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Exultant (Destiny's Children #2)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,509 Ratings  ·  63 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
ebook, 512 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Del Rey (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Daniel Roy
May 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Betsey
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chrissy
Feb 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Saul
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Svetlana
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 eccentric Ni

...more
Ian
Dec 16, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book of the Destiny’s Children trilogy, and I quite enjoyed the first, Coalescent (see here), so I was expecting to enjoy this one too. But… oh dear. The earlier book had two main narratives, one set in the present day and the other in Ancient Britain. Exultant is set wholly in the distant future, when humanity is at war with the Xeelee, and has been for over a thousand years. A pair of teen soldiers become involved in a series of attempts to strike a final blow against the Xe ...more
Kevin
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
Michel Meijer
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
John
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Michael
Feb 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...more
Tim
Mar 06, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Omar Rivero
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Peter Walton-Jones
Exultant is the 2nd in the 4 part "Destiny's Children" series. I found it superior to the story told in part 1. Baxter does not write what I would call classic sci-fi. He writes like the good and capable story teller that he is; creating wide-sweeping and complex scenarios that generally sustain a readers' attention. This story is set far, far in the future; in the 3rd expansion of human-kind into the universe. There is much sort of technical detail in this story that doesn't really work for me, ...more
Tharindra Kaluthotaarachchi
Better than coalescent..manages to drag the characters and the story in a good pace which is really difficult in a story like this. Nice and interesting possibilities for life but it would have been better if the author found a way to bring out their existence from actual findings in the story arc with reasoning and inferring by main characters rather than from a scientist who finally realizing it and blurting it out to the blue. That seems to be the only downside for this book.. and there's no ...more
adrianoates
I read the first in this trilogy and it was earthbound real time and historical so familiar. I skipped a lot of this follow-up which is futuristic and space-bound. I think it appeals to that part of Baxter's readership that are into space opera, star wars or Haldeman 'Forever War'. I enjoyed Heinlein's 'Starship Troopers' but can't see anything better past it. I intend to read the third in the trilogy, which at least starts on an Earth with recognisable characters.
Max
Mar 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a good story, original in its ideas about the very beginning of the universe, some of its early inhabitants and the time before the Big Bang, but at times a bit moralistic and in places it is not convincing in its dealing with technical aspects. One of the man characters, Commissary Nilis, is not always credible. As volume two in the Destiny's Child trilogy, it is an interesting sequel to Coalescent; it is not as grippng as that first volume, though.
Paul Williams
Amazing depth of imagination about the different stages of evolution of the universe - and life. I think Baxter needs to stick to this writing style, unlike the books before and after it in this series.

It's connection to other books in this series, and the greater Xeelee cycle, is quite baffling. Check some chronologies before you read, unless you want to read the conclusion of the Xeelee conflict before it starts!
P K Morris
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this a difficult (typical of Stephen Baxter) but rewarding book to read. There are some interesting mind twisting ideas within and a decent if confusing at times plot. This is not a book I would recommend to those new to Stephen Baxters writing or to the Xeelee series but if you have read and enjoyed other earlier books in the Xeelee series it's definitely worth a read.
Casey
Jul 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just cannot read the first book in any Stephen Baxter series first. I always always always start with a non-first.

Oh well at least I didn't start with the last one this time, like I did with the Xeelee sequence.
Tyler Volz
Oct 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, sci-fi
This is one of my favorite novels. I'm a sucker for coming of age stories, high concept science fiction, space battles, and moral conundrums. This book isn't lacking in any of those area. I think it's Baxter's best Xeelee book by far.
iain meek
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet again, Baxter spins a luscious yarn. Full of fascinating references to various theories in science- stretched to their full consequences? Very lively. Lots of group sex- how bizarre (on this planet). Reminds me of Biggles.

My thanks to the City of London lending library service.
Eva Asker
Although I didn't like this book I continued reading, but the regards never came. Mindboggling physics, but none of the characters are interesting and some concepts in the book are never explained. This book for me was a waste of time and not at all as good as the first one in the serie.
Duncan Rice
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book helps the reader understand the cultural context and conflicts. But if you skip it this book stands alone quite well. The first third comes off as a dull narrative. Stick with it because the book gets very good after that as the speculative social and science aspects come forward.
Alexander Brazhnikov
I lked the story of rats that left the Earth with people on the spaceship. To survive rats had to be liked by people, so rats learned to sing. And generations of people that never heard birds' singing got to love rats' songs....
Rebecca
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very hard-going sci-fi, but brilliant in its storytelling! After finishing this book, I was eager to know more - but also sadly knew that other space-drama novels would be forever ruined by their pale sahdes of comparision. My favourite book in the 'Destiny's Children' series.
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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
More about Stephen Baxter...

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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“The past is a distraction, a source of envy, enmity, bitterness. Only the present matters, for only in the present can we shape the future.

Cut loose the past; it is dead weight.
Let the Extirpation continue. Let it never end.”
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“A brief life burns brightly.” 4 likes
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