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!