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The Time Ships Paperback – 9 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 642 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager (9 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000737562X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007375622
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 257,127 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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 May 2001
Format: Paperback
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 July 2003
Format: Paperback
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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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By MarkK TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 13 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stokie Dave on 11 Nov. 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Warning: plot spoilers! A strong sequel to the early Wells novelette _The Time Machine_, which is best read before _The Time Ships_. I found Baxter's book slow and ponderous at the start, when it explores the worlds of a Dyson sphere around the sun built in an alternative history in which the Morlocks became intelligent engineers. Up until the Time Traveller's journey back to confront his young self, I felt the author didn't really know where it was going with the story. After that point the plot becomes a lot more interesting and gains pace, with Baxter whisking us through a variety of novel and engaging scenarios that - although often rather improbable - build and weave together into a stunning idea-laden climax. After that, there is a further and rather flat ending of about thirty pages that feels 'tacked on'. This last section is very faithful to Wells's novel, in which the Time Traveller attempts a rescue of Weena - but it really doesn't add as much as several other faithful sequels have. The Time Traveller explores a bit more, teaches the Eloi some farming, then sets off underground in a rather foolish attempt to learn if there are any friendly Morlocks. _The Time Ships_ is certainly an enjoyable novel in terms of plot, ideas and characters - but I must say I skim-read chunks of it without feeling I was missing very much, and in the end I wondered if a carefully abridged version might not have been even more enjoyable. This is my first encounter with Baxter, and I'm impressed enough that I'm now planning to start on his Xeelee books - which (unlike this novel) are available on the Kindle.
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