Manifold: Time (Manifold Series #1)

( 98 )

Overview

The year is 2010. More than a century of ecological damage, industrial and technological expansion, and unchecked population growth has left the Earth on the brink of devastation. As the world's governments turn inward, one man dares to envision a bolder, brighter future. That man, Reid Malenfant, has a very different solution to the problems plaguing the planet: the exploration and colonization of space. Now Malenfant gambles the very existence of time on a single desperate throw of the dice. Battling national ...
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Overview

The year is 2010. More than a century of ecological damage, industrial and technological expansion, and unchecked population growth has left the Earth on the brink of devastation. As the world's governments turn inward, one man dares to envision a bolder, brighter future. That man, Reid Malenfant, has a very different solution to the problems plaguing the planet: the exploration and colonization of space. Now Malenfant gambles the very existence of time on a single desperate throw of the dice. Battling national sabotage and international outcry, as apocalyptic riots sweep the globe, he builds a spacecraft and launches it into deep space. The odds are a trillion to one against him. Or are they?
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"REMARKABLE . . . INTRIGUING . . . FAST-PACED."
--The Washington Post

"Reading Manifold: Time is like sending your mind to the gym for a brisk workout. If you don't feel both exhausted and exhilarated when you're done, you haven't been working hard enough."
--The New York Times Book Review

"A STAGGERING NOVEL! If you ever thought you understood time, you'll be quickly disillusioned when you read Manifold: Time."
--SIR ARTHUR C. CLARKE

Don D'Ammassa
As always, Baxter plays with space and time with consummate skill, giving us two separate but related plots and a large cast of interesting characters. He continues to be one of the leading writers of hard science fiction.
Science Fiction Chronicle
KLIATT
When Earth cannot sustain its population, what's the alternative? Reid Malenfant thinks the future lies in resource-rich asteroids. Bypassing government regulations, the controversial billionaire builds and launches an exploratory spacecraft, navigated by a genetically enhanced cephalopod (squid) named Sheena. In the meantime, several other individuals deal with Earth's problems and Reid's actions: doomsday extremists, government officials, and a strange group of genetically different children. Matters really come to a head when Sheena spawns children on the asteroid, and the offspring surpass their mother's intelligence and nearly consume the asteroid. The prodigy children are imprisoned because society is afraid of their abilities; in turn, the children revolt and escape to the Moon. Again, Reid decides to take the situation into his own control, and convinces his ex-wife to accompany him to the asteroid—and later to the moon. In the process, they find that time itself is more elastic than ever imagined, and destiny can't be controlled any more than individuals. So, okay, the reader has to do some major suspension of belief, and some minor characters lack depth. Still, the author plants enough ideas and action to sustain the reader's attention. Nominated for the 2000 Arthur C. Clarke Award, this SF story would make a good movie. Recommended for older readers. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Ballantine/Del Rey, 474p, 18cm, 00-108754, $6.99. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Dr. Lesley S. J. Farmer; Lib. Media/Teacher Svcs., Cal. State University, Long Beach, CA, March 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 2)
Library Journal
Former astronaut Reid Malenfant travels to the moon, now a colony of Japan, to meet with a woman who presents him with evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence and offers him the chance of a lifetime--to explore the origins of life in the universe. Revisiting themes and characters from Manifold: Time (LJ 12/99), Baxter embarks on an ambitious tale that spans the stars. He balances the individual stories of his human protagonists against the panoramic scale of his setting in a landmark work of cosmic speculation that belongs in most libraries. Highly recommended. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Richard Parks
Stephen Baxter's Time is presented as the first book in a set of three, with the overall title Manifold. Baxter proposes to consider some heavyweight questions: the nature of time, the purpose of life, that sort of thing. Since none of us does—or, at this point, can—know the answers, the only thing left to consider is how well the questions are asked, and how interesting and fun are the speculations....Somehow I have little doubt that Baxter's got it all worked out, and I admit to being curious about what might come next. Until then, you could do worse than taking this part of the trip now.
Science fiction Age
David Mead
Manifold Time is a very interesting hard science fiction work by an author of real talent who has a strong grasp on the scientific ideas he explores and who conveys them very effectively.
The New York Review of Science Fiction
Peter Heck
Baxter is the real deal-possibly the best of several current writers who are working to bring the material of classic SF into a new century. Check him out. Asimov's Science Fiction
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345430762
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/1/2000
  • Series: Manifold Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 277,273
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge (mathematics) and Southampton Universities (doctorate in aeroengineering research). He has worked with Rolls Royce Ltd., and at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, U.K. In his research, Baxter visited NASA launch centers, viewed a shuttle launch, and interviewed both a NASA mission controller and an astronaut. He also conducted extensive research into the history of NASA, scientific studies of Mars, astronauts, and other key players.

