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Transcendent

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Stephen Baxter's gripping page-turners are feats of bold speculation and big ideas that, for all their time-and-space-spanning grandeur, remain firmly rooted in scientific fact and cutting-edge theory. Now Baxter is back with the final volume in his monumental Destiny's Children trilogy, a tour de force in which parallel stories unfold-and then meet as humanity stands pois Stephen Baxter's gripping page-turners are feats of bold speculation and big ideas that, for all their time-and-space-spanning grandeur, remain firmly rooted in scientific fact and cutting-edge theory. Now Baxter is back with the final volume in his monumental Destiny's Children trilogy, a tour de force in which parallel stories unfold-and then meet as humanity stands poised on the brink of divine providence . . . or extinction. DESTINY'S CHILDREN TRANSCENDENT It is the year 2047, and nuclear engineer Michael Poole is still in the throes of grief. His beloved wife, Morag, died seventeen years ago, along with their second child. Yet Michael is haunted by more than just the memory of Morag. On a beach in Miami, he sees his dead wife. But she vanishes as suddenly as she appears, leaving no clue as to her mysterious purpose. Alia was born on a starship, fifteen thousand light years from Earth, five hundred thousand years after the death of Michael Poole. Yet she knows him intimately. In this distant future, when humanity has diversified as a species and spread across the galaxy, every person is entrusted with the duty of Witnessing the life of one man, woman, or child from the past, recovered by means of a technology able to traverse time itself. Alia's subject is Michael Poole. When his surviving, estranged son is injured, Michael tries to reconnect with him-and to stave off a looming catastrophe. Vast reservoirs of toxic gases lie buried beneath the poles, trapped in crystals of ice. Now that ice is melting. Once it goes, the poisons released will threaten all life on Earth. A bold solution is within reach, if only Michael can convince a doubting world. Yet as Morag's ghostly visitations continue, Michael begins to doubt his own sanity. In the future, Alia is chosen to become a Transcendent, an undying member of the group mind that is shepherding humanity toward an evolutionary apotheosis. The Witnessings are an integral part of their design, for only by redeeming the pain of every human who has lived and died can true Transcendence be achieved. Yet Alia discovers a dark side to the Transcendents' plans, a vein of madness that may lead to an unthinkable renunciation. Somehow, Michael Poole holds the fate of the future in his hands. Now, to save that future, Alia must undertake a desperate journey into the past. . . . From the Hardcover edition.


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Stephen Baxter's gripping page-turners are feats of bold speculation and big ideas that, for all their time-and-space-spanning grandeur, remain firmly rooted in scientific fact and cutting-edge theory. Now Baxter is back with the final volume in his monumental Destiny's Children trilogy, a tour de force in which parallel stories unfold-and then meet as humanity stands pois Stephen Baxter's gripping page-turners are feats of bold speculation and big ideas that, for all their time-and-space-spanning grandeur, remain firmly rooted in scientific fact and cutting-edge theory. Now Baxter is back with the final volume in his monumental Destiny's Children trilogy, a tour de force in which parallel stories unfold-and then meet as humanity stands poised on the brink of divine providence . . . or extinction. DESTINY'S CHILDREN TRANSCENDENT It is the year 2047, and nuclear engineer Michael Poole is still in the throes of grief. His beloved wife, Morag, died seventeen years ago, along with their second child. Yet Michael is haunted by more than just the memory of Morag. On a beach in Miami, he sees his dead wife. But she vanishes as suddenly as she appears, leaving no clue as to her mysterious purpose. Alia was born on a starship, fifteen thousand light years from Earth, five hundred thousand years after the death of Michael Poole. Yet she knows him intimately. In this distant future, when humanity has diversified as a species and spread across the galaxy, every person is entrusted with the duty of Witnessing the life of one man, woman, or child from the past, recovered by means of a technology able to traverse time itself. Alia's subject is Michael Poole. When his surviving, estranged son is injured, Michael tries to reconnect with him-and to stave off a looming catastrophe. Vast reservoirs of toxic gases lie buried beneath the poles, trapped in crystals of ice. Now that ice is melting. Once it goes, the poisons released will threaten all life on Earth. A bold solution is within reach, if only Michael can convince a doubting world. Yet as Morag's ghostly visitations continue, Michael begins to doubt his own sanity. In the future, Alia is chosen to become a Transcendent, an undying member of the group mind that is shepherding humanity toward an evolutionary apotheosis. The Witnessings are an integral part of their design, for only by redeeming the pain of every human who has lived and died can true Transcendence be achieved. Yet Alia discovers a dark side to the Transcendents' plans, a vein of madness that may lead to an unthinkable renunciation. Somehow, Michael Poole holds the fate of the future in his hands. Now, to save that future, Alia must undertake a desperate journey into the past. . . . From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Transcendent

