Manifold: Time Mass Market Paperback – November 28, 2000
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“Reading Manifold: Time is like sending your mind to the gym for a brisk workout. If you don’t feel both exhausted and exhilarated when you’re done, you haven't been working hard enough.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A staggering novel! If you ever thought you understood time, you’ll be quickly disillusioned when you read Manifold: Time.”—Sir Arthur C. Clarke
From the Inside Flap
- Publisher : Del Rey; Reprint edition (November 28, 2000)
- Language: : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 034543076X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0345430762
- Item Weight : 8.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #538,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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This is the direct opposite of all those books. In my life I have read hard scifi, weak fluff magitech scifi, fantasy, anything and everything in between. This might be the first book I have been unable to finish, purely because of how unbearable and annoying every single character is. Malefant is quite possibly the biggest, most unpleasant Mary Sue I have had the displeasure of encountering in a story. Governments? Hah! Common human decency? Gross! No, he's clearly the Christ like savior figure the story needs, so he will succeed at everything, every time and you can bet he's written in such a poor, stilted way that makes him intolerable. His ex wife Emma, the one character who contradicts him (with common sense frequently) is also your typical and ultimately sexist weak female character. She exists purely to voice (correct) moral objections, which will be inevitably brushed away by the Strong Male Lead (TM), after which she does nothing but nod her head and go along with him anyway.
I stopped reading shortly after it was found in the plot that certain children who have been gifted higher intelligence by temporal hijinks are being held in concentration camp style conditions, and when Emma dared to raise the objection that this might be wrong, she was told off for daring to think so and stand in the way of Strong Male Lead's progress. The final straw was her discovery that Malefant literally gave the OK on the use of nerve gas on protestors, and then meekly deciding to keep going along with him.
tl;dr, this work does not fit with the standard of Baxter's Xeelee Sequence. It doesn't fit the basic standards of writing. Throw it in the trash, or buy another book instead.
I'll share with you my perspective:
- Mr Baxter's book is full of science. Lots of it. You will find interesting and complex concepts about the origin and destiny of the universe (or "universes", I shall say), the composition of matter, time traveling, and so forth.
- The characters are not deep. They might not be as "light" as in, by example, Asimov's works, but they are not fully developed.
- The book accelerates. Its beginning is slow but it then accelerates. Probably, you won't want to put it down.
- It seems to me that, when in doubt, Mr Baxter chose to sacrifice storyline and characters to put more emphasis on the scientific element. It's hard to balance all elements perfectly and I think he chose to put more weight on the science
- Mr Baxter share with Arthur C. Clarke an uncanny ability to portray beautiful cosmic events. This ability of his has not been leveraged to the maximum in Manifold:Time. I am not saying he does not do a good job in that regard. I only mean that this is not the key strength of the book
If you have already read other Baxter books, I don't think you'll have trouble with it. I am pretty sure you will like it. Just be aware of its emphasis on science.
On the other hand, if you have not read sci-fi before, I would not recommend you this book. Perhaps you should start with something lighter.
Stephen Baxter treads a thin line between fluff and hard science fiction. This isn't because he hasn't read up on what he's talking about, but rather because his science fiction is just *so hard* that it seems at some points implausible. The science of it didn't really impress me, I read a lot of scientific text. The fact that he wrapped all those concepts up into one book, and then leapt off the cliff with them impressed me.
He has quite an imagination, and wields it impressively. The one thing you might not like about this book is his somewhat peculiar plot trajectory. He sort of starts off slow (the aforementioned "bait and switch"), and then more or less gives the book away right about in the middle, and then it lulls down to this seeming end in futility. At that point it's almost like he starts a new book and begins talking about new ideas, to end in a somewhat ... awkward ending.
This isn't to say that the book leaves you feeling cheated or anything. What I got most out of this book was a deep appreciation for how much work he put in to it. It really was a fulfilling book.
Top reviews from other countries
Insgesamt ein für Baxter-Fans lesenswertes Buch, mit Konzepten die dem ein oder anderen inhaltlich und wissenschaftlich zu nahe am Absurden angesiedelt sein mögen.
I could not reach the half of the book... I can accept an odd scenario, but to have many of them in the same plot is ridicolous.
Like if the author would need to create improbabilities over improbabilities to overcome the novel cul-de-sac.