Customer Reviews


65 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (19)
3 star:
 (14)
2 star:
 (15)
1 star:
 (9)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A better collaboration
Unlike the the other reviewers to date, I preferred this novel over their last collaboration (Time's Eye). The core of the plot is solid, hard SF, requiring science and engineering to meet the threat. The threat is plausible, I think novel, and the solutions interesting. Yes, the characters are sketched, much more in the style of early SF, particularly Clarke; I prefer...
Published on April 27, 2005 by Alex Tolley

versus
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sunburned
This is my week for sunny sequels that weren't (very good or much like real sequels). First Greg Benford's, "Sunborn" and now Clarke and Baxter's "Sunstorm". Both follow-ups to excellent novels ("The Martian Race" and "Time's Eye", respectively) by top-notch SF authors, both terribly disappointing.

"Sunstorm" is a sequel to "Time's Eye" in the sense that one...
Published on April 24, 2005 by James Tepper


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sunburned, April 24, 2005
By 
This review is from: Sunstorm (A Time Odyssey, Book 2) (Hardcover)
This is my week for sunny sequels that weren't (very good or much like real sequels). First Greg Benford's, "Sunborn" and now Clarke and Baxter's "Sunstorm". Both follow-ups to excellent novels ("The Martian Race" and "Time's Eye", respectively) by top-notch SF authors, both terribly disappointing.

"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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A letdown, 1.5 '*', graded on a curve...., April 13, 2005
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sunstorm (A Time Odyssey, Book 2) (Hardcover)
After the exhilirating joyride which was 'Time's Eye', I can't help but state how disenchanted, disappointed, and saddened I was by the near-tripe that is Sunstorm.

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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A better collaboration, April 27, 2005
By 
Alex Tolley (Los Gatos, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sunstorm (A Time Odyssey, Book 2) (Hardcover)
Unlike the the other reviewers to date, I preferred this novel over their last collaboration (Time's Eye). The core of the plot is solid, hard SF, requiring science and engineering to meet the threat. The threat is plausible, I think novel, and the solutions interesting. Yes, the characters are sketched, much more in the style of early SF, particularly Clarke; I prefer them that way.

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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DOES NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS LEFT FROM "TIME'S EYE", September 17, 2007
By 
Possum-Bread (Monrovia, California) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sunstorm (A Time Odyssey, Book 2) (Hardcover)
"Sunstorm by by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter is the sequel to their successful collaboration on "Time's Eye." I thoroughly enjoyed "Time's Eye." When I began reading "Sunstorm" I expected a seemless transition from one book to the other. I was sadly disappointed.

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."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Please..., April 7, 2005
This review is from: Sunstorm (A Time Odyssey, Book 2) (Hardcover)
I've read this idea before, nearly 3 years ago. It's called Decipher by Stel Pavlou. Clarke and Baxter write a significantly shorter book, but stylistically it's even identical in places, peering inside the sun to watch what's it's doing, and following how it works, while a shield is erected on earth. What exasperates me is Clarke and Baxter are getting praised for the idea, and Pavlou got criticized when he was first.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool Core Ideas, September 10, 2008
Obviously you have to read "Time's Eye" first.

This book, as with most Clarke books, has some future tech that is more than a bit intriguing. That we can probably produce aluminum on the moon was a surprise to me. I love the idea of building a space sling from that material there.

Also, reading it gave me the spark of an idea to look into generating power from vacuum.

shannon norrell
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak for Clarke & Baxter, but still readable, September 27, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Sunstorm (Gollancz) (Paperback)
I had noticed the relatively low rating this book had received, but still, couldn't resist the temptation of reading another book from these two great authors.

That being said, I must acknowledge that, it is true. This is a so-so book for Clarke and Baxter. Why?

- The characters are relatively weak. Some of their interactions, attitudes and comments are just not believable (almost as weak as pocket novels like the Da Vinci Code).

- Even though the scientifical concepts behind this book might be correct (I'm not an expert to judge), I can not but think that there were more practical ways for the Firstborn to achieve their main objective. Trying not to spoil it, I ask "why intervene in the Sun and not on Earth"? It would have been more efficient and taken less time. Of course, then we would have no book..... :)

- This book is advertised as heavily related to "Time's Eye". Not true. Besides the (unfortunately) not well known Firstborn, and the relatively obnoxious Bisesa, there is no relation between both books.