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    There's a lot to love about this novel even though I have a few quibbles. My issues are purely personal in nature and do not reflect an actual fault in the novel, however. First, the good: We're split in the action between the digital new year coming up for us in about 25 years, at a time when Michael Poole has a stalled career and is still trying to overcome personal tragedy. The worldbuilding at this time is pretty awesome. Sentient houses and landscapes, severe environmental guilt that has led There's a lot to love about this novel even though I have a few quibbles. My issues are purely personal in nature and do not reflect an actual fault in the novel, however. First, the good: We're split in the action between the digital new year coming up for us in about 25 years, at a time when Michael Poole has a stalled career and is still trying to overcome personal tragedy. The worldbuilding at this time is pretty awesome. Sentient houses and landscapes, severe environmental guilt that has led to us giving up cars in favor of virtual, and an extremely pragmatic outlook when it comes to recording genomes as so many species die. Fast-forward half a million years in the future. Far beyond the conflict with the Xeelee, so many branches of humanity live and diverge and come back together again. Interestingly, the feel of this is very close to Olaf Stapledon's brilliant future history explorations, dealing with big species and existential issues in such a broad, astronomical space-and-time sense that I can't help but be awed by it. Humanity has become as diverse and interesting as we could have hoped, adapted to any and all kinds of environments, developed symbiosis with alien biologies, techs, and even AIs. Some are undying, having lived a truly vast amount of time. Some are focused entirely on transcendence. Interestingly, individuals in this far future are given the chance to be the ultimate observers for individuals in any portion of history. The MC in the future observes the MC of the past. Loves him. Feels his pain. And she is offered the opportunity to join the vast collective consciousness (augmentation) of the Transcendence. The quibble: The direction the transcendence takes is one of guilt and suffering, reliving every individual of humanity, of whatever flavor, and feeling their pain. Yeah. Well, that's kinda the point of the novel, too, and it's rejected as the faulty logic it is. I'm not complaining about that. I'm only complaining that such an entitled future of humanity should fall into that trap in the first place. But then, we've always fallen into worse, haven't we? lol Even so, the novel is fascinating and filled to the brim with great ideas and techs and it falls into the full future history that Baxter has painstakingly built up. It's pretty amazing. This novel does NOT need to be read in any particular order with any of the others. In fact, I might recommend it for anyone new to the SF mythos. :)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    I enjoyed rereading this after a decade or so, but I found I had some issues with it that I did not have before. Maybe my tastes have changed; if so, that would be quite fitting with a novel like this one! Like the other two previous volumes in the Destiny's Children series, Transcendent has two different, albeit ultimately interacting, timelines. The first is a dystopian near future (2047) where global warning and the drying up of oil have produced major changes in societies across the globe. O I enjoyed rereading this after a decade or so, but I found I had some issues with it that I did not have before. Maybe my tastes have changed; if so, that would be quite fitting with a novel like this one! Like the other two previous volumes in the Destiny's Children series, Transcendent has two different, albeit ultimately interacting, timelines. The first is a dystopian near future (2047) where global warning and the drying up of oil have produced major changes in societies across the globe. Our lead, Michael Poole, is the nephew of Michael Poole from the first volume in the series. Transcendent assumes the form of Michael's reflections on his life and his meeting with a being from the far future (Alia) sent back to his timeline. Michael is an engineer, who worked on Nuke power plants and also taught at Cornell, but is currently between jobs so to speak. His son works on a project in Siberia trying to gather DNA of various species before they become extinct. His older brother lives in the US, and works as a kinda environmental lawyer. His mother, aged in the 90s, serves as a fulcrum in the story. Michael's brother asks him to come to Miami to help with her (he thinks she is losing it) and pays for his flight. Once there, however, he learns of a terrible explosion in Siberia and his son Tom is hurt... In the far future, Alia, a woman born and raised on an ancient generation ship/habitat is being courted to become a member of the Transcendence-- a melding of the minds of humanity that will achieve godlike status. Part of her earliest training entailed 'witnessing' Michael Poole's life-- something the Transcendence made possible, e.g., this perfect rendering of Michael's existence from birth to death. The Transcendence, while in a process of becoming, is vexed by the concept of redemption for all the suffering and death of so many humans that came before. The hope of 'witnessing' is that the past will not be forgotten, but more, that the future can atone for the sins of the past. While I loved the world building of Michael's timeline-- the abandonment of private cars, the harsh global warning fundamentally changing the world and the construction of new social institutions, the entire transcendence idea struck me this time reading it as rather problematic, laced with too many religious overtones to really be taken seriously. Why would some future group intelligence really care about past human suffering, let alone feel that they must seek redemption? If you can get over that, Transcendence is a very good read. The character building of Michael and Alia flows well, and perhaps strangely for a hard science fiction novel, science does not serve as a 'character' if you will. Sure, we have some great discussions of new tech to help stabilize the planet's ecosystem, but nothing to avant garde, and it only comes into help build the narrative. Baxter, as he is prone to do, probes some serious philosophical questions, not just about the human condition, but about what gives life meaning, the nature of death and life, and so forth that was refreshing. 3.5 stars rounding up.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    I'd give this one 3.5 stars if I could. There's a lot to like about this book and its predecessors, Coalescent and Exultant. The three are marketed as a trilogy, but its much more fair to consider them three unrelated books set in the same universe. There is a through line that connects all of them, but it would be fairly straightforward to read them in isolation. My advice: if you like Baxter, read them all. If you're not sure, start with this one, even though it's the last. This book in particu I'd give this one 3.5 stars if I could. There's a lot to like about this book and its predecessors, Coalescent and Exultant. The three are marketed as a trilogy, but its much more fair to consider them three unrelated books set in the same universe. There is a through line that connects all of them, but it would be fairly straightforward to read them in isolation. My advice: if you like Baxter, read them all. If you're not sure, start with this one, even though it's the last. This book in particular reminded me of Olaf Stapledon's magnificent Last and First Men in its panorama of human evolution over the next 500,000 years. It's a rich mix of physics, theology, and character study. A bit of a slow read (though not as slow as Stapledon), but worth it for the rich ideas. And I have to confess that it's got one of the best opening paragraphs of any science fiction book I've ever read: "The girl from the future told me that the sky is full of dying worlds. You can spot them from far off, if you know what you're looking for. When a star gets old, it heats up, and its planets' oceans evaporate, and you can see the clouds of hydrogen and oxygen, slowly dispersing. Dying worlds cloaked in the remains of their oceans, hanging in the Galaxy's spiral arms like rotten fruit: this is what people will find, when they move out from the Earth, in the future. Ruins, museums, mausoleums. How strange. How wistful. My name is Michael Poole." Despite what sounds like a bit of a downer, the book is still full of hope.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erik Rühling

