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The Light of Other Days [Paperback]

Arthur C. Clarke , Stephen Baxter
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Price: £12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 July 2002

In the most exciting SF collaboration ever, Arthur C. Clarke and his universally acknowledged heir Stephen Baxter pool talent, fantastic ideas, unprecedented cosmic insights as well as page-turning plotting skills and breathlessly good writing to produce the most awesome novel of the future since 3001.

’Space is what keeps everything from being in the same place. Right?’ With these words Hiram Patterson, head of the giant media corporation OurWorld, launches the greatest communications revolution in history. With OurWorld’s development of wormhole technology, any point in space can be connected to any other, faster than the speed of light. Realtime television coverage is here: earthquakes and wars, murders and disasters can be watched, exactly as they occur, anywhere on the planet.
Then WormCams are made to work across time as well as space. Humanity encounters itself in the light of other days. We witness the life of Jesus, go to the premiere of Hamlet, solve the enigmas that have baffled generations. Blood spilled centuries ago flows vividly once more – and no personal treachery or shame can be concealed.

But when the world and everything in it becomes as transparent as glass and there are no more secrets, people find new ways to gain vengeance and commit crime, and Hiram Patterson finds new ways to keep his Machiavellian schemes secret.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager; paperback / softback edition (1 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006483747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006483748
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 432,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

SF's grand old man Sir Arthur teams up with newer star Baxter to tackle a whopping science-fiction idea with ample scope for both their talents. Their "WormCam" video camera looks across any distance through tiny wormholes in space. Initially this seems no worse than a remote TV link, but it transforms the world as disquieting cans of worms are irrevocably opened. This gadget is a veritable WormCan.

Distance is no obstacle. Neither are walls. Early WormCams allow daringly invasive newspaper scoops--and once the general public can buy them, personal privacy vanishes forever. Anyone can spy on you anywhere. Or anywhen, because next-generation WormCams peer through time as well as space ... at your embarrassing old secrets, at mysteries of the past, at the truth about old murders, Princess Di, the Mary Celeste, Abraham Lincoln, and even Jesus.

As WormCams steadily improve, they probe into deep time: spying on early man, walking with dinosaurs, back and back to a poignant SF vision of what came before life as we know it. It builds towards an utopian dream of the wonders humanity could achieve if given total access to its past.

Clarke and Baxter ramble intriguingly in all directions, exploring every implication. Their imaginative set-pieces are linked by a slightly soap-operatic plot featuring the megalomaniac entrepreneur whose labs built the WormCam, the sons he's manipulated like puppets, and one son's girlfriend who becomes a spanner in (as the lab's nicknamed) the WormWorks. Wide-ranging, ambitious and enjoyable. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘Two titans of hard SF team up for a story of grand scientific and philosophical scope… The large-scale implications addressed are impressive in this potent story’
Publishers Weekly


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once you open Pandora's box..... 22 Sep 2006
By Steve
Format:Paperback
.

This book revolves around the invention by a power hungry business fat cat of the WormCam - a wormhole camera. The development starts as a way of linking points in space so that everything can be witnessed in real time and just as people are getting used to this concept, the technology is developed further to link points in time. To be precise, to view any point, anybody, anywhere in history. And the technology is available to all.

Now humanity has to suffer the escalating consequences of knowing every secret ever kept and the horrific realisation that people of the future are watching them, now.

This is a clever book of unravelling horror. Not for those already pre-disposed to paranoia.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book 7 Sep 2002
This book epitimizes the aspects of a thought provoking book. It is a rare to find fiction that that is concurrently scientifically, sociologically, historically, and politically intelligent. It takes a technological breakthrough and illustrates in a believable way how the world would react. In a more progressive minded world this would be an instant classic. I recommend this book very highly, easily the equal of any classic on the so-called human condition that I've read and enjoyed. The worst part of this book is that it has to end at some point despite it getting more and more interesting as you go on.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking 9 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It is strange how two people's opinion of a book can be so different. Granted this book is not hardcore SciFi and may not appeal to the majority of 'techies' out there, but I must say that it is quite visionary in it's approach to the social impact of 'wormcams' and how society can be influenced so profoundly be such a technology.
All in all a great read, and certainly worth the price.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I felt I had to write this review to counteract Robert Holmes' fairly damning comments about the characterisations in this book. I loved the book both for the astounding vision of one possible future it portrays, and because it does manage, within its wide-sweeping history of the effects of a single scientific development, to portray a range of characters - some sympathetic, some not - and create reader interest in their future.

