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Timelike Infinity (Xeelee Sequence, #2)
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Timelike Infinity

(Xeelee Sequence #2)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,874 ratings  ·  96 reviews
2000 years in the future, the solar system has fallen under the domination of an alien species, the Qax. But into this world appears a spaceship launched over 1500 years ago, intended to establish a link through which time travel is possible. To the humans this is a chance to reverse time.
Paperback, 253 pages
Published 1997 by HarperCollins (first published December 7th 1992)
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Krista Unless I'm mistaken the Qax saw the interface when the invasion first started and destroyed it at the beginning of their occupation …moreUnless I'm mistaken the Qax saw the interface when the invasion first started and destroyed it at the beginning of their occupation (less)

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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Dirk Grobbelaar
But wait. There was something new.

Out of the blocks this novel scratched a sensawunda itch that was causing me no small amount of reading distress (I haven’t really been reading a lot of books for the last three years, and I was desperately looking for something to kickstart my reading obsession again).

I’ve had the Xeelee omnibus lying around for ages, and I’d read Raft some time back, but never got around to Timelike Infinity even though it was on my “to-read” shortlist. Now, even though this
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Stephen Baxter makes my brain hurt.

I read Raft and had a great time despite the hard science aspects that I'm not used to and now book two has melted my brain with a lot of talk of physics interwoven with a story of time travel and a background of interspecies war.

Once more Baxter has written a highly enjoyable novel peopled by interesting characters and full of fascinating ideas. The hard science aspect takes a little getting used to for people like me who aren't genius level scientists or what
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Stephen Baxter has been on my radar for a while now, but the poor fellow keep getting pushed back in favour of more "flavour du jour" books. He is one of the elite sci-fi writers working actively today I think (among Reynolds, Hamilton, Scalzi, Stross etc.). I did give Raft a not very enthusiastic attempt, couldn't really make any head of tail of it within the first chapter and then I was tempted away by another book that everybody was talking about; I forget which one, I'm just too easily swaye ...more
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
5 Stars 

Timelike Infinity is simply a mind-blowing hard science novel by Stephen Baxter, a giant of the genre. This is a read that is surely to hurt your brain and leave you scratching your head. Book two in the Xeelee sequence is a progression of the world without being connected to the amazingly original first book, Raft.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I confess that I loved this book and enjoyed each and every page. This is a novel and a series for fans of hard science fiction and it is not appropriate for tho
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
My walk down memory lane continues with book #3 in Stephen Baxter’s Xeelee sequence. Since these things really work as stand-alone stories I don’t think it’s a problem reading them out of order. I read Ring first (#4 in the series) and then Vacuum Diagrams (#...5?) and now I’m back at the third installment. I read them all out of order the first time through back in the 90’s too. So it’s fitting.

I realized upon this reread that this was more connected to book 4 than I first thought. It covers th
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've been avoiding Stephen Baxter for a while and thought it was time to give him a try.

I read this one mostly because of the synopsis and the good reviews about his Xeelee series.

Timelike Infinity and Ring are considered the 'main' story in the timeline between the all 4 books on this sequence. Raft and Flux being more like stand-alone stories.

I liked the book, lots of extravagant ideas with Wormholes, Singularities and Time travel which I truly enjoyed, even though it was not that easy to fo
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Marginally engaging, but gets very bogged down in the science at points, and the end is not a particularly neat wrapping up of the story. The plot felt strained at times and the characters weren't developed well either. A little disappointing from what I'd read of the reviews. ...more
Feb 24, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked the little story just enough to finish, and in finishing, I find the story was big. This isn't my cup of tea, but I just might read another one in this series. ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This didn't feel like a novel to me. It felt more like Baxter had some ideas on theoretical physics plus some musings on the end of the universe, threw in a bit of time travel, and then wrapped a few unconvincing characters and a threadbare plot around them. ...more
Peter Dunn
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you pick is this book looking for interesting and nuanced characters walk away now – but if you have come looking for fantastic, novel and huge science fiction concepts you are in exactly the right bit of space-time.

This story contains one of the oddest and most intriguing forms of alien life you are likely to find in science fiction– the convection cell based Qax. It also has some great speculative tech such as singularity cannons. If that is not enough for you how about a cult that believe
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is my second book into the Xeelee sequence (and the third Stephen Baxter book I've read, the first being Manifold Time) and I'm enjoying it immensely so far. I admit I tend to generous in giving 5 stars to books I enjoyed. I'm not to picky about technical criticism and all that, all that matters to me is how much I enjoyed reading it. But I give this only 4, because in the confusion of explaining all the physics...

(view spoiler)
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
I really enjoyed Raft, and so decided to carry on with this series. But I found Timelike Infinity sadly lacking. For an author that has a reputation for writing "hard" scifi it has some surprising schoolboy-level misunderstandings of Quantum Mechanics - including every woo-peddlers favourite - that the "observer" in a quantum mechanics needs to be a conscious being. It's not necessary for every book to be scientifically plausible, but once you take that out of this one, it doesn't have a whole l ...more
David (דוד)
Second Book in the Xeelee Universe series by Stephen Baxter was very nice indeed. Although it amazes at quite a few times, but still to me it fell short of some for a 5-star rating.