    More 'anyhows' than a freshman term paper. 'Baling' for 'bailing'. 'Five percent proof'?!! Did an editor read this at all? If you can get past the bad editing and the dopey anthro-guilt global warming plot, it isn't altogether terrible. Reading 'the Warming' (capitalized so you know it's really bad and all mankind's fault^tm) as 'the Warmening' added some much-needed levity for me. Oh, and while certain hand-wringing busybodies might consider a refrigerator that verbally warns you not to drink a More 'anyhows' than a freshman term paper. 'Baling' for 'bailing'. 'Five percent proof'?!! Did an editor read this at all? If you can get past the bad editing and the dopey anthro-guilt global warming plot, it isn't altogether terrible. Reading 'the Warming' (capitalized so you know it's really bad and all mankind's fault^tm) as 'the Warmening' added some much-needed levity for me. Oh, and while certain hand-wringing busybodies might consider a refrigerator that verbally warns you not to drink a beer so early in the day their version of an orderly utopia, I'm going to have to consider that a hellish vision of the future on par with waste land motorcycle gangs.

  5. 5 out of 5

    L

    Baxter explores a number of issues--little things like love, family, the possible end of life as we know it on our planet, gods, etc. At some points the book does, I must admit, drag a bit. But when not caught up in technical or other esoteric details (which I know many adore), Baxter tells one hell of a tale. He has a wide-ranging and, frankly, beautiful vision--not exactly what one might expect from an engineer. Gea, the amazing sentient super-duper-artificial-intelligence, who visits as a toy Baxter explores a number of issues--little things like love, family, the possible end of life as we know it on our planet, gods, etc. At some points the book does, I must admit, drag a bit. But when not caught up in technical or other esoteric details (which I know many adore), Baxter tells one hell of a tale. He has a wide-ranging and, frankly, beautiful vision--not exactly what one might expect from an engineer. Gea, the amazing sentient super-duper-artificial-intelligence, who visits as a toy robot; Rosa, the Catholic priest (though should she be called priestess?); Alia, the woman from the far, far future; and, of course, Micheal Poole, the engineer, there is a full compliment of well-fleshed-out characters, people readers can't help caring about. This is a great read! I've enjoyed other of Baxter's works. Now I guess I'll have to read more of the Destiny's Children series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kev Kim

