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on 16 January 2007
This is the second book in the "Time Odyssey" (as opposed to "Space Odyssey") series. This time, those aliens who messed up the world's historical times in the earlier book are back, having in the normal timeline shot a Jupiter-sized planet into the sun thousands of years ago to cause a major solar eruption and the cleansing of the solar system of human life. As the line in "2001" puts it, "And sometimes, dispassionately, they had to weed". The attempts of humanity to avoid catastrophe with a daring technological innovation are the subject of this book, a typical logical Clarke outworking of the concept. And, in a delightful twist at the end (the sort of O. Henry-like flourish that Clarke seems to enjoy) the actions of the aliens, instead of destroying humanity to purify the solar system, serve to bring them into contact with humanity in a most unexpected way.

The two books really don't hang together as a series. They have in common British Army captain Bisela Dutt, who came back from the time-splintered world of the first book via the agency of the mysterious aliens who caused the whole mess and introduces to the world (or at least the great and good of the world) the idea that the coming sunstorm is not entirely a natural phenomenon. However, independently, they are great reading for all lovers of good science fiction.
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This is the second book of a trilogy. I have read the first book, but it isn't necessary to have read it as the connection between the first and the second is fairly tenuous.

This is an Armageddon story of the near future. Can mankind survive a cataclysmic event through ingenuity and collaboration?

You do have to suspend your disbelief to take in this story, after all could we build a structure the size of the moon in the span of four years. But there you go, if you are a science fiction fan, this is all par for the course.

The story weaves together technologies we actually have today and a bit of future tech as well.

The characters are drawn fairly lightly as the main point of the book is the story itself.

A fairly light brisk read that does not take too much effort on your part, unlike some other heavy duty science fiction I have read recently.

I did enjoy the book and plan to get the third of the trilogy.
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on 1 July 2016
With Arthur C Clarke as a writer the technical content although fiction is strongly based on current science. Being part of a trilogy one might accept the 'enemy' would not be defeated in a second novel but 'they' were not even challenged.
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on 26 February 2006
In the first book the protagonists were first introduced to a fractured world, and struggled to come to terms with their changed circumstances. At the end of that book, one person was allowed to return to the home world that had been lost.
In this book, we get the returnee having to come to terms with what has happened. We also get the prospect of scientists realising what will happen, with one genius predicting what will happen to the earth during solar storms, and if the damage to the earth can be limited. They also discover the tampering done by an intelligence first introduced in the first book.
The interplay introduced between scientists, politicians, religions and people is nicely interwoven, and we get to see the best of humanity. We also get to see some of the more base reactions that humanity can produce, but thankfully these are rare. This book is more about a feel-good version of humanity, and what might be achieved if there is a common purpose.
The story woven is detailed enough to satisfy the curiosity of most, without being too detailed and thus boring. This book moves along at a faster pace than the first book, and has a greater sense of urgency. Due to the subject matter, this is appropriate. It is well written and involves the reader better than the first book did, and I enjoyed this book more.
I would recommend this book be read, but ONLY after the first book has been read, as otherwise some of the refences made may not make sense. It can be read independently, but may not then be as enjoyable.
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on 3 August 2010
Hard science fiction at its best. This volume 2 of the times odyssey trilogy is the most engrossing. The sheer scale and detail of the story is intricately worked out and the science underpinning events accurately portrayed and lovingly woven into the story - but not at the expense of characterisation. The motives of the firstborn are explored in more detail and our fragile existence and fight for survival dramatically portrayed. All 3 books can be read independently of each other but it is better to read them in order as the background stories do develop over the 3 books. This one though is the pinnacle of the 3 writing wise. Volume 3 ups the ante but doesn't quite bring it off like this one does.

Splendidly big concepts, good science, good characters well written. Probably the best collaboration between these 2 writers.
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on 19 August 2015
Following on from the first book, Time's Eye, you will once again have to suspend disbelief, ignore the doubtful physics (shooting mass off into the universe is not such a big problem, slowing it down to a relative stop requires the same expenditure of energy and more), clumsy characterisations and unlikely liaisons, this is actually quite a good read, and probably worth the effort. I don't mean to be damning this book with faint praise, but there is not so much awe-inspiring thinking as you will find in a 'pure' Arthur C. Clarke story, and more actual scientific detail than strictly necessary, but it will give you something to read for a few hours and make you think in places.
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on 2 August 2009
this Book is thoughtfully written. Don't expect just some way-out writing- these two authors have produced a great trilogy. Arthur Clarke may no longer be be with us, But Stephan Baxter is a worthy baton carrier. Read this triology, the future of the Sci-fi gendre is all here!
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on 6 June 2010
A well written Sci Fi yarn that fits well with the other two books in the trilogy.
Uses many up to date scientific theories especially in particle & astro physics which gives it some credibility.
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on 8 November 2009
The sequel to Time's Eye: A Time Odyssey Book One: Time's Eye Bk. 1 (Gollancz S.F.) was pretty disappointing in all its aspects. While Time's Eye had an interesting concept at its core, Sunstorm has a fairly standard disaster plot - the sun is going to go blooey and wipe out life on earth. The cause of this potential disaster is laughably ridiculous and the solution to the problem is completely predictable. Bubbling underneath the dumb B-movie disaster plot are some vaguely interesting ideas and sf concepts, but no effort is ever really put in to developing them. The characters are straight out of the cliché pile and I can't think of a single time in the book I was surprised by anything. I guess it's an ok b-movie style disaster story, but I expect much better from these authors.
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This book is better than Book One of the trilogy. I did not really enjoy book one so borrowed this one from the Library. There are certain sections where most people will need to google various words which I did not recognise and were not in my dictionary. Just heard from the Library that "Firstborn" is now available. This Trilogy does not compare to Rama.
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