As an acclaimed author, Stephen Baxter is the winner of both The British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, as well as being a nominee for an Arthur C. Clarke Award and a Hugo Award. His novel Voyage won the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History Novel of the Year; he also won the John W. Campbell Award and the Philip K. Dick Award for his novel The Time Ships.

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Read an Excerpt

Reid Malenfant   You know me. And you know I'm a space cadet.

You know I've campaigned for, among other things, private mining expeditions to the asteroids. In fact, in the past I've tried to get you to pay for such things. I've bored you with that often enough already, right?

So tonight I want to look a little farther out. Tonight I want to tell you why I care so much about this issue that I devoted my life to it.

The world isn't big enough any more. You don't need me to stand here and tell you that. We could all choke to death, be extinct in a hundred years.

Or we could be on our way to populating the Galaxy.

Yes, the Galaxy. Want me to tell you how?

Turns out it's all a question of economics.

Let's say we set out to the stars. We might use ion rockets, solar sails, gravity assists. It doesn't matter.

We'll probably start as we have in the Solar System, with automated probes. Humans may follow. One percent of the helium-3 fusion fuel available from the planet Uranus, for example, would be enough to send a giant interstellar ark, each ark containing a billion people, to every star in the Galaxy. But it may be cheaper for the probes to manufacture humans in situ, using cell synthesis and artificial womb technology.

The first wave will be slow, no faster than we can afford. It doesn't matter. Not in the long term.

When the probe reaches a new system, it phones home, and starts to build.

Here is the heart of the strategy. A target system, we assume, is uninhabited. We can therefore anticipate massive exploitation of the system's resources, without restraint, by the probe. Such resources are useless for any other purpose, and are therefore economically free to us.

I thought you'd enjoy that line. There's nothing an entre- preneur likes more than the sound of the word free.

More probes will be built and launched from each of the first wave of target stars. The probes will reach new targets; and again, more probes will be spawned, and fired onward. The volume covered by the probes will grow rapidly, like the expansion of gas into a vacuum.

Our ships will spread along the spiral arm, along lanes rich with stars, farming the Galaxy for humankind.

Once started, the process will be self-directing, self-financing. It would take, the double-domes think, ten to a hundred million years for the colonization of the Galaxy to be completed in this manner. But we must invest merely in the cost of the initial generation of probes.

Thus the cost of colonizing the Galaxy will be less, in real terms, than that of our Apollo program of fifty years ago.

This vision isn't mine alone. It isn't original. The rocket pioneer Robert Goddard wrote an essay in 1918--ninety-two years ago--called The Ultimate Migration, in which he imagined space arks built from asteroid materials carrying our far-future descendants away from the death of the sun. The engineering detail has changed; the essence of the vision hasn't.

We can do this. If we succeed, we will live forever.

The alternative is extinction.

And, people, when we're gone, we're gone.

As far as we can see we're alone, in an indifferent universe. We see no sign of intelligence anywhere away from Earth. We may  be the first. Perhaps we're the last. It took so long for the Solar System to evolve intelligence it seems unlikely there will be others, ever.

If we fail, then the failure is for all time. If we die, mind and consciousness and soul die with us: hope and dreams and love, everything that makes us human. There will be nobody even to mourn us.

To be the first is an awesome responsibility. It's a responsibility we must grasp.