    This was my introduction to the Destiny's Children series and it's remained my favorite still. Whereas others have had trouble with the story hopping between two timelines and all the brain crushing or mind blowing theories on human evolution, that's what I was expecting by this point in my Baxter reading career. My favorite part was how the future storyline showed some of the extremes of humanotypes based on all the different environments we could end up in. Absolutely left me wanting more chap This was my introduction to the Destiny's Children series and it's remained my favorite still. Whereas others have had trouble with the story hopping between two timelines and all the brain crushing or mind blowing theories on human evolution, that's what I was expecting by this point in my Baxter reading career. My favorite part was how the future storyline showed some of the extremes of humanotypes based on all the different environments we could end up in. Absolutely left me wanting more chapters of planet hopping, but damn. The center of humanity where all the transcended go, phew. I think Baxter could have explores much more of this if he wanted. Writing this has left me hungry for more Baxter already!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter Greenwell

    80% of this book is fine material. The other 20% delves into turgid metaphysics. It is gratifying in a way to catch up with George Poole's descendants and family, to see where they are forty years on...and the far future character of Alia is pleasing too. It's when Baxter tries to emulate the Clarke-like mystical....well, it comes apart a little at the seams. 80% of this book is fine material. The other 20% delves into turgid metaphysics. It is gratifying in a way to catch up with George Poole's descendants and family, to see where they are forty years on...and the far future character of Alia is pleasing too. It's when Baxter tries to emulate the Clarke-like mystical....well, it comes apart a little at the seams.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alexander

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Transcendent continues the stories and themes that were originally developed in the first book of the series, with more light being cast upon the Poole family and the Coalescents. The story explores the dynamic between Michael Poole, his son Tom and dead wife Morag, and for the beginning of the book, I felt I was learning about all the participants equally. However in the later part of the book, all character development of Tom ceases, as the story moves to focus upon Michael and his reanimated Transcendent continues the stories and themes that were originally developed in the first book of the series, with more light being cast upon the Poole family and the Coalescents. The story explores the dynamic between Michael Poole, his son Tom and dead wife Morag, and for the beginning of the book, I felt I was learning about all the participants equally. However in the later part of the book, all character development of Tom ceases, as the story moves to focus upon Michael and his reanimated wife, and what she represents. The reach of the story is quite grand, covering the far future of 500,000 years hence and the near future of the mid 21st century. It covers a number of current hot-button topics such as global warming, and our responsibility (or lack thereof) to manage the ecology of the planet that supports and maintains us. It also covers a number of philosophical discussions which are interesting, but weren't discussed at length, so whilst the story arc covers a lot of ground covering the mental, physical and philosophical development of the human race, it doesn't really get to the point, which may be the point - to discuss these developments in the abstract. As a result whilst I enjoyed the book, I'm not sure if I enjoyed it for it's philosophy and content as opposed to simply reading more about a series that I'm invested in. The continued return of the Coalescents is interesting, but I feel their development which was covered at length in the first novel is now stunted, so in each of the novels in the series we revisit the same plot points: regular humans are repelled by their closeness and inhuman aspects; they are great for archiving because of reasons; they are long lived. I would love to know more about Coalescent hives that perhaps go awry or develop in other manners (since ant colonies aren't all uniform in their operation).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Edmund Bloxam

    Two threads run through the book. One creates an interesting setting. However, it uncomfortably settles around what amounts to a ghost story (which it is not clear is a ghost story, and quickly becomes clear it is something else). But it still plays out like a ghost story, and these never chime with me, because ghosts are such a ridiculous premise. What is truly distracting is how unphased people are at the sight of something that is so ridiculous. Anyway, the beginnings of serious climate change Two threads run through the book. One creates an interesting setting. However, it uncomfortably settles around what amounts to a ghost story (which it is not clear is a ghost story, and quickly becomes clear it is something else). But it still plays out like a ghost story, and these never chime with me, because ghosts are such a ridiculous premise. What is truly distracting is how unphased people are at the sight of something that is so ridiculous. Anyway, the beginnings of serious climate change in 2048 is an interesting setting. The second narrative is mind boggling, and ultimately tootles round in circles until finally we get to the 'grand finale', or should I say THE CLUMSY EXPOSITION SCENE, so ham-fistedly forced in, the author throws away the dialogue itself and just EXPLAINS. We then into hyperfuture metaphysics. This is where the story starts. Nothing much of any significance has happened yet. The Clumsy Exposition Scene sets up all pertinent points, and we are delivered with...universal armageddon...or not. And then it stops. And the stupid ghost nonsense comes back. It made no sense that the character even saw the 'ghost'. Its reasons for being there make no sense (Spoiler: if she had appeared at the exact moment of Morag's death, no one would be any the wiser, and it is time travel any, so why does it appear SEVENTEEN YEARS later?) So, a short story at best, of about 50 pages. The rest is a morass of insignificance. 45o pages of it!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Costin Manda

