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Sunstorm (Time Odyssey) Mass Market Paperback – February 28, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
"Sunstorm" is a sequel to "Time's Eye" in the sense that one of the main characters from the former novel, Bisesa Dutt, is also one of the main chracters in the new novel. It also has something to do with the Firstborn. But there the sequelity ends. In this respect the dust jacket blurb was astonishingly misleading. It reads in part, "Why did the Fristborn create Mir? Why was Bisesa taken there and then brought back on the day after her original disappearance? Bisesa's questions receive a chilling answer..." Not! None of these questions was addressed, nor was anything else from the first novel including the fate of Mir and those left there, the purpose of the "eyes", the motives behind the actions of the Firstborn etc.
As a short (~330 pages) hard SF novel by two greats, "Sunstorm" was just OK. But as a sequel that very clearly promised to answer all those intriguing mysteries set up in the first novel it fails badly. The (already shown to be inaccurate) dust jacket says that "Clarke and Baxter draw their epic to a triumphant conclusion...", further suggesting that this is the end, but the book's subtitle "A Time Odyssey:2" sugests that maybe there is more to come. If there is, it almost has to be better than this one.
I'll attempt to do so with minimal/no spoilers.
First, there's the obvious: Bisesa is nearly non-existant. While this itself is acceptable, her minimal presence is, at best, distracting; at worst: disappointing. Where is the headstrong lady from the first book? Where is the go-getter? Heck, where is the presence of mind to weep for your lost love, grab your daughter, and do something. Instead....
Second, there's the more obvious: the book, unlike it's predecessor, piles on the science at the cost of the fiction. While this is fantastic in the sense of addressing a major (for sci-fi) shortcoming of the first book, it cost it's enjoyability. Within the first few pages, we (the readers) are aware of the situation and 'the cause'. We don't need 200+ more pages describing it, and the solution. Along those lines, at the cost of the (occassionally nauseating while pleasantly liberating) PC vestiges of the book: "increase the humanity". Make me, the reader, *care* for Siobhan. Or Bud. Or Eugene. Anybody.
Well, I take that back: Athena was a *worthy* addition. I empathized with her. I would have like to have more time spent on her. Of course, 'her' portion was itself limited. To the degree that became, itself discouraging, but, at the least, in line with the rest of the novel.
Finally, the resolution was... anything but. Minimal details on the First Born emerged, and the post-storm section was glossed over.
Hopefully, being the optimist, Clarke and Baxter will revisit the world a third time. Hopefully, if so, it will be the charm.
There is only one character in "Sunstorm" who comes from "Time's Eye." But the lack of characters from "Time's Eye" was only part of the problem. In "Time's Eye" there is plenty of action when people of differing eras meet. The images and ideas of time travel are craftily written by Clarke and Baxter.
In "Sunstorm" I struggled to read the first few chapters because the pace of the story drags. It lacks the energy and excitement of the first book. Certainly the catastrophe of the sun's demise is enough of a plot for one book. However, set as a sequel to a time travel novel, it fails.
I strongly recommend reading "Time's Eye" for fans of time travel science fiction. I recommend skipping the sequel "Sunstorm."
Where the story detracts from being an even better novel, is the weak continuation of the alien watchers thread. This novel could have been written without reference to the Firstborn, Bisesa Dutt could have been eliminated from the story, and nothing of significance would have been lost. I suspect marketing played a role here, and of course the ending is a set up for a potential third novel.
As another reviewer noted, the science is layed on with a shovel and is very much in-your-face. Clarke used to do this so much more elegantly, a little more thought would have improved the flow.
Finally, the references to Clarke, his ideas and his works is either charming or irritating, depending on your love of his books. I think it was an overdone paean to him. Some elements were just not needed, such as the the space elevator, and some dialog lifted directly from HAL 9000 was just too cute.
Having said that, this collaboration seemed to work better for me, and I found the book quite engrossing, reading it in just two sittings. This is not the best work of either of these two authors, but it works well enough to be a very good read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting journey by the mind of the person who created 2001. This first book of the Firstborn Trilogy started a little strange (the authors laid seemingly unrelated... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Centurion53
I don't feel up to the challenge of being critical Clarke/Baxter. But I'd appeal to greater minds if a novel was stretched into a trilogy?Published 14 months ago by bib
I bought a series of books for my husband. He has read and reread all of them. He loves Arthur C. Clark.Published 15 months ago by Linda I. Toepfer
If you like the work of these two authors you will love this bookPublished 20 months ago by Jeremiah Bogan
What did you like best about Sunstorm? What did you like least?
I loved what I learned about the Sun and how scientists would work together to solve the impossible. Read more
This is my second time reading this book. I found it more interesting this time. Hard science fiction has always applied to because it is closer to non fiction which I prefer. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Joseph Grigaliunas