This book is truely amazing. It provides an extraordinary view of a future.
Like in all his other books, Baxter covers a huge array of subjects all of great importance in the modern world; from distrust of science, the economic and foreign policy of the United States, the danger presented by a conservative domination of politics, the decline of the family, the destruction of the enviroment, the power of the military, the rise of China in the 21st century and most importantly the possiblities and necessities of space travel.
Overall Baxter presents his reader with a bleak and hugely detailed vision of the future, and the chnallenges and movements human beings will meet in the coming century. He is not optimistic for us, but right down in the core of the book there is a ray of hope, a vision reminding us that as long as we are still breathing, as long as the spark of life present on this planet still glows, there is still hope.
You could criticise the final chapters as sentimental and out of tone with the rest of the book, I would be inclined to disagree. I think instead that they reflect the hope present throughout the book, they show us the posibility of rebirth and a chance to start again. They also highlight the idea that Steven Baxter seems to hold most dearest, that all that is important is life, the continued existance of living things through colonisation of the stars.
Thus this book provides a lengthy, deep narative, with believeable well written characters. It discusses issues important to the modern world, but deep down it is a thesis, a guide, a set of instructions suggesting what must shorely be the right course for the future of the species.