    Oh, no! After such a glorious second volume, Baxter regressed for the third volume of the Destiny's Children series, Transcendent. What you get is basically a continuation of the first volume, but without the emotional content or the cool ideas of Coalescent. Same awkward family relationships that no one really cares about, same main character who is actually driven by the actions and thoughts of people around him, rather than his own, same single final moment that shapes the world without actua Oh, no! After such a glorious second volume, Baxter regressed for the third volume of the Destiny's Children series, Transcendent. What you get is basically a continuation of the first volume, but without the emotional content or the cool ideas of Coalescent. Same awkward family relationships that no one really cares about, same main character who is actually driven by the actions and thoughts of people around him, rather than his own, same single final moment that shapes the world without actually making the reader feel anything, same lengthy dialogue that brings important issues into discussion, but without drawing the reader in. As Stalin said, one death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic. Same thing applies to humans 500.000 years into the future, going back into the past to redeem the sins of humanity. No one cares! The Earth is pushed to the edge by global warming and the lead character is championing a great hydrate stabilization engineering project. Who cares?! Bottom line: the book was well written, but badly designed. It's like an engineer doing a great job building something that is fundamentally flawed. I struggled to finish the book just as I've struggled to finish Coalescent, which was far more interesting to begin with. The reason is simple: the reader cannot really empathize with any of the characters, except in disparate fragments of the storyline.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Florin Constantinescu

    Books #1 & #2 of Destiny's Children showed a past-future parallel. Now the author attempts to do the same inside a single novel. The past parts are a sort of sequel to "Coalescent", while the future part introduces us to new elements in the distant Xeelee vs humans future. The two narratives obviously join via some kind of mind-time-travel. The characters introduced in "Coalescent" have evolved along nicely, although their ecological preoccupations in this volume aren't the most exciting. The cor Books #1 & #2 of Destiny's Children showed a past-future parallel. Now the author attempts to do the same inside a single novel. The past parts are a sort of sequel to "Coalescent", while the future part introduces us to new elements in the distant Xeelee vs humans future. The two narratives obviously join via some kind of mind-time-travel. The characters introduced in "Coalescent" have evolved along nicely, although their ecological preoccupations in this volume aren't the most exciting. The core idea behind the futuristic setting however is nothing short of amazing, and totally worth going through the other more boring parts.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Karissa

    This is a book that has been on my shelf forever. I just randomly grabbed it to read. I wasn't aware that it was a part of a series, or that it was the third and final book. Luckily you don't need to read the previous books in the series to understand what is going on. The most interesting part of the book for me was the description of the Warming. The year is 2047. Climate change has happened. Florida is receding; Miami is basically underwater. They try to discourage anyone from flying anywhere This is a book that has been on my shelf forever. I just randomly grabbed it to read. I wasn't aware that it was a part of a series, or that it was the third and final book. Luckily you don't need to read the previous books in the series to understand what is going on. The most interesting part of the book for me was the description of the Warming. The year is 2047. Climate change has happened. Florida is receding; Miami is basically underwater. They try to discourage anyone from flying anywhere by making them go through numerous psychological exams. If you can't fly, you can spend lots of money to go somewhere through VR. Because of Virtual Reality, education has completely changed. If you want to teach, you pretty much need to go to a third world country to do so. The point of view is split between Michael Poole in 2047 and 5,000 years later with Alia. Alia has been selected to become part of the Transcendence but first must go through multiple trials. This part honestly had me a little bored. I much preferred Poole's storyline. I'm glad to have read this, even though it was really outside of my wheelhouse.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anton Hammarstedt

    Setting presentation, design and originality (how cool is the setting?): 3 >Setting verisimillitude and detail (how much sense does the setting make?): 2 Plot design, presentation and originality (How well-crafted was the plot, in the dramaturgic sense?): 4 Plot and character verisimillitude (How much sense did the plot and motivations make? Did events follow from motivations?): 3 Characterization and character development: 4 Character sympatheticness: 5 Prose: 4 Page turner factor: 4 Mind blown factor: Setting presentation, design and originality (how cool is the setting?): 3 >Setting verisimillitude and detail (how much sense does the setting make?): 2 Plot design, presentation and originality (How well-crafted was the plot, in the dramaturgic sense?): 4 Plot and character verisimillitude (How much sense did the plot and motivations make? Did events follow from motivations?): 3 Characterization and character development: 4 Character sympatheticness: 5 Prose: 4 Page turner factor: 4 Mind blown factor: 2 Final (weighted) score: 3.4

