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World Engines

Destroyer
Length: 17 hrs and 21 mins
4 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Summary

In the year 2570, a sleeper will wake.... 

In the mid-21st century, the Kernel, a strange object on a 500-year-orbit, is detected coming from high above the plane of the solar system. Could it be an alien artefact? 

In the middle of climate-change crises, there is no mood for space-exploration stunts - but Reid Malenfant, elderly, once a shuttle pilot and frustrated would-be asteroid miner, decides to go take a look anyway. Nothing more is heard of him. But his ex-wife, Emma Stoney, sets up a trust fund to search for him the next time the Kernel returns.... 

By 2570 Earth is transformed. A mere billion people are supported by advanced technology on a world that is almost indistinguishable from the natural, with recovered forests, oceans, ice caps. It is not an age for expansion; there are only small science bases beyond the Earth. But this is a world you would want to live in: a Star Trek without the stars.  

After 500 years the Kernel returns, and a descendant of Stoney, who Malenfant will call Emma II, mounts a mission to see what became of Malenfant. She finds him still alive, cryo-preserved.... 

His culture-shock encounter with a conservative future is entertaining.... 

But the Kernel itself turns out to be attached to a kind of wormhole, through which Malenfant and Emma II, exploring further, plummet back in time, across five billion years.... 

©2019 Stephen Baxter (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Baxter continues to deliver the goods.

If you're familiar with Baxter, then you probably have an idea of what to expect. Relatively simple plot and characters, with a bigger focus on ideas and themes. Many of typical Baxter tropes show up, or are at least discussed: Future societies, realistic space travel, alternative universe, AI and so on. The story itself is a satisfying romp around the solar system, examining these themes on the way.

Both narrators are excellent, some of the accents are slightly dodgy, but certainly still entertaining. I'm not sure why there are two narrators though, they alternate seemingly at random for different chapters, despite us following the same characters for the entire book. Both narrate well though, so this didn't unduly bother me.

Strongly recommended to Baxter fans. Newcomers should be aware that this is the sort of book with long technical discussions and exposition dumps.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book

As a whole, I loved this book. However, there was a bit in the middle what made me feel like it was too similar to one of Stephen Baxter's previous books. But, in the end, the storey diverged and the plot took a different path. Persevere through it and you will be rewarded by an excellent first part of the storey. I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Sci-fi doing what it does best

Stephen Baxter paints an epic picture covering millennia from a sort of alternative world history to the origins of the solar system, and projects a range of possible futures for human kind. It makes you think about current global issues while keeping things in perspective speculating on huge universal issues.
I was not so impressed with the 'joke Brits'; a mixture of elements from H. G. Wells to Red Dwarf, world war two daring-do to Kipling's explorers and empire builders. These characters have an important role to play in the plot, and were far from convincing. I thought that the ending to the book was rushed, and had no real conclusion. This may be because there is a follow-up book in the offing: if so, I will have to consider carefully whether I want to listen to it or not.
I did enjoy the book: it was thought provoking and entertaining, doing what sci-fi does best.

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Just my cup of tea

Loved it loved the the protagonist the anti heros and the big thinking Sci fi but the last chapter was human survival to a T

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  • paul
  • Sheffield
  • 08-10-19

What was the point!!

Sorry but this was a truly boring listen,there was nothing engaging from start to finish,maybe there was some profound message hidden away and I totally missed it but for me this book was utterly pointless

0 of 1 people found this review helpful