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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable
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...
Published on 27 May 2001

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars You may or may not like it.
Not the worst book I've read.
It gets going in parts,drags on in others.
Wanted to like this.It is so heavy going at times,you want to give up.
It is worth going to the end however.
Could have been edited down to half the size and still hold itself together.
Wells can amble on at times(Ann Veronica)So I suppose,it's in the style.It just drags...
Published 3 months ago by Dean Stansfield


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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, 27 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Time Ships (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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Continues where Wells left off, 8 July 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Time Ships (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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy sequel to Wells's classic, 13 Aug 2004
By 
MarkK (Phoenix, AZ, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Time Ships (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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A ripping cosmological yarn!, 6 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Time Ships (Paperback)
I'm certain Wells and Baxter fans will dig this. References from numerous HG stories are here, so those in the know can spot 'The Plattner Story', 'The Land Ironclads', 'The War of the Worlds', as well as 'The Time Machine', and probably many others this reviwer missed. Baxter's attempt to imitate a turn-of -the-century writing style does not fully work, often ringing false, but it's good fun, and a first person account is essential to maintain a continuity of texture with the original 'Time Machine'; this is nicely achieved. All Baxter's best bits are present and correct- scientific concepts lifted from mathematics and cosmology papers, Universe altering technologies described with his mixture of the epic and mundane, and humans surviving(or not) against a harsh environment. Cameos from real historical personages, including a certain Writer, add humour and also poignancy, without the cornyness you might expect. And the end, a beautiful piece of plot and style, does not disappoint. And if you don't care for Wells or Baxter, just read this for an inspiring, well written(I have to say it) 'yarn'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable romp, but some trimming would have been welcome., 11 Nov 2010
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb stuff, 18 Feb 2009
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Time Ships (Paperback)
This was a splendid sequel to The Time Machine, dealing with the knock on effects throughout Time of the nameless Traveller's first trip forwards to 802701. As per Wells, whose writing style this closely resembles, this is more a novel of ideas than non-stop action. This is fine, though at times, especially in The Time Ships section, I thought this was perhaps a little overdone. There is one major spoiler on p193 of my edition where it says: "I could not have relished my breakfast more if I had known - which I did not - that it was the last nineteenth century meal I should ever enjoy". Great stuff.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and enjoyable but flawed and unfocused, 17 July 2003
This review is from: The Time Ships (Paperback)
I approached this book with the feeling it might be one of the worst ideas in literary history.
With all things considered Baxter does do an admirable job of emulating HG Well's style at first - the first few chapters are interesting and thoroughly enjoyable. However the style of writing soon slips. Baxter seems to jump from style to style to suit the circumstances as we change settings and times. There seems to be ideas and styles from all the great science fiction writers here: We go from HG Wells, Arthur C Clarke (especially Rama), John Wyndham, John Christopher, Isaac Azimov, even some elements of Daniel Defoe at one point. Baxter is clearly a very competent writer with a deep respect and love for science fiction writing and it's history. Likewise - the writing is always very fitting to the circumstances but I would have preferred to have seen more consistency in his work. I found that there is very little originality in this book, just a wide range of elements from other writers all mixed up together. Perhaps this was intentional given the subject of this book - emulating another authors style is not easy. I have not read any other of Stephen Baxter books so perhaps I shouldn't comment on this yet.
The plot isn't that complicated but a great deal happens, and we visit a lot of locations, time scales and alternative histories. Without giving away the plot too much the time traveller changes a lot of history along the way and has to adapt to the changes he has made. Personally, I found that too much happened in this book and I had a feeling of lurching from one time situation to another far too quickly. It reminded me of the film Back to the Future Part 2 in too many ways. Too many locations and not enough detailed exploration of any of them. I would have liked to have seen more focus and structure to this book than it stands at the moment. Compared to the fairly simple storyline of Well's original book this story is far too much to take in.
I did enjoy reading this book. It had some interesting ideas and was extremely well written. I enjoyed finding out what happened after the HG Wells novel, even if it perhaps cheapened the original. However I could not help thinking throughout that there was just no way that Wells would have writing this book. The main character of the time traveller just does not think like a man from the 19th century. He adapts to the new situations far too easily. The subtle Victorian satire and playful energy of HG Wells original book is completely absent after the first few chapters of this novel. I'm not suggesting that this is a bad book, but I feel like I am unlikely to read it over and over again as I did the original. "Competent" and "Accomplished" are some of the most insulting adjectives you can say about a novel. But I can't think of that much else to say about this one. This is a good and thoroughly enjoyable novel, but it's far from a great one. Maybe I was naive to expect anything more.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars H.G.Wells out-Welled!, 10 Oct 2008
This review is from: The Time Ships (Paperback)
I first read this book when it was originally published in 1995 and loved it. It has sat on my bookshelf ever since along with all the books I've ever read and cannot bear to be parted from. Last week I decided it was time for a clear out and earmarked several books to be shunted off to my local charity shop. "The Time Ships" was one of them but, before I bade it farewell, I thought I would re-read it one more time. Big mistake. Disappointment is an all too familiar reaction when re-reading books I originally read many years before. In this case, happily, there was no such disappointment - it remains, in my opinion, one of the best science fiction novels of the last twenty years. Many authors have tried to outshine Wells but few have acieved such a lofty ambition. Stephen Baxter not only does so, he does it while writing a sequel to one of Wells' own novels. I have no doubt that Wells would approve. It has all the simple power of the original while, at the same time, weaving the latest thinking about the nature of time and reality into the fabric of the story. The result is a novel with a scope and depth that even Wells failed to achieve. It is, quite simply, breathtaking and has now been restored to its proper place - back on my shelf with many other classics of the genre. Don't even think about it - if you like science fiction read this - you won't regret it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read, 30 Oct 2009
This review is from: The Time Ships (Paperback)
Worth the read. Well written, intelligent, not obvious and a great follow on from original, 100 years on. Keeps your interest throughout and almost unputtdownable.
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2.0 out of 5 stars You may or may not like it., 5 Sep 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Time Ships (Kindle Edition)
Not the worst book I've read.
It gets going in parts,drags on in others.
Wanted to like this.It is so heavy going at times,you want to give up.
It is worth going to the end however.
Could have been edited down to half the size and still hold itself together.
Wells can amble on at times(Ann Veronica)So I suppose,it's in the style.It just drags on.
It's not the time machine or war of the worlds or kipps,or mr.polly.When Mr.Wells gets it right with these examples.
Don't want to be harsh;I'll leave it there.
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The Time Ships
The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter (Paperback - 9 April 2010)
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