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andy Mac

    This was really a decent "sort-of" finale to the series. Without spoilers, it closed out most of the plot lines and told a far future version of how things turned out. Like many of Baxter's books, it felt smooth to read and the science of the science fiction was at least (generally) based in real science. In this case, often in philosophy as much as anything else. What happens to a humanity that is embroiled in a war that spans millennia? This was really a decent "sort-of" finale to the series. Without spoilers, it closed out most of the plot lines and told a far future version of how things turned out. Like many of Baxter's books, it felt smooth to read and the science of the science fiction was at least (generally) based in real science. In this case, often in philosophy as much as anything else. What happens to a humanity that is embroiled in a war that spans millennia?

  15. 4 out of 5

    betty c. spencer

    A Half-million Years of Human History Sitting in this chair I have seen, heard and felt the history of humans as the galaxy is conquered, lost and conquered again. I have thought with near-gods as they transcended to cope with the universe entire. I am inspired with the incredible effort and brilliant creativity of this work. It could even be reality.

  16. 5 out of 5

    John Hodgkinson

    In this book Baxter brings together the en ding from the first book with the ending of the second one. He then holds them as two separate threads until right at the end, when they come together in a most surprising manner. All-in-all, this 3 book series is well worth reading.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alan Floyd

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the second novel in my chronological read through and it was good. I was really expecting wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff from half a million years in the future but there ya go. I think there are some short stories to read next on the timeline. I still haven't met a Xeelee. This is the second novel in my chronological read through and it was good. I was really expecting wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff from half a million years in the future but there ya go. I think there are some short stories to read next on the timeline. I still haven't met a Xeelee.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Svetlana

    Really enjoyed this! The parts about global warming and climate change made for a very scary read, reminded me somewhat of the Sunstorm (also his book co-written with Arthur C Clarke).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ricky Boden

    I tried my best and got 24% through it but just did not find myself engaged at all. No.1 great No.2 good Lost me on this

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    Baxter presents a fascinating setting of global warming. The plot and characters are boring and stupid. It is boring because the characters, don't do anything; things are done to them. The characters have the emotional maturity of 15 year old kids. It is stupid because he has taken the ideas of a Russian mystic and turned them into a "science fiction" story. The mystic was "... Fyodorov, a futurist, who theorized about the eventual perfection of the human race and society (i.e., utopia), including Baxter presents a fascinating setting of global warming. The plot and characters are boring and stupid. It is boring because the characters, don't do anything; things are done to them. The characters have the emotional maturity of 15 year old kids. It is stupid because he has taken the ideas of a Russian mystic and turned them into a "science fiction" story. The mystic was "... Fyodorov, a futurist, who theorized about the eventual perfection of the human race and society (i.e., utopia), including radical ideas like immortality, revival of the dead, space and ocean colonization." -- Wikipedia.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paññādhammika Bhikkhu

    Worth reading just for the climate change issues alone. Amazing that they did so much more.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andre

    Baxter and his "trilogies" that aren't trilogies really. I felt this was the weakest of the 3 of Destiny's Children. At least #2 was strong enough to get me to buy the Xeelee Omnibus. Baxter and his "trilogies" that aren't trilogies really. I felt this was the weakest of the 3 of Destiny's Children. At least #2 was strong enough to get me to buy the Xeelee Omnibus.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mark Easter

