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Ring (The Xeelee Sequence) Mass Market Paperback – April 25, 1996

58 customer reviews
Book 4 of 6 in the Xeelee Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen Baxter is an acclaimed, multiple-award-winning author whose many books include the Xeelee Sequence series, the Time Odyssey trilogy (written with Arthur C. Clarke), and The Time Ships, a sequel to H. G. Wells's classic The Time Machine. He lives in England.


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Product Details

  • Series: The Xeelee Sequence (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; Reissue edition (April 25, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061056944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061056949
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Thomas O. Gray on November 17, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hard SF the way it can and should be written. Baxter creates well-drawn and interesting characters and sets them loose on an adventure of truly mind-boggling scale. I haven't read any of his stuff before, but that's gonna change, now! "Ring" reminds me most of Kim Stanley Robinson's "Red Mars," which won a well-deserved Hugo Award. It's positively bursting with well-thought-out and captivating speculation and extrapolation, and most of the time I was reading, I just kept shaking my head in amazement at the scope of the ideas. You may learn more about stellar physics or superstring theory than you'd like to, but hey, that's hard SF, and Baxter does a good job of keeping the science understandable. "Ring" occasionally drags a bit, but not for long, and I guarantee it will expand your mental horizons.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Some Guy on January 24, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
is not Frodo, not even Sauron, but... the Xeelee?

I must admit that this books is more "The Silmarillion" than the LOTR trilogy: a lot of plain and descriptive narrative and lecutures-disguised-as-dialogue, not much engaging drama and action. Very tasty, in a super crunchy and chewy way, if you are into that stuff (like me); if not, well... But then again, I ask myself: for a book with a plot on such a scale, is any human drama viable? To give just one example: two factions are fighting a war in the universe. One of them hurls projectiles at the other as weapons of war. Their projectile of choice? Galaxies.

Yeah, it's THAT kind of big.

On such a scale, I think nobody, not Tolkien, not Shakespear, not even Homer can possibly write an effective human drama. We are simply too puny and utterly irrelevant. Everything that constitutes "normal" human drama -- ambition, betrayal, religion, politics, sex, power, romance, murder, conspriacy, utopia and dystopia, even life and death -- appears so insignificant that they are almost preposterous.

"Ring" may not be the finest science fiction, but it surely is scientific speculation on the grandest possible scale. There is just nothing else like it. Its "flaws," I believe, are unavoidable simply because our literature has not evolved beyond a time when 70 years is a pretty long life, and a transcontinental plane flight counts as distant travel. If and when, one day, our descendants can actually hop along the faultlines of spacetime at a pace of thousands of years and/or light-years a second, we may have an effective literature for this stuff. For now, Ring is as good as it gets.

P.S.: My admiration for this book notwithstanding, I'm still not sure why the photino birds want to turn out the lights; and just exactly what's up with Michael Poole? Strings and loose ends just shouldn't go together, you know? =)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Daniel McCollum on December 11, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Science Fiction has fallen into a woeful state in recent years. A quick glance at the local bookstore will see the shelves chuck full of unimaginative fantasy noveles and long sections of Star Trek, Star Wars, BattleTech books. I have begun to stray away from this side of the bookstore, simply because I have begun to find is depressing.
And yet, all hope is not lost! Upon a recent trip to the store I found a novel by Stephen Baxter entitled "The Ring". I had heard good things mentioned about him in the past and figured I might as well check the author out.
I bought the book and, several days alter, was finaly able to peel myself away from it. "Ring" is hard-science fiction at its best, tons of theoretical science mixed with characters who we can truly care about as well as descriptive language which still makes the hair on the back of my arm stand up. Baxter's description of the dying solar system still haunts me when I think about it.
Buy this book! At the very least its better than "Star Trek: The Mystery of Kirk's Hair".
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Greg on August 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found 'Ring' to be a highly enjoyable and well written work of SF. The thing that impresses me the most about Baxter is the attention and care he pays to scientific accuracy and detail. His descriptions of the physics, astrophysics and cosmology involved are highly detailed and whilst not for the faint-hearted , make his novels much more believable and convincing than other works of SF. As SF authors who write about space go, he is in my opinion, the best one since Clarke. Whilst 'Ring' is depressing in some places, his portrayal of the struggle of the pathetic remnants of humanity on the Northerner to come to terms with the destruction of the solar system, the death of the sun and the inescapable conclusion that they cannot remain in this universe is beautifully done. The scope of the novel in terms of time and space are mind boggling but at times the plot stagnates and pays perhaps too much detail to the development of the shallow characters. Another flaw is that the novel in general is somewhat far fetched, at least compared to his other novels (i.e. the Photino Birds and what they do to the stars) but the general ideas are as chilling as they are plausible. Although bleak, depressing and uncompromising at times, 'Ring' offers a dark vision of what humankind's stupidity and arrogance can lead to, but at the same time offers a hope as to what tremendous possibilites and wonders await our species if we accept our vulnerability and take the bold steps into the blackness and find out what the cosmos has to offer, for better or for worse.
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