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Titan
     

Titan

3.3 28
by Stephen Baxter
 

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Humankind's greatest--and last--adventure!

Possible signs of organic life have been found on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. A group of visionaries led by NASA's Paula Benacerraf plan a daring one-way mission that will cost them everything. Taking nearly a decade, the billion-mile voyage includes a "slingshot" transit of Venus, a

Overview

Humankind's greatest--and last--adventure!

Possible signs of organic life have been found on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. A group of visionaries led by NASA's Paula Benacerraf plan a daring one-way mission that will cost them everything. Taking nearly a decade, the billion-mile voyage includes a "slingshot" transit of Venus, a catastrophic solar storm, and a constant struggle to keep the ship and crew functioning. But it is on the icy surface of Titan itself that the true adventure begins. In the orange methane slush the astronauts will discover the secret of life's origins and reach for a human destiny beyond their wildest dreams.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
Baxter is the most exciting new hard science fiction writer in years, and seems well-positioned to inherit the mantle of Arthur C. Clarke. His earlier novels have ranged from Wellsian Victorian novels to far-future hard SF to realistic reimaginings of the space program. Titan is his most unusual novel yet -- starting with a near-future proposal by a desperate and underfunded NASA to send a one-way manned expedition to the moon Titan, where there may be signs of life. But before it's over, it takes the reader through a whole series of adventures, from a frightening fundamentalist dystopia in the U.S. to a distant future parable of evolution. It's fair to say that few readers will have any clue of what's coming next in this ambitious novel.
New Scientist
Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein succeeded . . . and now Stephen Baxter joins their exclusive ranks, writing science fiction in which the science is right. A sheer pleasure to read!

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062093677
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/07/2011
Series:
NASA Trilogy , #2
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
688
Sales rank:
546,878
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Book One

Landing

As the pilots prepared for the landing, Columbia's flight deck took on the air of a little cave, Benacerraf thought, a cave glowing with the light of the crew's fluorescent glareshields, and of -Earth. Despite promises of upgrades, this wasn't like a modern airliner, with its "glass" cockpit of computer displays. The battleship-gray walls were encrusted'-with switches and instruments that shone, white and yellow with internal light, though the surfaces in which they were embedded were battered and scuffed with age. There was even an eight-ball attitude indicator, right in front of Tom Lamb; like something out of World War Two; and he hadcontrols the Wright brothers would have recognized: pedals at his feet, a joystick between his legs.

There was a constant, high-pitched whir, of, environment control pumps and fans.

Lamb, sitting in Columbia's left-hand commander's seat, punched the deorbit coast mode program into the keyboard to his right. Benacerraf, sitting behind the pilots in the Flight Engineer's jump seat, followed his keystrokes. OPS 301 PRO Right. Now he began to check the burn target parameters.

Bill Angel, Columbia's pilot, was sitting on the right-hand side of the flight deck. "I hate snapping switches," he said. "Here we are in a new millennium and we still have to snap switches." He grinned, a little tightly. It was his first flight, and now he was coming up to his first landing. And, she thought, it showed.

Lamb smiled, without turning his head. "Give me a break," he said evenly "I'm still tying to get used to fly by wire."

"Still missing that old prop wash, huh, Tom?"

"Yougot it."

Amid the bull, the two of them began to prepare the OMSorbital maneuvering engines for their deorbit thrusting. Lamb and Angel worked through their checklist competently and calmly: Lamb with his dark, almost Italian looks, flecked now with gray, and Angel the classic WASP military type, with a round, blond head, shaven at the neck, eyes as blue as windows.

Benacerraf was kitted out for the landing, in her altitude protection suit with its oxygen equipment, parachutes, life-raft and survival equipment. She was strapped to her seat, a frame of metal and canvas. Her helmet visor was closed.

She had felt safe on orbit, cocooned by the Shuttle's humming systems and whirring fans. Even the energies of launch had become a remote memory. But now it was time to come home. Now, rocket engines had to burn to knock Columbia out of orbit, and then the orbiter would become a simple glider, shedding its huge orbital energy in a fall through the atmosphere thousands of miles long, relying on its power units to work its aerosurfaces.

They would get one try only. Columbia had no fuel for a second attempt.

Benacerraf folded her hands in her lap, and watched the pilots, following her own copy of the checklist, boredom competing with apprehension. It was, she thought, like going over the lip of the world's biggest roller-coaster.

On the morning of I Columbia's landing at Edwards, Jake Hadamard flew into LAX.

An Agency limousine was waiting for him, and he was driven out through the rectangular-grid suburbs of LA, across the San Gabriel Mountains, and into the Mojave. His driver—a college, kid from UCLA. earning her way through an aeronautics degree seemed excited to have NASA's Administrator in the back of her car, and she wanted to talk, find out how he felt about the landing today, the latest Station delays, the future of humans in space.

Hadamard was able to shut her down within a few minutes, and get on with the paperwork in his briefcase.

He was fifty-two. And he, knew that with his brushed-backsilver-blond hair, his high forehead and his cold blue eyes-augmented by the steel-rimmed spectacles he favoured—hecould look chilling, a whiplash-thin power from the inner circles of government. Which was how he thought of himself.

