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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly realised excercise in world-building
The most enjoyable aspect of Flux is its brilliantly realised world building - minute human constructs that live within the mantle of a star struggle against seemingly natural disasters that threaten their world. This is a world that is constantly strange, and always intriguing, although its very uniqueness may make initial pages a struggle as the reader tries to piece...
Published on 20 Feb 2003 by Jane Aland

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising but, disappointing
The most striking thing about this novel is the setting. The events take place within a thin layer just below the surface of a neutron star.
Somehow, life is possible within this environment and the main characters are a tiny race of beings created by humans to be able to live in the environment.
Within this world, the author creates a preindustrial society...
Published on 17 Feb 2000 by John Peter O'connor


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising but, disappointing, 17 Feb 2000
By 
John Peter O'connor - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flux (Mass Market Paperback)
The most striking thing about this novel is the setting. The events take place within a thin layer just below the surface of a neutron star.
Somehow, life is possible within this environment and the main characters are a tiny race of beings created by humans to be able to live in the environment.
Within this world, the author creates a preindustrial society whose attitudes bear an odd resemblance to those on the planet Norfolk in Peter Hamilton's "Night's Dawn" series. Yes, despite the setting, the characters are really taken from pastoral England. Indeed, Baxter's heroine Dura and several of the other characters might have walked out of a novel by Thomas Hardy.
The novel follows the adventures of Dura as she starts out trying to save her small clan and ends trying to save the world and perhaps even the universe itself.
A good story, some interesting characters and a great setting. So, what could go wrong with that?
Well, despite all of this promise, the novel finally failed to be complete because of the way that the ending was handled. Suddenly, new technologies, situations and relationnships were introduced to tie up all of the dangling threads and bring things to a conclusion. I almost had the feeling the the author suddenly decided that it was time to get it all wrapped up and off to the publishers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliantly realised excercise in world-building, 20 Feb 2003
By 
Jane Aland (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Flux (Mass Market Paperback)
The most enjoyable aspect of Flux is its brilliantly realised world building - minute human constructs that live within the mantle of a star struggle against seemingly natural disasters that threaten their world. This is a world that is constantly strange, and always intriguing, although its very uniqueness may make initial pages a struggle as the reader tries to piece together a coherent setting in their imagination.
This is the third in the 'Xeelee' sequence, and adds some tantalising hints about Baxter's future history, although despite some distant glimpses of the Xeelee themselves there are still a lot of unanswered questions lingering in the larger series narrative. The novel itself often brings to mind the first novel in the series - Raft - with its similarly bizarre setting and 'do or die' expedition into the unknown climax, though the increased page count here has allowed Baxter to breathe more life into his characters to the extent that this is a novel that speaks as much through its cast as hard sf info-dumps.
The 'Xeelee' sequence continues strongly - recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Neutron star, 7 Nov 2003
By 
Chris (EDINBURGH Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Flux (Mass Market Paperback)
Absolutely fabulous. It helps to have read some of his other stuff to get the ending. I like mad-ideas, (eg. Robert Sheckleys "Mindswap") and this time Baxter has excelled himself. I looked some things up on the web and as usual he's talking about things that either already exist or just-might exist. But this time he's taking the yellow matter...Brilliant and paradoxically many of his weird characters are very believable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book, 14 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Flux (Mass Market Paperback)
Crazy little book . miniature humans living in a star.just wouldnt happen,hard enough finding life on earth like planets.....but give baxter credit he makes it kind of plausible and an enjoyable read
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating world-building with a human face, 15 July 2012
By 
P. Jenkins "Paul S. Jenkins" (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Flux (Mass Market Paperback)
You know something's not normal as soon as you start the first chapter of this strange novel. The people in it are human -- it says so, right there on the page -- but you soon realise they're not the same kind of humans you meet on twenty-first century Earth.

Certainly they seem to have the same feelings, desires, hopes and fears -- the same character -- as present-day people, but they inhabit a world physically far different from our own.

Baxter's achievement in Flux is to have created a believable world out of a single extrapolated idea so bizarre that a lesser (or in SF terms, 'softer') novelist would have balked at: his characters inhabit the mantle of a star. They are genetically re-engineered, microscopic humans, designed to suit their almost unimaginable environment. It is to Baxter's credit that we do imagine it, even though the novel does, at times, have the feel of a medieval fantasy. Baxter's aliens, the Xeelee, also feature in the background of this story.

The physics and biology appear to be well worked out from the initial science-fictional extrapolation, and readers who like their SF hard will have fun analysing Baxter's world-building.

The story is mainly that of Dura, a young woman who scrapes a living in the 'upflux' -- a kind of scavenging area away from civilisation, crossed by lines of concentrated magnetism. One of the periodic 'glitches' in the 'magfield' leaves her homeless, and she and the few other survivors of the cataclysm have to find a way to live. A group of them decide to head for Parz City -- a place they've heard about but never visited.

Dura and her younger brother have adventures on the way, as well as at the city itself -- an enormous wooden structure suspended at the pole of the star. We also see something of the life of the city-dwellers, and learn of the city's ultimate purpose.

Baxter's writing style is robust but smooth, not unlike a less-honed version of Arthur C. Clarke, and is thus eminently readable. Although Flux is a story of characters in a unique but consistently imagined world, the events that occur are derived directly from that strange world's peculiarities. This is hard SF of a rare kind.
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Flux
Flux by Stephen Baxter (Mass Market Paperback - 3 Aug 1998)
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