    From School Library Journal Adult/High School-Set in the same vast time scale and future as Coalescent (2003) and Exultant (2004, both Del Rey), Transcendent can be read independently. Michael Poole is a middle-aged engineer in the year of the digital millennium (2047) and Alia is a recognizably human (but evolved) adolescent born on a starship half a million years later. Michael still dreams of space flight, but the world and its possibilities are much diminished due to environmental deg From School Library Journal Adult/High School-Set in the same vast time scale and future as Coalescent (2003) and Exultant (2004, both Del Rey), Transcendent can be read independently. Michael Poole is a middle-aged engineer in the year of the digital millennium (2047) and Alia is a recognizably human (but evolved) adolescent born on a starship half a million years later. Michael still dreams of space flight, but the world and its possibilities are much diminished due to environmental degradation. The gifted teen has studied Michael's life, for the Poole family played a pivotal role in creating the human future, and thus her world. Through seemingly supernatural apparitions, Alia bridges time to communicate with Michael as they determine the future of humanity. The Pooles are a troubled family, and readers will appreciate the conflict between Michael and his son as they are forced to find common ground in a struggle to reverse the final tipping point of global warming. Teens will also understand Alia's alarm, and her growing determination to choose her own destiny, when she is selected to join the Transcendents and is rushed into their unimaginable post-human reality. This is visionary, philosophical fiction, rich in marvels drawn from today's cutting-edge science. A typical paragraph by Baxter might turn more ideas loose on readers than an entire average, mundane novel does, but all this food for thought is delivered with humor and compassion. Experienced SF readers will enjoy sinking their teeth into the story, while general readers who have enjoyed near-future, science-based suspense novels such as those by Michael Crichton will discover here that science fiction can set a higher, much richer standard than what they've experienced before.-Christine C. Menefee, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Review Praise for Stephen Baxter Coalescent “Utterly fascinating . . . constantly surprising . . . Coalescent reveals a new side to Baxter’s vast talent.” –Locus “A gripping read . . . Baxter continues to prove that he has phenomenal insight into humanity, giving us not only an inspired book, but more to think about in regards to our own evolution.” –SF Site “[Baxter excels] at both action-packed storytelling and philosophical speculation.” –Library Journal Exultant “Baxter has an uncanny gift for mixing a punchy, cyberpunk cynicism with his resolutely hard SF story base. . . . [Exultant] rivals Asimov in its boundless vision for the future evolution of humanity.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Striking . . . chilling . . . [with] a triumphant conclusion.” –Starburst “Technically brilliant and downright exciting.” –SFX Magazine From the Hardcover edition.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Roger Bailey

    Stephen J. Gould once said that he was frequently asked what he thought the future of human evolution would be like. His answer was that we are not going anywhere. His theory of punctuated equilibrium holds that when a species has a large population and is widespread it is pretty well adapted to its environment and is not under selective pressure to change. It is when the environment changes or something else happens to severely reduce the population orr to isolate a small subpopulation from the Stephen J. Gould once said that he was frequently asked what he thought the future of human evolution would be like. His answer was that we are not going anywhere. His theory of punctuated equilibrium holds that when a species has a large population and is widespread it is pretty well adapted to its environment and is not under selective pressure to change. It is when the environment changes or something else happens to severely reduce the population orr to isolate a small subpopulation from the larger population that evolutionary change comes about. He said that short of a worldwide disaster or a science fiction like scenario like a lost space colony humans are just not under any pressure to evolve in the foreseeable future. Well, Stephen Baxter supplies the pressure in this novel. It is a severe ecological breakdown brought about mainley by anthropogenic global warming. He postulates that humanity does survive, even if barely, and evolution does take place. Not only that, but interstellar travel is also postulated giving rise to a version of the lost space colony too. Any attempt to predict how humans would evolve under such circumstances would be purely speculative, but then, this is a story of speculative fiction. It is also a quite enjoyable and interesting read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    José Monico

    First sentence: "The girl from the future told me that the sky is full of dying worlds." *Lets out a sigh of relief. I inadvertently skipped the second book in the thematic series and went for the third; coming off of Coalescent, I was nervous as to what Baxter would decide to go with for this one. And it immediately looked like it was more of the same methods we have come to know the author by. Sure it's not perfect, but it's good. With the cherry being the implementation of some canon material First sentence: "The girl from the future told me that the sky is full of dying worlds." *Lets out a sigh of relief. I inadvertently skipped the second book in the thematic series and went for the third; coming off of Coalescent, I was nervous as to what Baxter would decide to go with for this one. And it immediately looked like it was more of the same methods we have come to know the author by. Sure it's not perfect, but it's good. With the cherry being the implementation of some canon material involving the most prominent family in the vast Xeelee Sequence; there was more of his great imagination contorted with extreme mystical physics. At times it felt like it dragged on, but what Baxter absolutely failed to properly execute in his first book was well established here: and that is the successful process of fleshing out characters to the best of his abilities, and then allowing his created environment to take over. I am happy my latest encounter with Baxter was a pleasant one, but I think I'll still go with my plans to take a hearty break from his material. Unfortunately, I think I've pieced together what makes a good Stephen Baxter novel; but what makes him incredible is a platform I have yet to scratch: his short stories.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Simon Chamberlain

