Customer Reviews


3 Reviews
5 star:    (0)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A near-overwhelming blast of ideas...with a bleak climax.
The 21 stories here cover a huge range of themes and styles, but be aware that a similarly broad spectrum of quality is also a characteristic of this collection. 'The Droplet' seems rather clumsy in it's portrayal of human relationships, 'Weep for the Moon' is so full to bursting of superb ideas it becomes a bizarre mess, and 'Good News' is simply limited by concerns...
Published on 8 July 1999

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The beginnings of many good ideas ...
In this book, a collection of stories drawn from the late Eighties to the early Nineties, Baxter begins to demonstrate the skill in world-building that has won him legions of fans in recent years.
Unfortunately, many of the stories in this collection rely a little too heavily on world-building and not enough on those old staples, plot and characterisation...
Published on 8 July 1999


Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A near-overwhelming blast of ideas...with a bleak climax., 8 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Traces (Mass Market Paperback)
The 21 stories here cover a huge range of themes and styles, but be aware that a similarly broad spectrum of quality is also a characteristic of this collection. 'The Droplet' seems rather clumsy in it's portrayal of human relationships, 'Weep for the Moon' is so full to bursting of superb ideas it becomes a bizarre mess, and 'Good News' is simply limited by concerns of copyright and continuity of a certain Man of Tommorow. But, as in his novels, when Baxter is good, he's the best. 'Columbiad' totally convinces us that Verne's Lunar voyage really happened, and Baxter's research and attention to detail, as well as his insight into the minds of real space explorers, makes 'Pilgrim 7' an excellent piece of sf. In 'Zemlya', again we are given a near-overwhelming blast of ideas- Gagarin's shocking secret destiny after Vostok, and the development of life on Venus - yet this time the reader just about comes through. It is 'Moon Six' which seems to be the grand moment of 'Traces'. In this, human reactions and emotions are noted perfectly, the various moon missions that the US and USSR never flew are described with total realism, and the science is intruiging. The display of an early-A.C.Clarke/Dan Dare world is suprising, funny, and shocking- a great moment in sf, as is this whole collection. We end our trip with Baxter 'In the MSOB', and, like in his other shorts collection 'Vacuum Diagrams', we find the destination is terribly bleak. Clarke's Universe is indifferently hostile; Baxter pulls no punches in showing us that man is, also.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and elegant, 7 Nov 2009
By 
This review is from: Traces (Mass Market Paperback)
I don't often read short story collections; I loved reading them when I was younger, most notably Clarke and Asimov's, but have gone off them a bit. This book has been languishing on my to-read pile for ages and I finally picked it up as an easy read. I actually found myself enjoying the genre again, it's quite well suited to commute and lunchtime reading and feels like less of a commitment. If a story isn't making sense, or just isn't connecting, it's only a few pages to the next story.

The stories themselves are quite enjoyable and suit Baxter's strengths quite well. There are some elegant ideas, occasionally clumsily told. I think his alternate world writing is much better than the stories where he tries to explain an alien way of life. What's missing compared to the Clark and Asimov story however are the wonderful moments of realisation when it turns out the last 20 pages have been a giant set up for a pun. If Baxter has a sense of humour, it doesn't show much in his writing, and it can be rather depressing to continually read about death and the end of the world.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The beginnings of many good ideas ..., 8 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Traces (Mass Market Paperback)
In this book, a collection of stories drawn from the late Eighties to the early Nineties, Baxter begins to demonstrate the skill in world-building that has won him legions of fans in recent years.
Unfortunately, many of the stories in this collection rely a little too heavily on world-building and not enough on those old staples, plot and characterisation. Baxter's early works, like those of Arthur C Clarke, to whom he is often compared, seem too often to rely on a half-nifty idea to make up for thinly drawn and unprepossessing characters. The comparison is expecially unkind in the case of the title story, an inadvertent variation on the theme of Clarke's famous short "The Star", but without the humanity that gave the older story its sting.
Many of the stories herein have only the suggestions of a plot, too, mostly being more concerned with delineating a mood than with telling a story; at best, there is a weak twist in the tail that rarely provokes more than mild amusement. Nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but in some cases -- notably "The Blood of Angels" -- the writing is simply not strong enough to sustain this reader's interest. Your mileage may vary. Nonetheless, a worthwhile read, if only as a curiosity, for enthusiasts of Baxter's long-form work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Traces
Traces by Stephen Baxter
3.77
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews