This review covers the entire 4 book Manifold series Your garden variety 4 book trilogies usually start the plot off in the first book, then leave you with 2 or 3 cliff hangers before maybe resolving everything in the 4th book.Even SB had previously subscribed to this concept.Today, let s try something new why don t we make books 2 and 3 be not sequels or prequels to book 1, but rather sidels, if you wish A sort of rewrites featuring the same characters, only the premises completely different alternate or side worlds For example instead of a universe teeming with life, why don t we make life scarce in the universe in the next book So the idea is very original here How about the plots There are 3 different plots obviously, among the 3 books, and while not on stellar levels, they don t disappoint in any fashion.How about the characters Well, the interesting device with the setting being re written applies to the characters as well Some are identical between books, some are slightly different, some completely different At the end you can even choose your favorite type of each.The weakest chain in the link here is the 4th book, the collection Phase Space Not that the stories were necessarily weak in themselves, but some are not related to the Manifold universe The ones who do follow the same recipe from the first three books. The story moves really slow but surprisingly you don t feel it because of the amount of material that is thrown your way The pay off however is well worth the wait My only complain in this book is that Stephen Baxter was so incredibly cruel to a lot of the characters. Stephen Baxter S Manifold Novels Have Struck The World Of Science Fiction Like A Meteor Heralded By Arthur C Clarke As A Major New Talent, Baxter Stands Time And Space On Their Collective Heads, Envisions The Future Reflected In The Past, And The Past In The Galaxy S Most Distant Reaches And Unformed Speculations Claiming The Legacy Of Heinlein And Asimov, Baxter Now Returns With His Third Manifold Novel In Which He Uses An Astounding Adventure Story To Posit A Breathtaking Vision Of The Origin Of Species On Earth And BeyondIn The Year A Red Moon Appears In The Earth S Orbit Brooding, Multitextured, Beautiful, And Alive Catastrophe Follows While Coastlands Flood By The New Gravitational Forces, Millions Of People Die Scientists Scramble Desperately To Understand What Is On The Big Red Moon And How It Got There And NASA Astronaut Reid Malenfant, And His Wife Emma, Are Hurtling Through The African Sky In A Training Jet, When Everything Changes ForeverFor Malenfant And Emma, A Reckless Flight In A T Above The Sun Baked Continent Sends Them Colliding With A Great Wheel In The Sky Now Emma Has Awakened In A Strange, Earthlike World, Among Physically Powerful, Primitive Creatures Who Share Humankind S Features And Desires But Lack The Human Mind And Reid Malenfant Is Back In Texas, Reliving The Plane Crash, Looking Up At The Red Moon, And Knowing In His Heart That Emma Is ThereEmma Is There, Beginning A Journey Of Survival That Is Both Horrific And Fascinating, Utterly Familiar And Totally Beyond Comprehension Malenfant, Teamed With A Japanese Scientist Named Nemoto, Will Get His Chance To Rescue His Wife But Neither Can Foresee The Extraordinary Adventures That Await Them Neither Can Imagine The Small And Immense Evolutionary Secrets Cloaked In The Atmosphere Of The Red Moon, Or Guess At How A Vast, Living, Tightly Woven Cosmos Has Shaped Our Planet As We Know It And How It Will Shape It Again From The Hardcover Edition not great at all pretty stupid actually I didn t like this book as much as the previous two Baxter explored an interesting thesis, but for me, it read a bit too much like a biology book As usual you have no idea how the plotlines wil develop, in this case however, the story ending didn t satisfy Still, some of ir was quite entertaining. First two of the series were awesome This was junk. I liked the other two better This one was interesting, but it lost me 3 4 of the way through. I couldn t finish it I can t say that about any of his other books I don t know what happened with this one. There s a decent book in here somewhere Have you ever been a good portion of the way through a book and been faced with the total certainty that it s not going anywhere And yet, you ve invested so much time in it that you feel silly not bothering to finish it and besides, it s not that bad It s just not great This was the situation I found myself in reading this book and true to form I did finish reading it only to find that the book was merely okay Not good, certainly not great, but just okay I guess I should elaborate This is the third and presumably last book in the Manifold trilogy, which so far has been a loose consortium of absolutely fascinating hard science ideas held together by fitfully entertaining plots The stories may not have been nail biters but the cosmic vision kept you coming back and made the