lot more. There was more flow to the story. There were times when it got kind of bogged down just for the sake of being bogged down I believe.

I liked the fact that he talked about the coalescent in this book, but it wasn't really in the forefront, unless you talk about the military and the way they used kids for fighting.

There was a lot of good ideas in the book and unfortunately, he didn't really go into too much detail. The ali
...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

Destiny's Children (4 books)
  • Coalescent (Destiny's Children, #1)
  • Transcendent (Destiny's Children, #3)
  • Resplendent (Destiny's Children, #4)

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