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Proxima by [Baxter, Stephen]
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Proxima Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 114 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in Proxima (2 Book Series)
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Review

Proxima is grown up SF, a masterpiece from a star who shines as bright as any "mainstream" author. (John Wyatt THE SUN)

Classic Baxter (SFX)

There's a real beauty and excitement to Baxter's writing (STARBURST)

Baxter acolytes will lap up Proxima (SCI FI NOW)

A fascinating and all too believable examination of how small isolated communities of strangers might survive, or not, in a new alien landscape and of what that new ecosystem might be like. (BOOK GEEK)

Proxima brilliantly juxtaposes the wonder of an uncaring universe with the depiction of humanity's valiant struggle to survive against all the odds. (THE GUARDIAN)

The sense of wonder Baxter effects again and again in the course of exploring the unknown is emblematic of science fiction at its finest. Make no mistake: Proxima is immensely entertaining and eminently accessible science fiction which builds towards a catastrophic, cold war of the worlds conclusion that is both breathtaking and bone-chilling. (Niall Alexander TOR.COM)

Once again, Baxter proves himself a master of the epic canvas with alternating narratives, both terrifically imagined and addictively compelling. (DAILY MAIL)

Book Description

An awe-inspiring Planetary Romance from Terry Pratchett's co-author on the Long Earth Books.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1335 KB
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0575116846
  • Publisher: Gollancz (19 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00E0JYS8M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 114 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,079 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Earth is in trouble, the centre (in a manner of speaking) of a solar system divided between the west and China. While China mines the resources of the asteroid belt and the more distant planets, the west colonises the closer planets. But when a new energy source is discovered on Mercury that permits interstellar travel the enormous opportunities that this grants to one faction are matched by the danger of the ensuing intensified cold war. Meanwhile, a ship full of rejects from Earth and Mars uses this new technology to reach Proxima Centauri, our nearest habitable planet, four light years away. Their goal is to settle the planet and do the necessary hard work of establishing a basic social infrastructure before others can ultimately join them to reap the benefits. Their main job, though, is to breed - to create new generations of human beings on a new Earth. To start all over again.

This is the goal and the dream but how different and harrowing is the reality.

Proxima Centauri, or Per Ardua as it is named by its reluctant, marooned first colonists, is a planet fixed on its axis, half always dark and the other half always light. It is also a volcanic world, susceptible to extreme weather patterns that can last for years. It is inhabited by a full spectrum of flying, swimming, walking creatures, all stem-like. They manage the environment as our colonists must also learn to do. The first half of the novel focuses in wonderful, leisurely detail on the trials of settling this planet by small groups of men and women, cast out from Earth, abandoned and forced together. In particular, we follow Yuri Eden, Mardina and their robot help ColU. I could have read many more hundreds of pages on this group and their interaction with the local animals and this fascinating planet.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stephen Baxter is back to doing what he does best - writing good, thought-provoking science fiction.
I loved the Xeelee sequence and the Time/Space books and tried to read all of Baxters stories. Sadley, he lost my interest with the Floods and mammoths but now with Proxima, it seems the he is back to his roots and writing the kind of classic hard sci-fi that got my interest in the first place.
I hope this isn't a one off and that we can now expect more like this.
I would strongly recommend this book to anyone like me that enjoyed his older works. I can't rate it highly enough.

If I had to choose a negative just to balance things out, then I would say that maybe in the appendix we could have had a translation of the latin paragraph that appears toward the end of the book. I had to type it in to Google Translate to get an approximate meaning and it made a HUGE difference to how I perceived the end of the story. I'm sure not everyone will do the same and will miss out! I would urge everyone that doesn't speak Latin, to do what I did. It's a little annoying typing a paragraph of Latin but it does make a difference to the story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stephen Baxter's novels are always very readable and full of believable science and technology. Baxter clearly draws on a lot of history for inspiration for this tale of interplanetary exploration and colonisation. The press ganging of various waifs and strays into being colonists reminds you of the forced transport of convicts to Australia. The struggle of the early colonists just to survive with next to no facilities reminds you of tales of the early New World colonies. The way the groups of settlers banded together to try and make something work was told. Having studied some planetary science I can confirm that Baxter's planet is very plausible. Good science. I liked the aliens as well who were genuinely alien but also recognisable as a fellow sentient species.

I thought the main weakness was the characters who were all a bit bland (even the main antagonist Yuri Eden) except for the automated colonisation unit ColU who was interested in everything and constantly waffled on a bit like Star Trek's Data. I want one!! I also didn't like the stuff in our future solar system, China vs the rest, seemed plausible but I just didn't enjoy the politics. I felt that he could have left the Earth and its troubles behind once the colonists had landed.

Overall though I really enjoyed the novel and found it to be a bit of a page turner. He's left it open for a sequel so we shall see what's next.
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Format: Hardcover
Having read the authors previous release with Terry Pratchett, I had to say I was a little apprehensive about picking up this title. After all when you've felt rather short changed by a book by two literary giants, you really do wonder if they've run out of idea's and are just cashing in on their own names to make a few extra bucks. So with that said, I didn't quite get round to this book as soon as I should have done.

And boy, what a mistake that was. This title is pure classic Science Fiction bringing together a lot of the themes that have gone before and combining it in such as a way that we have to look at our own nature before we can think about condemning what else is out there. It's a book of questions, a book of exploration and above all a book that really takes the reader on a journey whilst opening up the universe to something else to follow on a bigger scale.

Add to the mix some great twists, some wonderful turns of phrase and its definitely a book that has moved Stephen back into my read with confidence list.
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