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Comment: This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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The Light of Other Days Hardcover – April 16, 2000

3.5 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (April 16, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312871996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312871994
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
An entrepreneur in the spirit of the old guy in Jurassic Park proudly unleashes an invention that will have worldwide consequences. His "worm cam" allows the user to open a portal anywhere in the universe, at any time in the past. The invention and its effects on humanity are explored as they eventually unravel the secrets of the past, and alter the evolution of humans. Interspersed with this background is a human story involving a beautiful journalist, and the family of the entrepreneur including divorced wife, two sons, and their half-sister.

The Good and the Bad:

Clarke hits a home run with the science fiction end of it, and this is purely where the good rating comes from. The futuristic world seems believable, and the technology is put to use to answer a whole host of questions that we have fun asking-what really happened to Jesus? What is the track of human evolution? What would the response be to a sudden and total lack of privacy?

The human stories, however, are cartoonish and leave much to be desired. The entrepreneur is like the guy from Jurassic Park, and none of the characters achieve more depth than the characters of that movie. An attempt is made, but it is ultimately poorly done, as is a plot involving a kidnapping and a physical struggle in the climax.

What I learned:

The book is thought-provoking, and raises interesting hypothetical questions. What would it be like to strip away the lies we tell ourselves of our own past? Where in history and outer space would I travel? How much shame would I endure for my own past?
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Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Sir Arthur Clarke's science fiction for most of my life. I haven't read anything by Stephen Baxter before, but after this I will. They've produced a real winner here.
As they say in the afterword, the idea of a machine that can see into the past and through walls is an old one (I especially recommend "E for Effort," by T. L. Sherrard, if you can find an old copy of the ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION ANTHOLOGY). Clarke and Baxter managed to make it new and different.
The key to their achievement was to anchor it to a rigorously imagined physics. The "wormhole camera" turns out to have uses and implications that its inventors don't expect, and it leads off in many strange directions.
I don't want to give away surprises, but I started this book expecting to be able to predict everything that would happen, and I was repeatedly taken by surprise.
There are a few flaws in this novel (for instance, the POW camp scene, which apparently has no purpose whatsoever), but almost everything is topnotch. The characters are mostly believable, the future world is interesting, and the ending was a delight.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Science Fiction, from its earliest days, has been decried by its critics as immature, pulp fantasy. Often this has been a well-deserved comment, as all too much science fiction is neither good science nor good fiction. Take an intelligent twelve-year-old to the movies with you and you are likely to hear, "Well, the alien was cool, but space is a vacuum and you couldn't hear the explosion, and the fire wouldn't have burned like that cause there's no atmosphere to burn, and anyway, why weren't they all floating around, cause everyone knows there's no gravity in outer space!", or some such. But many modern day science fiction writers, following the lead of such giants as Arthur C. Clarke and Issac Asimov, now incorporate good science into their works--thus the term "hard science fiction." Stephen Baxter is one of the hardest of these hard sci-fi writers, and his co-authorship with Clarke of "The Light of Other Days" fulfills its potential as the book is rich with the consequences of a speculative technology. In this case, we have, not time-travel, but time-vision and omni-vision. With the development of the "WormCam", a videocamera that can see macroscopic images anywhere in the universe and anywhere in the past, humanity faces a crisis of self. Compounding the issue is the impending crash of a gigantic asteroid into the Earth, which seemingly cannot be averted and which will almost surely destroy all intelligent life. (That the asteroid is called the Wormwood, the camera is the WormCam, the place the camera was developed is the Wormworks, and the phenomenon on which the technology is based is the Wormhole is all a bit much, and leads to some confusion on the part of the inattentive reader. But that's another can of worms...Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Imagine you own a piece of technology that allows you to view any event, in the present or the past. This technology, and its effects on society are made real through "The Light of Other Days" by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. This book is set about fifty years from present, when the Earth is inundated with advanced technology but still retains the basic problems man has endured for all time - war, famine, water availability. A visionary company and researcher invents a WormCam - a device that opens a wormhole anywhere in the past or present. Through this wormhole anything can be viewed exactly as it happened (or is happening). At first this "time viewer" is used for news stories, voyeurism, spying, etc, but as the public gets hold of it, sweeping changes begin to occur in society. I have heard this book labeled as "hard SF" (hardcore science fiction) but I believe that even people mildly interested in science fiction would enjoy this book very much. What really captivated me was how the book started out fairly close to modern times, but then showed the rapid, awe-inspiring change in the human race as the wormhole technology finds new applications. Perhaps even bringing humanity to a kind of transcendence. As the FBI agent Michael Mavins of the book argues: "I have the feeling that wherever we're going, wherever the WormCam is taking us, it's somewhere much stranger." This process and the trials of the human race along the way make for an exciting and a thought-provoking read.
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