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Ark Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 4, 2010

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, May 4, 2010
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Roc Hardcover (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451463315
  • ASIN: B0043RT9H6
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,527,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Baxter's riveting follow-up to bestseller Flood tempers the hope of humanity coming together in the face of a crisis with an often brutal undercurrent of realism, resulting in a sequel that surpasses the original in almost every way. Set during the later years of the earth-destroying flood, the book follows Holle Groundwater and her friends as they go from being six-year-old students of an experimental space academy to a years-long trip through the cosmos in search of Earth 2. The best-laid plans are often, and unexpectedly, disrupted at almost every stage; the ship must deal with stowaways, unqualified applicants, infighting, and even mutiny. Characteristic of Baxter's writing, the novel can be depressing at times but still serves as a study of humanity's ability to adapt and make painful decisions for the greater good. With an almost completely new cast, readers old and new will be engaged by the strength and scope of Baxter's vision, and the all-too-human characters he creates.
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"Never has Baxter presented a more thrilling and moving glimpse of a possible future: Ark could well be his masterpiece." -- Eric Brown THE GUARDIAN "A seam of realism runs through the novel, making it more compelling than most shiny, happy dreams of space travel. Even when the equations and technology work, there is no escaping the human factor that fouls up the best-laid plans. This is a grim but exciting tale of the ultimate in pioneering adventure, in the most unforgiving environment of all." -- Lisa Tuttle THE TIMES "An excellently executed novel that dealt in everything from the mundane daily tasks of the crew as they seek out another world brought together with almost impeccable execution. Add to the mix emotional conflict, political infighting and it's a novel that could well be his best work to date." FALCATTA TIMES "[He] writes brilliantly about what it might be like to experience space travel. This capacity for mixing awe-inspiring vistas with gnarly day-to-day details hasn't diminished." -- Jonathan Wright SFX "... all too convincing as he imagines the terrible dangers and tensions of such a journey. He shows us that, while it may be easy to preserve Mother Earth as a benign home, it's a simple task compared to colonising new worlds." -- Jonathan Wright BBC FOCUS "Baxter is the natural heir to the hard sci-fi crown of Arthur C Clarke and he shares Clarke's generous imagination and ability to extrapolate a plausible future technology from the cutting-edge theories of today. Imaginative appeal is what counts with Baxter and in that he delivers reliably." -- Peter Ingham THE DAILY TELEGRAPH "Beyond the science and technicalities - which are wonderful, informative, and completely believable - Ark is a story about characters. I loved the writing, the blend of physics, hard science fiction, and compelling plot lines. I loved the emotional turmoil, the self-destructive nature of humanity, and the messiness of survival. Simply put: I loved this book." THE BOOK SMUGGLERS "A page turning disaster sequel that shows us a fascinating, terrifying and ultimately hopeful view of humanity's chances in the face of terrific adversity." SCI FI NOW "Science fiction told very realistically, through the characters and the science. Perhaps Ark lacks the sheer sense of wonder of some of Baxter's previous galaxy-spanning fiction, but this is recession fantasy, with no impoverishment of the imagination. " TOTAL SCIFI --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Stephen Baxter knows how to write a good science fiction story.
S. Crouch
The narration is choppy, often jumping years and changing characters with very little reason.
J. Connelly
The characters were well developed and the story moved along pretty well.
Hard Sci-Fi Guy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Brian K. Ralli on November 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this novel having read most of Baxter's other works including "Flood". As other reviewers have mentioned, you just have to except the plot device that we could actually develop a faster-than-light starship within the next generation. Much like "Flood", this is a very dark story following people living out their entire lives in the most dismal of situations. Like his novel, "Titan", Baxter portrays space travel as a very miserable and uncertain endeavor. It's not a complete downer, however, with an overriding theme that human ingenuity can conquer all, albeit a little implausibly sometimes. The novel leaves open room for at least 3 sequels following the continuing stories left open in this universe.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Marinelli on January 14, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let me enter into ARK by noting some minor difficulties that Baxter is not able to overcome. The sheer number of characters involved threatens to leave them undifferentiated. Some of the dialogue from Gordo, the old NASA right stuff archetype, and from President Vasquez might be interchangeable, for instance, and Vasquez herself is a model for most of the old women who surface and disappear in this ongoing catastrophe, but this novel is one of those rare works of science fiction that transcends genre, nearly the equal of more traditional literary forms, and it took my breath away from sheer relief to find someone who is a master of his science, with plausible if unlikely scenarios to dog our heels as we travel onward into this century.

Liu Zheng's sacrifice as the aeronautics engineer who left an entire life behind in China for the sake of his belief in a spaceship sanctuary, brought the magnitude of the flood crisis home to me with particular force, but the entire novel is grounded in a disaster that could happen, and Baxter rightly spares us little about the price tag for our own lack of humility and gratitude for this stable terra firma planet.

I also find ARK a telling political allegory about the end of American Exceptionalism, and the mythology deployed to sustain it for so long, and the hidden ugliness beneath our so-called civil convictions. This is without a doubt a masterwork, one which I hope to continue to enjoy as I buy up the prequel FLOOD, and Baxter's other spin offs in the franchise.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By J. Åstrøm on October 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
Having read several other Baxter books, I found this now two-book SF series to be quite refreshing considering how other series he's either fully authored or co-authored. What I do like about the future Baxter paints in both Flood and Ark is that technological advancement seems to freeze in a not too far future, making this personally for me very believable. Although some of the technology presented later on (such as the collection of anti-matter, creation of the warp bubble and superluminal interstellar flight) may seem a little far-fetched - yet! - the author uses much of older and recent scientific research and discussion as background for his book. In other words, he has blended imagination and science in a very successful way.

Unlike another customer review here, I actually do think you should read the previous book, Flood, to understand Ark. Flood sets the desperate, gruesome and gloomy mood of the everflooding Earth and an apparent dying humanity. Ark represents the faint hope that is presented at the very end of the first book. I feel the stories are inextricably intertwined and equally important to understand the series.

The only reason why I don't give this book 5 stars is that I found it too short (!) and that it was a tiny bit less exciting than Flood.

But if you like a believable story about exploration of exo-planets, a play on how we might escape the solar system with a semi-current level of technology well mixed with a good human drama - Ark is for you.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. Baxter VINE VOICE on May 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I just read and reviewed Flood awhile back so when the hardcover of Ark arrived I picked it up and dove in. I was already familiar with the flooding earth presented in the previous book and ready for the anticipated trip to the stars. When the book opens the earth is still in the process of becoming inundated. A few characters from the previous book allow the reader some continuity but many new characters soon become the focus as they train and compete to become the crew of the Ark, to be sent away from Earth on a multigenerational journey to a new planet. This beginning portion of the book reminded me of Ender's Game as we see those known as the Candidates through the training and selection process. As the years pass and the waters rise the designers of the Ark struggle to overcome the engineering problems associated with such a long mission spanning decades and light years. Here Baxter's use of modern technologies and some perhaps which are just on the horizon shines. The crew of the Ark faces many years together trapped inside the narrow confines of their spacecraft. The human drama that unfolds is certainly hard to look away from as children are born, accidents happen, tough decisions are made, and psychological pressures mount. As the best Sci-fi does, the human condition is explored under the microscope afforded by the years spent in close confinement. As I read this book, I felt more connection to the characters than I did in Flood. The use of modern science in planet finding and such I also found pretty interesting. Overall I enjoyed this book a bit more than Flood. I cared more about what happened to these characters and felt like there was some hope for their survival.

I am docking the book a star due to the overly explicit depiction of pedophilia.
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