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The Time Ships [Paperback]

Stephen Baxter
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
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Book Description

11 Sep 1995

The highly-acclaimed sequel to H G Wells’s The Time Machine, from the heir to Arthur C. Clarke.

Written to celebrate the centenary of the publication of H G Wells’s classic story The Time Machine, Stephen Baxter’s stunning sequel is an outstanding work of imaginative fiction.

The Time Traveller has abandoned his charming and helpless Eloi friend Weena to the cannibal appetites of the Morlocks, the devolved race of future humans from whom he was forced to flee. He promptly embarks on a second journey to the year AD 802,701, pledged to rescue Weena. He never arrives! The future was changed by his presence… and will be changed again. Hurled towards infinity, the Traveller must resolve the paradoxes building around him in a dazzling temporal journey of discovery. He must achieve the impossible if Weena is to be saved.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 630 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; New Ed edition (11 Sep 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006480128
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006480129
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 11.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 190,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

What if the time machine from H.G. Wells' classic novel of the same name had fallen into government hands? That's the question that led Stephen Baxter to create this modern-day sequel, which combines a basic Wellsian premise with a Baxteresque universe-spanning epic. The Time Traveller, driven by his failure to save Weena from the Morlocks, sets off again for the future. But this time the future has changed, altered by the very tale of the Traveller's previous journey.


‘Stephen Baxter really does stand on the shoulders of giants in order to see further than they did … The Time Ships is a brilliant piece of work. It is a sequel in the best possible sense.’ Interzone

‘The most outstanding work of imaginative fiction since Stapleton’s Last and First Men … I’m almost tempted to say (I know this is blasphemy) that the sequel is better than the original …’ Arthur C. Clark

‘Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein succeeded in doing it, but very few others. Now Stephen Baxter joins their exclusive ranks. The reaction is that which C. S. Lewis referred to when he described science fiction as the only genuine consciousness-expanding drug.’ New Scientist

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable 27 May 2001
By A Customer
Normally I do not approve of a follow-up or sequel to the work of another author, whether dead or living. However, such is the power and profundity of The Time Ships that I would have to make an exception in this case. Baxter cleverly adopts some of the style of the original H.G.Wells classic, without compromising his own epic approach to SF. The story is a tour de force, taking the reader backwards and forwards across great gulfs of time, dipping into alternative histories which twist and turn...The excitement never lets up until the jaw-dropping ending.
The Time Ships stands on its own as an SF classic, and is as good as anything that Clarke or Bear or Silverberg have ever written. Baxter is quite simply in the SF Premier League with the best of them, in my humble opinion.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continues where Wells left off 8 July 2003
By A Customer
What happened in H. G. Wells' classic 1890s story 'The Time Machine' after the Time Traveller embarked on his last journey?
Stephen Baxter takes up the tale in this mindbending, timewarping sequel, using scientific concepts that were not available to Wells. This allows for some rather knowing jokes at the expense of the narrator -- the Time Traveller himself -- who has to confront the Big Bang, radioactivity, quantum mechanics and so on from his own 1891 perspective. Baxter even writes in a fairly convincing Wellsian style although some of his tics get irritating in a book of this length, such as his habit of ending paragraphs with exclamation points! (Oh look, here's another one!) but at least he doesn't have Clarke's irritating and lazy habit of ending poorly constructed sentences with lines of dots...
You can enjoy this story on its own, but it probably helps if you're familiar with the original story, and there are lots of explicit and submerged references to other Wellsian stories such as The Shape Of Things To Come, The Land Ironclads, Empire of the Ants and Aepyornis Island. But Baxter maintains the Wellsian spirit of goggle-eyed adventure (more exclamation!!) without lapsing into Wells' habit, especially in later and longer works, of preaching about social reform and world government (indeed, Baxter sends this up in one episode set in war-torn London in an alternative 1938.)
The story ranges from the comic to the cosmic, and during episodes of the latter, Baxter surpasses Wells in his evocation of the grandeur of space and time, coming closer to that less-well-known genius of early British SF, Olaf Stapledon (Star Maker, First and Last Men).
Give yourself a thorough mental workout with this story that is at the same time exciting in its own right and an expert tribute to all that is best in the classic science fiction of a steam-driven age!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy sequel to Wells's classic 13 Aug 2004
Time travel has always been my favorite genre of science fiction, yet it is probably one of the hardest to get right. Aside from the science of time travel, there's the eternal paradoxes that time travel poses - such as how one can travel to the past, effect change (after all, where's the fun in traveling through time if you can't muck about with it?), and not create an impossible conundrum in the process. Wells's The Time Machine (Penguin Classics) neatly stepped around the whole problem by having his unnamed Traveler voyage into the future rather than the past. By contrast, Stephen Baxter tackles these issues head-on in this follow-up to Wells's story, a worthy sequel to a landmark work of science fiction.