I am offering you a practical route to an infinite future for humankind, a future of unlimited potential. Someday, you know it, I'll come back to you again for money: seedcorn money, that's all, so we can take a first step--self-financing even in the medium term--beyond the bounds of Earth. But I want you to see why I'll be doing that. Why I must.

We can do this. We will do this. We're on our own. It's up to us.

This is just the beginning. Join me.

Thank you.

Michael

This is what I have learned, Malenfant. This is how it is, how it was, how it came to be.

In the afterglow of the Big Bang, humans spread in waves across the universe, sprawling and brawling and breeding and dying and evolving. There were wars, there was love, there was life and death. Minds flowed together in great rivers of consciousness, or shattered in sparkling droplets. There was immortality to be had, of a sort, a continuity of identity through replication and confluence across billions upon billions of years.

Everywhere they found life.

Nowhere did they find mind--save what they brought with them or created--no other against which human advancement could be tested.

With time, the stars died like candles. But humans fed on bloated gravitational fat, and achieved a power undreamed of in earlier ages.

They learned of other universes from which theirs had evolved. Those earlier, simpler realities too were empty of mind, a branching tree of emptiness reaching deep into the hyperpast.

It is impossible to understand what minds of that age--the peak of humankind, a species hundreds of billions of times older than humankind--were like. They did not seek to acquire, not to breed, not even to learn. They had nothing in common with us, their ancestors of the afterglow.

Nothing but the will to survive. And even that was to be denied them by time.

The universe aged: indifferent, harsh, hostile, and ultimately lethal.

There was despair and loneliness.

There was an age of war, an obliteration of trillion-year memories, a bonfire of identity. There was an age of suicide, as the finest of humanity chose self-destruction against further purposeless time and struggle.

The great rivers of mind guttered and dried.

But some persisted: just a tributary, the stubborn, still unwilling to yield to the darkness, to accept the increasing confines of a universe growing inexorably old.

And, at last, they realized that this was wrong. It wasn't supposed to have been like this.

Burning the last of the universe's resources, the final downstreamers--dogged, all but insane--reached to the deepest past. And--oh.

Watch the Moon, Malenfant. Watch the Moon. It's starting--

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 98 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(37)

3 Star

(24)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 99 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 17, 2012

    Space is one of my favorite science fiction novels and led me to

    Space is one of my favorite science fiction novels and led me to explore the other books in Baxter's Manifold series. The books are individual stories and they can be read in any order though i feel Space has the edge over the others. While Time is an equally epic story, i found the enormous distances covered in Space easier to comprehend than the vast eons outlined in Time.

    Baxter's characters, both human and robotic, are engaging. His story telling is compelling. On top of this Baxter has the ability to describe the complexities of science in a way that makes it both comprehensible and fascinating. 5 stars.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2003

    mind blowing ending!

    This story is one of the most vivid books I have read this year. It takes sci-fi to a whole new level, with Baxter's great imagination and writing skills.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2000

    MANIFOLD: TIME

    The end of the world, or, merely, the end of life as we know it, has been one of man's greatest fears. Author Stephen Baxter's MANIFOLD: TIME does not exploit nor hide behind such dire threats. Rather, Baxter uses this most human concern as a catalyst for his action-based novel, demonstrating that man's survival instinct is so great that it bears the potential to transcend time. Told in the near-distant future and centering around a diverse group of characters (the rogue space hero; the independent, yet dutiful ex-wife; the politician with a conscience; the seemingly mad mathematician; the genius child; and the brain-enhanced squid), MANIFOLD: TIME is a story spanning so many levels, you'll be thinking about it long after you've turned the last page!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2000

    WHAT AN ENDING!

    Stephen Baxter's intriguing book provides a new view to predicting Earth's end. His style of writing, although a bit slow at times, allows the characters to develop to bring the story to its irreversible end, and what an ending it is. I am impressed by Baxter's creativity. For an author with such an extensive technical background he goes beyond that call to incorporate simplicity to the scientific material and to explore the depth and interaction of his characters leading to earth's outcome without being humdrum! A most enjoyable book, well written and would recommend it to all sci-fi buffs who really want food for thought. Ceridwen 'C.J.' Johnson Toronto, Canada

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2013

    Slow start but then....Wham!!!

