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Sunstorm (Time Odyssey) Mass Market Paperback – February 28, 2006

3.2 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Time Odyssey Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in the same universe as Clarke's 2001 and its sequels, Clarke and Baxter's second and final Time Odyssey book (after 2004's Time's Eye) will especially appeal to fans of hard SF who appreciate well-grounded science and humans with a can-do attitude to problem solving. In 2037, the same day the enigmatic alien Firstborn return Bisea Dutt, the heroine of Time's Eye, to her home in London, the city grinds to a halt as a sun storm sends a massive surge of energy to Earth, temporarily destroying the world's electronic infrastructure. This surge presages another, much larger sun storm, due to hit in 2042, which will utterly annihilate life across the globe. Against all odds, the nations of Earth come together to construct a huge space umbrella that will shield the planet from the worst of the barrage. The answer to why the sun's activity is being manipulated to wipe out life on Earth must wait, given the day-to-day difficulties and politics of the construction project. The five-year sweep of events, the plethora of characters and the cuts from Mars to Earth to the moon during the climactic sun storm give the story a movie montage feel, but the focus on the enormously challenging task at hand will keep readers turning the pages. Agent, Scovil, Chichak, Galen. (Mar. 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Two giants—Clarke, one of the greatest SF writers, and award-winning Evolution (2003) author Baxter—have collaborated on an insidious vision of the future that’s sure to thrill fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey and other SF classics. It may help to first read Time’s Eye, which provides the back story to the aliens’ cruel experiments and desire to wipe out Earth, but each book stands alone. Convincing characters, including a British astronomer and doomsday physicist, lead the collective countdown to destruction. The authors’ scientific details (why the Earth’s shield must be made of glass manufactured on the moon, for instance) complement the plot. But it’s the climax, although flawed, that’s sure to blow your mind.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Product Details

  • Series: Time Odyssey (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (February 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345452518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345452511
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #824,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Tepper VINE VOICE on April 24, 2005
Format: 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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"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."
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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.
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