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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
From Stephen Baxter, author of consciousness-raising hard science fiction epics like Evolution, The Light of Other Days (co-written with Arthur C. Clarke), and the Manifold trilogy (Manifold Time, Manifold Space, and Manifold Origin), comes a disturbing look at a decidedly inhuman humankind 25,000 years in the future.
As the story begins, humankind is deadlocked in a war for control of the galaxy that has dragged on for thousands of years. The enemy, the utterly alien Xeelee, have been driven back to a massive black hole at the galaxy's core. But after countless generations of bloodshed, human ideologies have become static and unchanging. Selective breeding programs have created endless generations of child soldiers who are "hatched," indoctrinated, trained, and sent off to be killed by the millions. But when a pilot named Pirius -- disobeying orders -- captures an alien spaceship, victory may finally be at hand.
It's not surprising that since Baxter burst onto the scene in the late 1980s, he has been called the next coming of Arthur C. Clarke. As Clarke reinvigorated -- and in a sense, redefined -- hard science fiction in the 1970s with internationally bestselling works like Rendezvous with Rama, Imperial Earth, and The Fountains of Paradise, so has Baxter expanded the boundaries of the genre in the 21st century with wildly speculative epics like Coalescent and Exultant. Baxter's singular brilliance comes in his ability to make a story based on complex scientific theories -- quantum psychics, in particular -- both readable and compelling. Exultant is one of those rare and powerful books that will forever change the way readers look at the world. Simply put: mind-blowing. Paul Goat Allen