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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars35
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 6 January 2016
I have read this book maybe 4 times across 10 years and always enjoy reading it. Interesting and compelling ideas and characters with an exciting story. Highly recommend.
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on 21 April 2001
I enjoyed it immensely. It's fun. The plot bears Clarke's light touch and Baxter keeps the text short and sinewy. The familiar Baxterian story devices are there, but the plot is generally fresh and thought-provoking, and proceeds at an excellent pace. Here's hoping that Arthur and Steve get together again sometime. I urge you to read it.
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on 15 May 2014
A really thought provoking read and it is definitely something I will read again. I've already recommended it to my husband!
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on 2 December 2014
As you might expect, good read and a new perspective on how the future might change the past. A very good read.
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on 28 November 2001
I have read many books by both Baxter and Clarke and when I saw this I was hoping for something special. I was very dissapointed.
The core idea of the book is brilliant and the first half is an excellent exploration of the idea and its development and impact. Then it all goes downhill!
It seems that Baxter and Clarke came up with something that has so many potential uses and outcomes that they couldn't decide on which one to write about for the remainder of the book. They therefore try to merge them all into a half book, having a number of theads all trying to explore a different aspect.
The resulting ending is a disjointed collection of sub stories with shallow characters and lack of detail. Each of the threads warrants much more detail than it has been given.
The second half of the book could do with being divided into a number of separate books, one for each story thread...
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on 30 November 2006
This is the best book I've read in a long time.

Whether it's straight-forward high quality science fiction you're after, or just a good story that you can't put down, or something to challenge those old grey cells into thinking a bit more about whether 17 really IS the "meaning of life, the universe and everything" ... this book is first class at all levels.
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on 21 July 2014
Not impressed!! Hardly one of his best!
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on 3 October 2000
Having been a fan of Baxter for some time, and always meaning to but never quite having the time to read Clarke, this book provided the prime opportunity to dip my feet. The book, as the synopsis indicates, involves the development and usage of the WormCam, a device that enables the user to view any past event in time and space as if they were actually there.
The storyline is helped along by a few main characters, positioned not only to give us the physical insights into the 'Cam, but also to deduce at first hand the moral, social and physical implications of the device. The book spans several decades, from the 'Cam's discovery, to the longer term after effects upon society, aided neatly by the inclusion of an Extinction Event just around the corner to confuse individual passions, so the plot and character development at any particular instant is not deep. However, having said that, the authors manage to keep something new happening throughout, so the reader gains from sheer entertainment what is lost from being in depth.
My one main criticism, is that, in true Baxter style, he would wish to leave us with an ending to make us think on, long after having finished the book. Again, we are not disappointed, but the physical device needed to achieve this revelation, seems to be pushing the immediate 'Cam applications a little far, as there were several flaws apparent that were not mentioned, the text itself limited to a single short paragraph. Also, having taken that on board, the reader may get the impression that the ending is reminiscient of another particular Baxter book (witheld), suggesting that he is either treading over similar ground, or that it was simply the best ending for the book.
All in all, an entertaining read, if you allow yourself to simply enjoy it for what it is. And don't spend too long worrying about whether people from the future could be watching you as you read the book!
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on 8 May 2001
On the back cover of the edition I bought, the reader is promised deep philosophical ideas about a society in which privacy of any kind no longer exists. Unfortunately the philosophy turns out to be not-so-deep, and the "human interest" part of the story is pretty predictable. The scientific ideas (and there aren't many in this novel - using the Casimir effect to keep a wormhole from closing, and tampering with a person's brain to alter his personality) have appeared in several other SF novels and popular science books.
If this novel had been written by anyone else, I might have given it more stars, but in view of the high standards the authors usually adhere to, this book needs to be compared with their other works, especially Baxter's. After reading it, I was left with the feeling that Baxter and Clarke had teamed up merely for commercial purposes - two big names after all. Buy all of their other books, but skip this one.
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VINE VOICEon 22 September 2002
Like many science fiction books the interest lies in the ideas it contains and not the writing or even storyline. The central idea of this novel is a WormCam which is a really brilliant idea. A WormCam is a device that allows one to view see like a videocamera any point in space or time and hence see anything anywhere. It also spreads its way into society a bit like the internet has spread its way into ours. I'll leave you to work out what the implications of this little device might be or alternativley read the book and find out what the authors think. The implications and the world that this little device create are very thought provoking. The characters are pretty unbelievable, the writing is pretty didy ... and the conclusion as to the origin of life on earth and our species was pretty laughable. Despite all those drawbacks I really loved the idea of the WormCam and all its implications and would recommend the book for that alone.
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