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on 29 October 2013
There is an element of the book which seems to revel in the base behaviours of primate-like beings. Rape, infanticide, and excessive violence are described in almost glorified, pornographic terms. The protest will be that this is 'natural' animal behaviour but it is written through human eyes. This can be disturbing and while it is used to help the understanding of the behaviours of the characters, there were times when I considered if I really needed to be presented with the situations in such vivid terms. At the very least the book should have a health warning of the explicit nature of some of the writing.

The concept however is again, excellent. The base tenet of the Fermi-Hart Paradox using the Manifold familiar characters is great. Despite the recognition of the characters traits from previous books, they still feel fresh but at the same time familiar and comfortable. Baxter's writing style uses many scientific concepts to carry plot lines but even to a layman, it is easy to read and follow what is another in the series of great stories.
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on 28 January 2018
Kind of wish I'd have stopped after book 2. Still was a decent read, but felt like Baxter ran out of stream by the end.
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on 27 July 2011
All the books in this series have been fantastic.
Produces some tremendous theories and ideas.
Baxter really has a gift for imagery - I honestly read this in 1 sitting...
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on 23 July 2015
Excellent read, Stephen Baxter at his best.
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on 13 September 2010
This is no Sci Fi. I've been appreciating sci fi books since the early offerings of Asimov and Clark to the excellent works of Hamilton but this rubbish from Baxter is truly awful. I gave it my best and read all three books in the hope that there would be some merit, conclusion, thoughtful speculation or even a reasonable entertaining romp, but you can expect nothing except drivel on neanderthals, flawed characters and some borrowed iteration from the masters. . The sporadic interesting bits (eg Nasa) and they were sporadic just gave the reader some hope that there would be an improvement, but no such luck... Do not waste your time with this "series" unless it's a dare or a choice of reading them or sticking pins in your eyes... Try Hamilton, Asimov, Herbert, Huxley, Clark, Ballard... anybody..
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on 3 September 2002
I found first two books in the trilogy, Time and Space, excellent, and I had been looking forward to the release of Origin in paperback so that I could afford it! Both these books contained incredible concepts which nevertheless seemed to be well backed up with scientific theory (such as the very detailed description of the evolution of the galaxy in Time) but just as importantly they showed a deep understanding of human history that made the human side of the plot very believable, and hence very enjoyable.
However, I found Origin infuriatingly lacking in both of these. There were some 'big ideas', but even these were not as wide in scope as those found in the previous two books. In fact, I found that the 'climax' was little more than a rehashing of ideas fully developed in the other books, with some passages quoted almost verbatim. The beginning of the book was excellent, what I had come to expect from Baxter, but the main body of the book was a discussion of the 'society' of various hominids which, while interesting at first, became less so after a while. I was particularly annoyed at the way in which Baxter ended Shadow's story: a fairly major story thread which I had expected to join up with the others at the climax was instead unceremoniously terminated for no good reason. Likewise, the final destinies of Malenfant and Nemoto seemed unsatisfactory.
The first 100 pages of Origin would get 5 stars, easily, but the rest of the book was decidedly disappointing. Baxter can do better than this.
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on 20 April 2008
Manifold is a series of three books. They're not a sequence, actually, as they describe parallel universes. The main character are the same, but the world they live in is different. Origin presents us a world where the good old Moon is replaced by a large red moon. As it happens, the main character, Reid Malenfant, loses his wife Emma on the new moon and has to rescue her.

Emma finds the new moon inhabited by various hominid species. Baxter offers us an interesting view to the life of different hominids, with a point of view of the hominids themselves and humans living with them. It's interesting, but it can also get slightly tedious - this is one long-winded book, with a plot that's a framework for all sorts of neat stuff Baxter wants to present.

But it works, for me at least, because even though I began reading book with some doubts, I soon got sucked into the events. It gets quite interesting and Baxter has some pretty wild ideas there. This book isn't for everybody (that is easy to see from the Amazon reviews, many of which give just one or two stars), but if you enjoyed the other Manifold books, this one is worth reading.
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on 1 March 2015
LIke many other reviewers I enjoyed the first 2 books in the Manifold series but book 2 was extremely disappointing. There was very little on the whole 'manifold' ideal, nor was the actual 'origin' of the manifold adequately explored. There were some interesting explorations of other hominid societies but few of the characters were fully formed. Even Malenfant and Nemoto were far less interesting here than in the earlier books. (And what is with the obsessions with bodily fluids? I don't think I've ever read a book with so much attention paid to blood, sweat, snot, feces, urine, afterbirth... OK, we understand the environment is 'primitive' but what was the point?)
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on 7 November 2002
This is hard science fiction (ie, Baxter knows what he's talking about). It throws modern protagonists into an environment where they are confronted with Neanderthals, australopithecines and other human ancestors, including previously unknown species invented by Baxter. What's particularly impressive is Baxter's vision of the psychology of the almost-humans - speculative, but highly convincing. Themes of alternative history and a (silly but enjoyable) theory of human origins are also dealt with. The writing is good, and the characterisation is fair.
This is part of the Manifold sequence of books - I recommend you read 'Space' before you read this (and perhaps 'Time', although it's not so good) but it's not essential. They feature the same characters in alternate timelines. This works well, and is not a way to pad out a novel to saga length!
There aren't many authors writing 'proper' SF at the moment. That said, you don't need to be an expert in science to enjoy this. If you are interested in human evolution, you will find it an extremely enjoyable piece of speculation!
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on 12 October 2014
The third in the Manifold series is as imaginative as the others. What would the world be like if the moon evolved differently? That is the premise behind this latest adventure for Reid Malenfant and his wife Emma. We are taken to the "Red Moon" to face the question of who could move world's and why. If you are familiar with Stephen Baxter's work you will most likely enjoy this.
However, some of the description is a bit too graphic - arguably to be authentic with regard to nature 'red in tooth and claw', including our distant ancestors and remote cousins.
Only three stars as there was more sex and violence than I'm comfortable with.
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