Picking up neatly where Wells left off, Baxter's tale ranges far into the future and back to the beginning of Time itself, encountering realities profoundly affected by the invention of time travel. Accompanying the Traveler is Nebogipfel, a Morlock unlike any invented by Wells. Nebogipfel is a sensitive character who supplies the modern scientific explanations to what the 19th century narrator encounters, and the friendship that emerges between the two of them is one of the highlights of this book,

Nebogipfel also serves to answer many of the traditional paradoxes of time travel that appear in the course of their travels in time. Though many will find the explanations unsatisfactory, Baxter should be commended for confronting them head-on and creating a much richer novel in the process. Fans of the original novel will also respect his homage to Wells and the respect that Baxter pays to many of the Wells's ideas, though in the end this is a must-read for any fan of brilliantly imagined, well-written science fiction.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A ripping cosmological yarn! 6 July 1999
By A Customer
I'm certain Wells and Baxter fans will dig this. References from numerous HG stories are here, so those in the know can spot 'The Plattner Story', 'The Land Ironclads', 'The War of the Worlds', as well as 'The Time Machine', and probably many others this reviwer missed. Baxter's attempt to imitate a turn-of -the-century writing style does not fully work, often ringing false, but it's good fun, and a first person account is essential to maintain a continuity of texture with the original 'Time Machine'; this is nicely achieved. All Baxter's best bits are present and correct- scientific concepts lifted from mathematics and cosmology papers, Universe altering technologies described with his mixture of the epic and mundane, and humans surviving(or not) against a harsh environment. Cameos from real historical personages, including a certain Writer, add humour and also poignancy, without the cornyness you might expect. And the end, a beautiful piece of plot and style, does not disappoint. And if you don't care for Wells or Baxter, just read this for an inspiring, well written(I have to say it) 'yarn'.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars a good modern extension of the original
A great story, as is Baxter's fashion the chance to explain detailed scientific workings of physics tend to ramble on !
Published 14 hours ago by Leon Beattie
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey of fantasy in technology, science and time
If you enjoy juxtaposing scientific theories with journeys of imagination then this book takes the original masterpiece and constructs a world ( or many worlds) that tries to pitch... Read more
Published 3 days ago by embramike
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic sequel
A modern classic sequel to the Time Machine written in the style of H.G Wells by one of the best current British SF writers
Published 8 days ago by Paul Jennens
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 15 days ago by keith holloway
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going
Written deliberately in the style of HG Wells at the end if the 19th century, the style tries too hard and rather overdoes it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J. K. Siddorn
5.0 out of 5 stars A Ripping Yarn
This is a brilliant follow on from H G Wells' Time Machine that leaves the reader wondering whether it could be plausible. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. Lorraine J. Rose
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I have no doubt there's a great story here - but I only managed to read the first half dozen pages before giving up. Read more
Published 3 months ago by MiniModeller
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
This was an interesting read and I enjoyed it. It was quite a long story and had a couple slow points but generally it was enjoyable. Read more
Published 11 months ago by s.smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't ask for better!
Bought this for my Step-Dad, an avid lover of Sci-Fi whom often complains he can't find any good books. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Rebecca Cox
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh when will it end?
What is it with contemporary sci-fi that all novels seem required to be massive. This clocks in at 630 pages and although there are some good bits, it just goes on and on and on. Read more
Published on 21 Jun 2012 by Greystones113
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