    [Minor spoilers ahead][return][return]Third book in the Destiny's Children trilogy, which overall I found disappointing compared to his earlier work (I loved the Manifold trilogy, and Evolution was pretty good too).[return][return]Transcendent is still a lot better than Coalescent and Exultant, though. I'd almost suggest skipping the first two, and going with the third. Although it contains elements drawn from the first two novels, they are in the background rather than being essential to the pl [Minor spoilers ahead][return][return]Third book in the Destiny's Children trilogy, which overall I found disappointing compared to his earlier work (I loved the Manifold trilogy, and Evolution was pretty good too).[return][return]Transcendent is still a lot better than Coalescent and Exultant, though. I'd almost suggest skipping the first two, and going with the third. Although it contains elements drawn from the first two novels, they are in the background rather than being essential to the plot. [return][return]Familiar Baxter elements are present, such as the impact of global warming, the divergent evolution of humanity far in the future, future humans watching and/or interfering with present-day humans, hive minds, and a protagonist who references earlier heroes (he's Michael Poole, ancestor of the eponymous hero of the Xeelee sequence, and (like Malefant in Manifold), is haunted by memories of his dead wife). He's also related to the protagonists of Coalescent, though not much is made of this. The Friends of Wigner, from Exultant, are also mentioned in the background. [return][return]Overall it's a good enough book, worth a read, but not really one of Baxter's best.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    The book goes back and forth between two characters and time periods: a man named Michael Poole in the not-too-distant future on Earth, and a girl named Alia who lives on a ship millennia into the future. The Michael Poole story imagines what could happen to the planet and our species if things continue on the course they are on with global warming. Honestly, it seems like something that could possibly happen and it is scary. The more futuristic sections are definitely more in the "sci-fi" categ The book goes back and forth between two characters and time periods: a man named Michael Poole in the not-too-distant future on Earth, and a girl named Alia who lives on a ship millennia into the future. The Michael Poole story imagines what could happen to the planet and our species if things continue on the course they are on with global warming. Honestly, it seems like something that could possibly happen and it is scary. The more futuristic sections are definitely more in the "sci-fi" category and a little different than what I usually read, but interesting as well. What I like about this book, is that it tells a story of strange possibilities and happenings, but things that seem realistic in their own way. Even though future humans look and do things differently than now, it is plausible that over that long a period of time and with certain conditions, it is not so outlandish for things to happen that way. The story was intriguing and well-written.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Tharp

    I love a good SciFi novel and Transcendent was GOOD. When Border's was selling their stock I perused the SciFi section to discover what stories might be hiding. After all, skimming the bookshelves at Border's is how I discovered Kristin Smith and Contact. While Transcendent's worldview peaked my interest, the future of Earth in 2047 with no cars and the ice caps melted so much of the land was under water; and a million years further where humans have moved all over the galaxy and adapted to new I love a good SciFi novel and Transcendent was GOOD. When Border's was selling their stock I perused the SciFi section to discover what stories might be hiding. After all, skimming the bookshelves at Border's is how I discovered Kristin Smith and Contact. While Transcendent's worldview peaked my interest, the future of Earth in 2047 with no cars and the ice caps melted so much of the land was under water; and a million years further where humans have moved all over the galaxy and adapted to new planetary environments, I was able to put it down. In fact, sometimes my poor little brain cried uncle with the twisting of time and space. But Baxter has created some wonderfully human characters and put them in extremely challenging situations, and you'll want to discover how they learn to cope with inevitable changes to their lives. It is a good read, and definitely worth your time.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shane Kiely

    Book 3 of Destiny's Children is both a sequel & a prequel to books 1 & 2. Unlike the first book, this time around the separate timelines are more intrinsically interlinked. It's got probably the most sophisticated plot of the series so far, but it's probably the least compelling, it's still an interesting to see how everything resolves itself but Coalescent & Exultant appealed to me more. The ideas espoused are interesting but complex & I found my mind did tend to drift occasionally. The charact Book 3 of Destiny's Children is both a sequel & a prequel to books 1 & 2. Unlike the first book, this time around the separate timelines are more intrinsically interlinked. It's got probably the most sophisticated plot of the series so far, but it's probably the least compelling, it's still an interesting to see how everything resolves itself but Coalescent & Exultant appealed to me more. The ideas espoused are interesting but complex & I found my mind did tend to drift occasionally. The characters can be a little difficult to like at times. It's still very strong book that inspires thought it just isn't quite up to the level of it's forebears in my opinion though definitely worth a read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Betsey

    Baxter is definitely getting better & better. I thought the characters in this book were better developed than in other books, but the story line was a little thin for the length of the book. I'm impressed by Baxter's ability to work out cute little details and link them together over a long series. I always wonder how authors do that - if they take notes or what. Anyway, this was another one of the Baxter's climate change books. I got a little tired of reading the details of global warming & it Baxter is definitely getting better & better. I thought the characters in this book were better developed than in other books, but the story line was a little thin for the length of the book. I'm impressed by Baxter's ability to work out cute little details and link them together over a long series. I always wonder how authors do that - if they take notes or what. Anyway, this was another one of the Baxter's climate change books. I got a little tired of reading the details of global warming & it's effects, but some details were interesting.

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