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The Time Ships Mass Market Paperback – November 27, 1995

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Editorial Reviews Review

What if the time machine from H.G. Wells' classic novel of the same name had fallen into government hands? That's the question that led Stephen Baxter to create this modern-day sequel, which combines a basic Wellsian premise with a Baxteresque universe-spanning epic. The Time Traveller, driven by his failure to save Weena from the Morlocks, sets off again for the future. But this time the future has changed, altered by the very tale of the Traveller's previous journey.


"A major new talent!" -- -- Arthur C. Clarke

"A stunning talent!"

-- -- Locus

"A major new talent!" -- Arthur C. Clarke

"A stunning talent!" -- Locus

"Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert Hcinlein succeeded...and now Stephen Baxter joins their exclusive ranks, writing science fiction in which the science is right. A sheer pleasure to read!" -- New Scientist


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; Reprint edition (November 27, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061056480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061056482
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.4 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,893 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first time I have ever read Stephen Baxter, and already I am anxious for more of his work. This book was probably one of--if not the--most imaginative sci-fi novels I have ever read. It starts out with the Time Traveller, determined to save Weena--the Eloi girl he left behind in the far future--taking another fateful trip into the future. But instead of a repeat of the original Wells book, but with a save-the-damsel-in-distress storyline, it turned into an epic journey through alternate histories and future worlds that are just astonishing as you read the book.
It takes you to visions of alternate futures, as well as pasts, such as a sphere around the sun, a war-torn Earth of 1939, the Paleocene era of fifty-million years ago, an alternate reality with machines as the heirs of man, and finally to the most fantastic vision of an infinite universe created and ruled over by the true power of the human Mind. The book closes with the Traveller being returned to his own reality so that he is able to go and save Weena in the far-off age of 800,000 years hence(I wont give away the ending).
Throughout the book, Stephen Baxter gives you insights into the world of Quantum Physics, an aspect that brings the book to have a more real-world feel than some bizarre odyssey. Stephen Baxter is a true visionary. Someone who is able to see the current trends of science and incorporate them into a masterfully executed story. This book, in my opinion, is among the greatest sci-fi masterpieces of all time. The story never gets too technical, but never reaches down to the level of a child-like fantasy story. It is a story not only about time travel, but about the nature of mankind itself.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jan Heaberlin on January 12, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Only recently did I learn of Stephen Baxter's authorized sequel to Wells' "The Time Machine", one of my favorite books. This is without a doubt the best sci-fi story I have ever read. Baxter's beginning blends beautifully with the ending of Wells' story and explains why the Time Traveller never returned to his home in 1897.
Baxter's creativity brings a sense of wonder to the reader that is pure joy and adventure. (While reading it, I even listened to the sound track from the original "Time Machine" movie and the Russell Garcia score just made the entire experience even better). The story's ending was very emotional and showed that, for all the Time Traveller had seen and experienced - from the beginning of time to the end of the world - it was his human feelings toward another that mattered the most.
One last observation - It was my thinking that Baxter left the story open ended for another possible sequel involving the Time Traveller's adventures with the Morlocks. I can only hope that is true, for he has all the time in the world...
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Sir George Martini on April 30, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Be prepared to spend more than a few hours reading "The Time Ships", because you won't be able to put it down. Stephen Baxter writes in H.G Well's style that builds on the events found in the original book. The reader can effortlessly follow a seamless transition of the time traveler's adventure to save Weena from the Morlocks, with a few surprises.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kendal B. Hunter on August 4, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
To be sure, there is really no way to recreate a classic. If the original author did not write a sequel, then there just may not be one. In fact, some stories need no sequel (Napoleon Dynamite), or if a sequel is done, it is never up to snuff (Return to Oz, Ghostbusters II). Added to that is "The Time Machine"'s status as an ace of aces, not to mention the wonderful George Pal film version done in 1960. In sequalizing a classic, Baxter has everything going against him.

Despite all of this, I think he succeeds. Not just in imitating Wells's voice, but in all aspects.

To begin, this book has some prerequisites. To be sure, you need to read The Time Machine (Penguin Classics), and to track down the missing part to chapter 11--alluded to on p.103ff. You will also do well to track down The Chronic Argonauts, the early draft version of "The Time Machine." Watch the names Moses and Nebogipfel! Additionally, "The Time Ships" includes several Wellsian inside-jokes. These are references to several of his lesser-know works: "The World Set Free," (p. 157ff) "Things to Come," (both the book and the movie), and the quick nod to "War of Worlds" with the virus discussion (p. 284ff), and "The First Men in the Moon" with the selenites. I think some of the book's criticism comes from missing these subtle allusions.

(I recommend seeing the 1960's movie BEFORE reading this book, and seeing the 2002 version AFTER reading this book).

By including these easter eggs, Baxter's time travel story double-backs to its roots.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ian Watts on June 15, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a life-long fan of H.G. Wells, I must say that I avoided picking up Baxter's book for several years. I doubted that anyone could seriously improve upon the original novel. When I came across a relatively undamaged copy of "The Time Ships" in a used bookstore, though, I finally decided to give it a try. Needless to say, I became so engrossed in the story that I finished the five hundred plus page book in three days. Although Stephen Baxter appears to be a scientist by training, he is much better at seizing and maintaining the reader's attention than many authors I have recently read. While continuing the narrative voice of Wells' Victorian Time Traveller, Baxter radically expands the scope and depth of the original universe, incorporating many modern ideas about causality, parallel worlds, and quantum mechanics. The fact he does so without overwhelming the reader but instead inspiring a genuine sense of wonder and awe is an achievement in and of itself. Baxter also makes a number of allusions to Wells' other fiction, including the use of Plattnerite, land ironclads, and a vision of nuclear and conventional warfare between Britain and Germany in the first half of the twentieth century, all of which are amusing to those of us who recognize them as the story progresses. In the end Baxter doesn't so much surpass Wells as simply take the original tale to a whole new level, extending and reinterpreting it for a twenty-first century audience.
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