    I am an lover of what feels like a dying art...well written and thought-out hard science fiction.

    I loved this book!!

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  • Posted July 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Not the best of the series but a good read

    Enjoyed the other Manifold books immensely. Origin was good, but not the best. I enjoyed the other two better, but this is worth a read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2009

    What happens to the squid?!

    Right up until the end, I felt like I'd read this story before (A.C. Clarke, Rbt Heinlen), but then Baxter walloped me with the plot twist. I will probably read the rest of the series but mostly it's to find out what happens to the squid.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2002

    Great book.

    This series is definitely worth reading.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2002

    Good Book, Great Ideas, Okay writing.

    'Manifold: Time' exposes its audience to an abundance of popular neo-science ideas such as space&time travel, genetics, and black holes. The story is original in it's exploration of these ideas but the plot has some similarities to Sir Clark's '...2001' saga that took away from my enjoyment of reading the book. Mr. Baxter is a mathematician and scientist first; his ideas are exciting, clear and manages to be very convincing for a fiction novel. However, Mr. Baxter as a writer is not a captivating storyteller and his book suffers from it. In between the fast paced, fun bits are a few slow moving trivial sub plots (that go NOWHERE). I'm also very concerned by the way 'Manifold: Time' concludes and what the other two Manifold books promise; The questions keep coming, without much answers. Overall; Recommended only to those who enjoy neo-science and expect to good spend time learning a few new things. 'Manifold: Time' is a good book that should be better, however Mr. Baxter still has two more Manifolds to get it perfect!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fascinating complex science fiction

    Reid Malenfant has wanted to be an astronaut since he was a little boy. When NASA accepted him into the space program as a pilot, he was ecstatic. He flew a few missions and was a great spokesperson for the agency until he was scrubbed from his latest assignment. <P>While flying with his wife Emma over Africa in a T-38, he saw a new red moon appear in the sky. Emma and Reid eject from the plane but while he floats back to Earth, Emma floats through a blue wheel that suddenly appears and lands her on the new moon. Not expecting help to arrive anytime soon Emma does her best to survive, learning many shocking facts about the human race along the way. Reid, in the meantime, mounts a public outcry to allow him to visit the red moon and get his wife back. <P> This final installment in the Manifold series is a fascinating tale that delves into multiple dimensions, the evolution of mankind and the true reality of the Red Moon. The emphasis in this science fiction novel is the science and Stephen Baxter does a fabulous job of keeping this work realistic within the framework of modern technologies and astrophysics. <P>Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2000

    A romp through space and time

    Manifold:Time is a well paced, well thought out adventure through some of the more esoteric conceptions found in the outskirts of modern physics. The characters, and in particular the main character, who is a entrepeneur in the best sense of the word, for such an idea driven plot, are well developed. The author extrapolates a near term future in which NASA is a strangled bureacracy and the world is beginning to collapse, and without space based material, the world will not be able to continue to expand. Then an artifact is discovered, and perceptions about the world change. In order not to give too much of the plot away, I won't mention each of the different technical devices used, but I particularly like the concept of (I think it was called) Feynman transfer, where messages from the future might be beamed to the present, if only we were able to detect them. I found less persuasive the use of, essentially, Bayesian statistics with relation to extrapolations of population growth and human survival, since such ad hoc assumptions are approximately as accurate as the 7 day outlook on the weather for the seventh day. As a final point, I liked the symetry, similiar to that found in 'The weapon shops of Isher', where events set in motion in the present can affect other parts of time and space, perhaps even in creative and wonderful ways.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2000

    Earns the accolade of 'the next Clarke.'

    While the main character, Reid Malenfant, seems at time to be nothing more than a foil for other characters, the plot and ideas more than make up for this slight detraction. A facinating look that combines various ideas from as far back as twenty years ago. Very reminisicent of '2001' in its sense of wonder. But since it is a substantially larger book, the ideas are bigger and more numerous. Baxter's predictions of the future are disquieting because of how logical he has extrapolated his ideas. A near flawless science fiction novel.

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    Posted December 13, 2009

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    Posted January 5, 2010

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    Posted November 5, 2012

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