- 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)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Light of Other Days Hardcover – April 16, 2000
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
The crowning achievement of any professional writer is to get paid twice for the same material: write a piece for one publisher and then tweak it just enough that you can turn around and sell it to someone else. While it's specious to accuse Stephen Baxter and Arthur C. Clarke of this, fans of both authors will definitely notice some striking similarities between Light of Other Days and other recent works by the two, specifically Baxter's Manifold: Time and Clarke's The Trigger.
The Light of Other Days follows a soulless tech billionaire (sort of an older, more crotchety Bill Gates), a soulful muckraking journalist, and the billionaire's two (separated since birth) sons. It's 2035, and all four hold ringside seats at the birth of a new paradigm-destroying technology, a system of "WormCams," harnessing the power of wormholes to see absolutely anyone or anything, anywhere, at any distance (even light years away). As if that weren't enough, the sons eventually figure out how to exploit a time-dilation effect, allowing them to use the holes to peer back in time.
For Baxter's part, the Light of Other Days develops another aspect of Manifold's notion that humanity might have to master the flow of time itself to avert a comparatively mundane disaster (yet another yawn-inducing big rock threatening to hit the earth); Clarke, just as he did with Trigger's anti-gun ray, speculates on how a revolutionary technology can change the world forever. --Paul Hughes
From Publishers Weekly
HTwo titans of hard SF--multiple award-winning British authors Clarke (Rendezvous with Rama, etc.) and Baxter (The Time Ships, etc.)--team up for a story of grand scientific and philosophical scope. Ruthless Hiram Patterson, the self-styled "Bill Gates of the twenty-first century," brings about a communication revolution by using quantum wormholes to link distant points around Earth. Not content with his monopoly on the telecommunications industry, Patterson convinces his estranged son, David, a brilliant young physicist, to work for him. While humanity absorbs the depressing news that an enormous asteroid will hit Earth in 500 years, David develops the WormCam, which allows remote viewers to spy on anyone, anytime. The government steps in to direct WormCam use--but before long, privacy becomes a distant memory. Then David and his half-brother, Bobby, discover a way to use the WormCam to view the past, and the search for truth leads to disillusionment as well as knowledge. Only by growing beyond the mores of the present can humanity hope to survive and to deal with the threats of the future, including that asteroid. The exciting extrapolation flows with only a few missteps, and the large-scale implications addressed are impressive indeed. For both authors the novel's conclusion takes place in familiar thematic territory, offering a final, hopeful transcendence for humanity. With Clarke's and Baxter's names behind its potent story, this one could sell big--and to the movies as well as to the reading public. $250,000 ad/promo. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
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?
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm am ACC fan and read Sunstorm. I like this duo. But of the two, this reminded me more of his first sci fi novel Childhood's End in the way it evolves, and also 3001 in the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mary L. Nichols
I don't know if Baxter of Clarke did most of the writing here, but it seems like classic Clarke. Good ideas, laid out fairly well, but with a cast of characters totally devoid of... Read morePublished 7 months ago by David Hill
The character stories were the least interesting part. Read this if you like speculative history and cool technology.Published 7 months ago by Lucas K Prater
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. My genetics professor mentioned it in class and I wrote it down, eventually buying a hard copy as a gift for my roommate who loves sci-fi as much as... Read morePublished 11 months ago by JDubs
Probably one of the most thought provoking books out there. If you think Fahrenheit 451 was good this is better. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Alejandro Customer Loya
I have always liked reading science fiction and I had not done it for years. This was an enjoyable come back for me.Published 15 months ago by Rick Ferro
I had a harder time keeping interest in this book and actually have chosen to not finish it....the use of the invented tool used to peek back at historical events to see if they... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Chuck H. Weir
I found this book to be neither good science nor good fiction. A few science facts, wild eyed speculation, and tired plot elements were mixed in a sort of random mash of loosely... Read morePublished 16 months ago by bob coyle
This is one of the best books ever written and THE best science fiction book I have ever read. Not a day goes by when I wish we could make what Clarke surmised reality. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Donald Lewy