experience memorable, although you won t achieve any kind of transcendence reading these But they were fun, for what they were Then we get to this book By now, we know the drill, as Baxter reboots everything again and gives us the characters we ve seen before, but in different circumstances This time our hero Reid Malfenant is back with his wife still alive, Emma sat out the last book due to death, so it s nice to have her along and as usual he s ticking off NASA But the book sets up its premise early on, as a weird red moon replaces the actual moon in the sky, also scooping up a bunch of people along the way Emma winds up being one of those people and Reid throws together a mad gambit to go up there and rescue her and bring her back Looking back, I m not quite certain where the book went off the rails The red moon, for whatever reason, contains a wide variety of hominid species all living together and while this should be the central mystery, Baxter goes absolutely nowhere with it for a long, long time He sets up the whole weird society well enough, and integrates the people who have been picked up in previous trips, but the plot just sort of shambles along Emma wanders around with other survivors Reid attempts to get up there Various other peoples with one word names and simple narrative style jump in just to spice things up without really adding anything to the overall story Once in a while someone decides to sit up and ask, Just what the heck is this here moon for On some level a lot of it feels like Baxter just killing time and the book is so stretched out that when the Big Ideas start to come, you run the risk of just not caring any Page upon page deal with people just wandering around, or beating each other up, or foraging for food, or engaging in acts that I really can t describe here, to no real purpose, it seems Subplots feel tacked on and Baxter fumbles his money shot with the ending, which is generally the place where he dazzles us with his knowledge of science and his interpretation of whatever wild theory he s been reading up on In the first two books, his grand visions made up for any shortcoming in plot This time out, it falls flat and the grand speculations and revelations just don t seem to have any impact, it s all stated so matter of factly and sort of repeats something that happened in another book that it s like reading people discussing a scientific paper, which is the opposite effect the previous books had on me In his defense, after going with time and space, it s probably hard to figure out something to top that, so I do give him credit for trying And in the end he gives it the ol college try, it s never less than readable and although I doubt it ll ever be anywhere remotely near my favorite book it was a pleasant reading experience, if a bit overlong So you can decide if the author was simply biting off than he could chew or just executing it poorly And although your milage may vary, if you ve read the other two Manifold books it s worth a shot at least, you might as well finish it and besides, you might like it than I did Anything s possible. The third in the series, this ones sees Reid Malenfant and Emma Stoney come across a blue circle floating above Africa But this time it s Emma who ends up falling through it and having most of the adventure, although Malenfant is determined to find her Emma arrives on a the surface of a new moon, one that has suddenly appeared above the Earth And living on the Earth are all sorts of hominids that humans have evolved from or could have evolved into The book takes some of the best ideas from several other Baxter books We have a similarly time spliced world like in Time s Eye but all the inhabitants come from parallel version of the Earth, quite a lot like The Long Earth The book is essentially about the idea of why we are like we are and explores many different possibilities to what humans could be like if they lived on an alternate world Generally I liked the ideas for this and liked that even apparently superior species of human have flaws There is a big problem with this book though which really lets it down and definitely lost it a star from my review Baxter really tries hard to demonstrate the primitive nature of the early humans and does so by using lots of graphic sex and violence Whilst I felt it did have some place in the story too often there were unnecessary graphic scenes which did not affect our characters and there didn t seem much good reason for them Never have I read a book with so many erections in as this one There really is an awful lot of erections.The ideas here were at least as good as the previous two in the series and the characterisation was better than ever If only Baxter had decided not to fill the pages with cavemen erections because nobody really wants to read that.
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
- 448 pages
- Manifold: Origin
- Stephen Baxter
- 17 October 2019 Stephen Baxter