As in the first book, he has an extremely vivid imagination, solid storyline that spans millions of years. Some true Hard Science Fiction here. Lots of usage of ideas bearing Wormholes, Consciousness, Space-time Travels, Ultimate Observer, Hyperdrives, Wave-function Collapses, GUTships, Artificial Gravity, Alien Being
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for some hard science fiction, early Baxter is the place to go. He has some amazing technology (Virtuals that allow communication between really long distances, accurate wormholes made into a time machine, singularity weapons, etc) and aliens (Qax overlords, Spline, Xeelee, future humans, etc). The story is OK but the characters need more. Part of a series of books in larger common universe.
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I thought the concept of this book was very interesting, and it was enjoyable for the most part. The time travel and interaction between races was good, and I enjoyed the hard sci-fi aspect. However, in the end I found the plot to be way too simple... It felt more like I had just read a novella or detailed short story that had been fluffed up.
Jim Mann
Apr 21, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Far into our future, humans create a wormhole time machine. By dragging a one end of a wormhole though space at relativistic speeds, a ship, the Cauchy, returning to Jupiter orbit after 1500 years has experienced only a 100 years of ship time -- and thus the wormhole, whose ends must be at the same time -- is a path 1400 years into the past. But the future the ship finds when it returns is vastly different from when it left: humans have been conquered by a race called the Qax.

But one human ship
Andrew Ten broek
The second novel and first sequel of the Xeelee novels deals with a time-period where the human race is still in their part of the universe, but are spreading out throughout the universe. The focus is on Jupiter and its surroundings and how the research of one Michael Poole leads to an opened portal, wormhole, that inadvertently makes time travel possible. Poole doesn't realize this until he gets a message from his beloved colleague Miriam who discovered a group called the friends of Wigner's ar ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Far future fiction is difficult. This story starts in a.d. 3717 (and "Raft" starts around a.d. 100K).

And yet despite this, human beings are more or less the same they are today. We're still physical beings of flesh and blood, we still communicate by talking, we still take need space-suits to travel in space, and we still live in societies that are organized more or less the same way our current-day nations and tribes are. This is, to put it mildly, not remotely realistic. I don't think that's re
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Although this is only the second novel Baxter published, it has the strange quality of not having a satisfying beginning or ending. Much of the protagonist Michael Poole's story (the invention of wormholes, his relationship with Miriam Berg) is summarised briefly at the beginning, which means developments on the page lack weight, and it ends on a cliffhanger (to be resolved in Ring).

The characterisation in general is if anything even weaker that Raft (the first book in the Xeelee series and Baxt
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Entertaining enough for me to have read it in a couple sittings. The characters were easier to empathize with than those in the first book 'Raft'. A good take on time travel that doesn't leave one wishing they had a diagram to be able to follow along.

The only connection to the first book seems to occur in the last paragraph and as interesting as each book has been, I'm not sure that I am willing to read another one in hopes of fleshing out this universe and seeing if there is a larger overall p
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I read this to continue through the Xeelee series, but I guess I'm not a huge fan of the overarching structure of the books. Once again, I thought parts were drawn out, and the characterization in this book was, while not terrible, weaker than the prior entry. Parts of this story, I think, were meant to be revelatory or surprising, but seemed a little too telegraphed to really be enjoyable. I decided I'm probably not going to finish the series. ...more
Florin Constantinescu
If you're going to have anything to do with the Xeelee Sequence by Stephen Baxter, this is the novel I recommend you start with.

Fans of far-future science fiction, time travel, aliens, paradoxes, grand-scale galactic projects, and characters which aren't that bad, this is the book for you. The writing is so straight-forward, yet catchy as hell, and the plot leaves no room for breathing. The action will be continued in "Ring" and in several very good shorter works.
Loren Law
Solid, easy to digest. Makes for a breezy sci-fi escape from reality for a few hours. Baxter's no frills writing style seems like it should produce a bland story, The characters are flat and only there to support the quantum physics concepts, which are the real star of the show.
The story and setting act as a medium to visualize theoretical physics conundrums that can be very difficult to explain to a math hater like me. However, this, in combination with straightforward story telling and lack o
Gillian James
Mar 06, 2021 rated it did not like it
It is not often that I give up on a book. Usually, even if I'm not particularly enjoying it I will get to the end just to find out what happens, but this one was too dull to even care. The plot is incredibly complex involving quantum mechanics, worm holes and time travel but the characters are too uninteresting to be worth trying to figure out who is where and when.

Unless you are really into quantum mechanics, give it a miss.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Way better than Raft, with actual characters that you actually empathize with, like Jasoft Parz' discussions with the Qax governor. I thought the Friends were up to something else, more relevant to their name and alternate timelines and the reason they couldn't talk about their mission, and was kind of disappointed by the actual reveal. Some implausible behaviors and events. ...more
Anupriya Karippadath
For a story spanning billions of years and mutiple time perspectives, Stephen Baxter does an amazing job keeping the reader engrossed (if slightly confused at times). This volume doesn't quite measure up to the mad exuberance of ideas in 'Ring'. It has, however, left me very satisfied and already lining up 2 more books from the Xeelee sequence because I must know more about this story!!! ...more
Sep 08, 2017 rated it liked it
The concept was interesting. The time travel and interaction between future races was good, with a lot of hard sci-fi aspect into it. But the story was too simple and the protagonists weren't relatable. ...more
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I <3 hard sci-fi. Stephen Baxter seems like he might be a new favorite of mine. He grounds the huge ideas in real physics and gives me the mind blowing experience I crave from sci-fi. This is my jumping off point for his Xeelee sequence and now I can’t wait to dig into the rest of the series.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Really enjoyed the first 90% of the book. Nice, hard-core SF. Lame ending though - although following on from some quantum speculation earlier in the book, I found it totally implausible. A shame.
Well worth a read though.
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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)
  • 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 (Xeelee Sequence, #8)
  • Coalescent (Destiny's Children, #1)
  • Exultant (Destiny's Children, #2)
  • Transcendent (Destiny's Children, #3)

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