Write a science fiction without believable characterisation and you are left with such travesties as the supposed sci-fi classic, Tau Zero, where in the end, who really cared what happened? I struggled to bother finishing that book, in spite of the amazing "scientific" ideas it detailed.

In contrast, I enjoyed every page of "The Light of Other Days". The effects Mr Baxter and Mr Clarke envisage of having no social privacy are thought-provoking and in many cases convincing, whilst the initial use of "wormcam" for intrusive papparazi journalism is both a damning comment on society today and very believable. I love the way that the human race grows in mental stature over the course of the book as a direct result of controlling their own access to the truth. An optimistic vision that is a welcome change from much of the doom and gloom in today's sci-fi.

There is nothing here that would cause unacceptable offence to any religion in my opinion. It is a fictional, speculative book that contains sufficient believable science and likable characters to be a gripping and thought-provoking read. It makes no claims about the veracity of the supposed "absolute truths" described.

Highly recommended in my opinion, and a must for any fans of ACC.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Mo8ius
Format:Kindle Edition
I'm a die hard Sci-Fi fan and therefore I know what I'm going to say will shock some people. I don't like Clarke's solo work that much. There I said it. Baxter on the other hand I do like, though I always read his novels and come away feeling quite depressed and somewhat lost in the bleak infinity of a hostile and cold future.

Baxter and Clarke together = Winning team. They compliment each other brilliantly, and I find that Clarke injects a bit of warmth into Baxter's beautifully scientific futures, where Baxter can sometimes create cynical and cold characters, Clarke seems to be able to soften them and they come out being far more human that either writer is capable of independently.

No spoilers here - This novel is not only a brilliant example of the collaboration between these two authors, it's also quite a startlingly visionary book. I first read it in 2000 (first publish date) and was blown away by the social and personal implications outlined in the plot, though felt fairly secure in the idea that the technology that brought about such changes was a long way away (if possible at all).

Now in 2011 I can see a direct comparison between social and corporate attitudes to the developing Internet and the 'wormhole cam' developed in the novel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A dizzying trip through the wormhole
A fantastic collaboration of A C Clarke and Stephen Baxter; two of the greats of SF. A story detailing the invention of the 'wormcam': a surveillance technology utilizing... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Morgan Hearst
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Exercise for the Mind...
Firstly I should say I'm not a hardcore connoisseur of SF; I have never read Clarke before and my experience of Baxter extends only to Evolution and the Mammoth trilogy, so I... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Miss J. K. Green
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting collaboration
This book contains two competing stories, one of the invention of the "WormCam", a device capable of remote viewing completely undetectably and its effects on society, and the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Judo123
2.0 out of 5 stars So much potential..
This book had great potential, but sadly it wasn't utilized. The first point of failure is the lack of character build up. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sam Kaye
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best I've read. Ever.
I just finished reading this on the Kindle (iPad actually) and I'd read the paperback twice before. It is one of those books that reverberates in your thoughts long after finishing... Read more
Published 12 months ago by R. Holt
4.0 out of 5 stars lapped it up
Enjoyable read that kept shifting to keep you interested. The authors managed to shape a fascinating human plot to fit the exploration of all the facets of a fairly unique... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sam Ross
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I grew up cutting my SF teeth on Arthur C Clarke so I expected a great deal from this novel. And I didn't get it. It is full of good ideas and a broad swathe of action. Read more
Published 17 months ago by T. J. Jarratt
4.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the fake histories
A very interesting take on what could be close to ALL the implications could be of having the ability to remote view the past and everywhere in the present. Read more
Published on 4 Dec 2011 by P. J. Dunn
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of all possible worlds
With the best possible pedigree in Arthur C Clarke and his natural successor Stephen Baxter, this book was always destined to be a modern classic of British SF. Read more
Published on 22 Nov 2011 by Robert Beard
5.0 out of 5 stars Sense of wonder
This book begins where Isaac Asimov's short story "The Dead Past" ends - with the invention of a device that lets anyone see any other point in time or space, the ultimate... Read more
Published on 25 Jun 2011 by Kai-Mikael Jää-Aro
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