- It seems to me that this book is almost a waste. Clarke and Baxter could have written a much better sequel to Time's Eye. And, if on the other hand, they wanted to explore the concepts behind Sunstorm, they could have done a better job writing about it in an independent (no "Time Odyssey") work.

But not all is bad. On the positive side:

- As in any work from these masters, the description of the many events that happen is truly vivid and remarkable. Your mind really wanders off imagining "what would it be like". It's always refreshing to visualize these situations with the help of Clarke and Baxter.

- The book is not terrible. It's nicely written and you end up trying to read it as fast as you can to see which mysteries are solved, which not, and what happens.

In short, if you are already a fan of Clarke and/or Baxter, feel free to read this book. It's not their best but it's ok.

If you don't consider yourself in the "fan" category, I advise you to go and read any of their truly amazing pieces (in the case of Clarke, I suggest the Rama series or the Odyssey series - both are just great).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More Coherent Than Its Predecessor, March 19, 2006
As a stand alone story, "Sunstorm" was interesting. Racing to save the Earth from sure destruction is not a new theme by any means, but the method of the Earth's predicted demise is a little different in this book, opening up some concepts with which I had not been familiar. Also interesting in this book are the ways the characters interact in their attempt to save the planet: the geniuses, the politicians, the scientists, the engineers-the characters were well developed, cooperating with each other-or not-believably, as I think people in the real world would behave.

The transition from "Time's Eye" felt forced, though, like a device to keep some commonality within the series by moving a single character from one book into the other. This device gives "Sunstorm" a point of focus, but does almost nothing to marry it to the chaos going on in the first book. The overall story from "Time's Eye" to "Sunstorm" is so very much larger than Clarke and Baxter have written it. "Time's Eye" was short on scale and detail, and "Sunstorm" suffers equally. Events in "Sunstorm" feel compressed. Humanity is fighting to head off a world-wide catastrophe, but all we get of detail are the efforts of a single city-London. Struggles going on elsewhere in the world would have added pages to the book, sure, but would also have given the story productive depth.

"Sunstorm" is a worthwhile read, but could have been a "must" read with just a little bit more work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard to imagine how it could be worse, September 19, 2005
By 
This review is from: Sunstorm (A Time Odyssey, Book 2) (Hardcover)
You know immediately that this is going to be a downer. First is the plot: Sun sends forth big flare, Earthlings somehow have prior warning, prepare for worst. Secondly, the size of the novel: Thin with LARGE font. Third, the first chapter is only a little over a page long.

There is almost nothing to recommend this book. Characters are emminently bland and forgettable, dialogue is the stuff only spoken in novels, 2037 seems like a thousand - not 32 - years away. The politics is so amateurish..."The Eurasion bloc" which oddly does not include any Asians except Russia (the authors get mixed up and say "European" bloc at times), American and China who is "sending up spacecraft to unknown places". Lots of stupid babbling about "Muslim, Christian & Jewish" literalists uniting against everyone those who want world peace. Right, Shia works closely with Southern Baptist and Orthodox Jew. Yeah, right.

Then there's the premise: Aliens want to snuff out intelligent life so instead of coming here and blasting the planet apart they embark on a 2,000 year long project to sling a large planet from one star into our sun so that they can fly to Jupiter and watch the show. In the process they create Christmas - absurdly hokey tale about a "bright star", magi, and a "child laying in the hay in Bethlehem.

Earth wins (of course) with the help of our nice computer pals Athena and Aristotle (I kid you not). And all those Chinese spaceships boil down to one (1) vessel found on Mars with young dead colonists. Earth is almost destroyed but no one seems the least bit upset..."Are cell phones working?" seems a primary concern. It's like the authors had too many one night at the bar and kept thinking up the most hackneyed plots possible. Actually, it is worst than all this because the rest of it was so boring it would almost be a crime to rehash it. Avoid like the plague.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Switch-a-roo, July 28, 2012
Not a bad hard sci-fi read. But, not what I was expecting and wanting for a sequel. Time's Eye was a fun, fast read that left us wanting more. Instead, we get a whole new set of characters in a side story to the first. We learn almost nothing new of the Firstborn except from where they are from. All the while, we are forced to read through endless pages showing that the author knows a lot about science and his philosophical views on humanity. Not horrible, but I wouldn't have chosen to read this if it was pitched as a stand alone novel, which it is very close to being.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Sunstorm (A Time Odyssey, Book 2)
Sunstorm (A Time Odyssey, Book 2) by Arthur C. Clarke (Hardcover - March 29, 2005)
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.