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Raft Paperback – 2 Aug 1992


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager; (Reissue) edition (2 Aug. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586210911
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586210918
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 1.6 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 477,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Baxter is the pre-eminent SF writer of his generation. Published around the world he has also won major awards in the UK, US, Germany, and Japan. Born in 1957 he has degrees from Cambridge and Southampton. He lives in Northumberland with his wife.

Here are the Destiny's Children novels in series order:

Coalescent
Exultant
Transcendent
Resplendent

Time's Tapestry novels in series order:

Emperor
Conqueror
Navigator Weaver

Flood novels:

Flood
Ark

Time Odyssey series (with Arthur C Clarke):

Time's Eye
Sunstorm
Firstborn

Manifold series:

Time
Space
Origin
Phase Space

Mammoth series:

Mammoth (aka Silverhair)
Long Tusk
Ice Bones
Behemoth

NASA trilogy:

Voyage
Titan
Moonseed

Xeelee sequence:

Raft
Timelike Infinity
Flux
Ring
Vacuum Diagrams (linked short stories)
The Xeelee Omnibus (Raft, Timelike Infinity, Flux, Ring)

The Web series for Young Adults:

Gulliverzone
Webcrash

Coming in 2010:

Stone Spring - book one of the Northland series

Product Description

Review

‘Raft is fast paced, strong on suspense, efficiently written, and has moral weight, but it is in the creation of a genuinely strange and believable new universe that Baxter excels… rigorous, vigorous SF at its enjoyable best’
Time Out

‘Almost perfect… Raft is very, very hard SF and it’s great fun’
Interzone

‘This debut novel polishes its ideas with such realistic brilliance you can see a whole civilization in it’
The Times

From the Back Cover

'Raft' is the first book in the astonishing and hugely acclaimed Xeelee Sequence, Stephen Baxter’s history of the universe.

Five hundred years after a spaceship from Earth accidentally crossed through a hole in space-time to another – and very strange – universe, the crew’s descendants still struggle for existence on the Raft, a structure built from the wreckage of the ship. A small group of scientists preserve the ancient knowledge which makes survival possible.

But now they must contemplate a journey even more perilous and fantastic than that of their ancestors, or die.

“'Raft' is fast paced, strong on suspense, efficiently written, and has moral weight, but it is in the creation of a genuinely strange and believable new universe that Baxter excels … rigorous, vigorous SF at its enjoyable best”
TIME OUT

“'Raft' is almost perfect … it is very, very hard SF and it’s great fun”
SFX

“The Xeelee Sequence is cosmic-perspective science fiction of originality, high quality and great interest. Baxter will be one of the major science fiction writers of the turn of the century”
NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION

“Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein succeeded in doing it, but very few others. Now Stephen Baxter joins their exclusive ranks”
NEW SCIENTIST


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
I first heard of Raft in an SF encyclopedia about extensive time lines in science fiction series. Raft is the first book in a series of 5 that span the life of the universe, from the big bang all the way to the end. The series is called "The Xeelee Sequence" and was written by Stephen Baxter, a British science fiction author whose earlier work like Raft is fairly scarce in the U.S. The books that make up the Xeelee Sequence, Raft, Timelike Infinity, Flux, Ring and Vacuum Diagrams, were written and published in this order (with the exception of Vacuum Diagrams which is a collection of short stories with some that were written and published before the appearance of Raft) but take place at different times on the time line. Ex.: Raft which was written a published before the others takes place over a million years after it's sequel, Timelike Infinity. This pattern continues with the rest of the Xeelee Sequence. Raft Takes place in an alternate universe where the force of gravity is one billion time stronger than in this one. Humans have accidentally, it appears, stumbled into this universe and somehow managed to survive. The main character, Rees, is a mine rat who lives in the belt which orbits around a collapsed star where they extract the iron ore. The story is of the Rees' search for the reasons humans are in this universe and not in one where it's easier to survive. On his journey Rees stumbles across many horrific and and amazing discoveries. Raft is one of the most imaginative books I've ever read. Baxter's universe is filled with nebulae where the breathable air is so tightly packed towards their cores that there are miles of space where a person could safely float around without a spacesuit.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jane Aland VINE VOICE on 1 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
Raft is hyped as being the first book in the "Xeelee Sequence", so it's fairly surprising that this word doesn't appear a single time within the book itself, but despite a slightly inconclusive ending this novel stands enjoyably enough in its own right. The most startling thing about this novel is the amount of incredible invention displayed by the author within such a short page count. In fact with flying trees, a mining belt orbiting a dead star, hitching lifts in the belly a of star whale, a planetoid composed of corpses, and much much more, this novel could have easily doubled its 250 page-count, as it seems to rush past at a dizzying pace. Due to this brevity the majority of the characters are somewhat 'pulpy' and under-developed, but this is still an essential read for science fiction fans. The 'hard sf' elements are all well explained for those of us without degrees in physics, so don't be put off. Dazzling stuff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Glaucon on 27 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
Reasonably entertaining novel, although some paper thin characterisations, especially of the bit-part actors such as the giant miner, the undeveloped love interest, and the “boneys”. It felt a bit dated and even a bit ludicrous in parts, especially when it comes to some of the scatological descriptions – relieving yourself out of the stomach of a living, rotating, “whale” whilst travelling through a nebula . Some of the technical explanations seemed unrealistic too, although I’m no scientist, I would have thought that in a universe with an enormous gravity constant there would be far greater challenges than those presented. The main character was reasonably rounded, although his intellectual curiosity in the midst of blind, dull acceptance is reminiscent of other SF books (e.g. City and the Stars by Arthur C Clarke). The hero’s amazing intuition doesn’t seem that amazing, only the stupidity of some of those around him. Worth a read, but no classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By asc99c on 7 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
While this book is one of the most imaginative I have read, I felt it had a lot of faults. The character development felt tacked on to the very good science fiction elements of the story. Unfortunately this book also lacks the immensely grand scale of the other Xeelee sequence books (I started by reading Vacuum diagrams), and isn't really too relevant to the rest of the series, so I wouldn't recommend it as the introduction to this otherwise good series of books.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Captain Kirk on 9 July 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this world gravity is one billion times stronger than in our own. Stars are smaller, shortlived, burning out quickly as they plunge into a black hole, generating the elements of our own galaxy, but far more concentated, so that space itself is permeated by oxygen. The dense profusion of chemicals enables the evolution of life, in forms that traverse space. So far so almost beleivable. But also existing here are humans,survivors stranded for generations on a raft made from metals originally forming part of a spacecraft that strayed into this universe. Inconveniently for the whole story, and overlooked by the author, there is no way either our man made structures or our own bodies could survive in a billlion-G cosmos - apart from other considerations, any structure would break down under the force of its own gravitational attraction - at a biilon Gs, our anatomy and physiolgy would be instantly and fatally disrupted. The tidal effects of such strong gravity would rip us apart. Even if we ignore more complex effects like the distortion of time due to the enormous gravity, the whole scenario is impossible. This is science fiction without science - it is fantasy really. If you want a book that deals with the science of life under extreme gravity read Dragons Egg.
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