The paperwork—contained in a softscreen which heunfolded over his knees-was all about next year's budget. submission for the Agency. What else? Hadamard had beenAdministrator for three years now, and every one of thoseyears, almost all his energy had been devoted to preparing thebudget submission: trying to coax some kind of reasonable dataand projections out of the temperamental assholes who ranNASA's centers, then forcing it through the White House, andthrough its submission to Congress, and all the complex negotiations that followed, before the final cuts were agreed.

And that was always the nature of it, of course: cuts.

Hadarnard understood that.

Jake Hadamard, NASA Administrator, wasn't any kind of engineer, or aerospace nut. He'd risen to the board. of a multinational, supplier of commodity staples-basic foodstuffs, bathroom paper, soap and shampoo. High-volume, low differentiation; you made your profit by driving down costs, and keeping your prices the lowest in the marketplace. Hadamard had achieved just, that by a process of ruthless vertical integration and horizontal acquisition.He hadn't made himself popular with the unions and the, welfare groups. But he sure was popular with the shareholders.

After that he'd taken on Microsoft, after that company had fallen on. hard times, and Bill Gates was finally deposed and sent. off to dream. his Disneyland dreams. By cost-cutting, rationalization and excising a lot of Gates's dumber, more expensive fantasies—and by, ruthlessly using Microsoft's widespread presence to exclude the competition, so smartly and subtly that the antitrust suits never had a chance to keep up Hadarnard had taken Microsoft back to massive profit within a couple of years.

What People are Saying About This

Arthur C. Clarke
"A major new talent!"

Meet the Author

Stephen Baxter is an acclaimed, multiple-award-winning author whose many books include the Xeelee Sequence series, the Time Odyssey trilogy (written with Arthur C. Clarke), and The Time Ships, a sequel to H. G. Wells's classic The Time Machine. He lives in England.

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Titan (NASA Series #2) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story is bland. E-version is filled with typos. Bad editing job in the conversion.
Ray_Warren More than 1 year ago
Baxter writes about Nasa as if he were an insider!! He does complete research and presents what could be story killing technical data in the framework of his novels, as entertaining, page turning excitement. This Ebook does suffer from a bad porting, constant typos, but I didn't let that bother me, loved the story!
Susan Kendrick More than 1 year ago
...or lack of proof reading?
macon phillips More than 1 year ago
The+typographic+errors+in+this+volume+are+terrible%21%0AIt%27s+as+if+it+was+typed+by+a+chimp.+%28No+offense+intended+to+the+primate.%29+This+is+a+major+publishing+house.+Act+like+it.+Proofread+your+stuff+after+sending+it+to+be+typed+in+Upper+Slobovia.++%28I+really+love+the+use+of+%22de%22+for+almost+every+%22lle%22.+%0Aie%3A+shuttde%2C+littde+etc...+I+did+not+know+that+you+were+going+to+fly+your+%22littde+shuttde%22+to+titan.%0AThis+sucks.%0AM
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Forget the content. This book in ePub format gives the impression of having been scanned by a first generation scanner with no error correction. I'm tired of mistakes like: "Hut Sagan's talk" instead of But Sagan's talk, "Hadamard was no space butt" instead of Hadamard was no space buff; "It the big one had ever come" instead of If the big one had ever come. Miserable production.
Bkark More than 1 year ago
I am looking to purchase this e book for my Nook First Edition, 1-12-13. Have they fixed the typo's in the e-book yet?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*walks in*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Hey boyfrieeennddd."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nods. "Now get rid of that so we wont be followed." Disappears.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah... i thought so
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ITS HUGE!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love reading Stephen Baxters books. That said I could not finish this one due to all the errors in the book. I personally fell like I got ripped off when I bought it. I asked for my money back, but received NO response from BN. DO NOT PURCHASE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would like my money back A weak plot was absolutely ruined by typos The other books in the series held my interest This one might have, but I quit reading at the 3/4 point Have never seen something so unprofessional from a major publishing company or B&N
Nom_de_Plume0 More than 1 year ago
The Story is a great read. By all means by the book. However, the ebook is filled with so many typographical errors it slows the pace of the book and is unacceptable. You are paying $8 for words on a "page". There is a level of expectation that the words should at least be spelled correctly. Imagine buying a printed book with as many typos as this ebook . You would be quite upset I am sure. So do yourself a favor and pass over this ebook. Buy the paperback version and enjoy the great story. I give the story a 3 1/2 but the ebook I give a -2.5. Do the math, buy the paperback instead. Major failure for those of us who like to read on our Nook
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story is a good sci-fi read, though frustrating. Whoever transcribe the paper pages to e-book format did a lousy job. There are 2 to 4, or more typos or misspellings on EVERY page. Several times I couldn't even figure out what a paragraph was about because of so many errors. The word "if", for example, was spelled "it" every time. And that was the least of it. Before a book is released in e-book format, it should be proof-read!
bmmikee More than 1 year ago
Sadly this wasn't available for the nook when I read it. Overall though I really enjoyed everything about it. I'm not too sure why its getting negative reviews.
John_M_in_MD More than 1 year ago
The first book in the series, Voyage, is one of my favorite SF books. That in mind I got Titan. What a train wreck. The writing is two-dimensional at best, the ending contrived an ridiculous - resurrected after how many billion years??? The plot had some promised but just disintegrated under its own preposterousness. I don't mind the science speculation, but an X-15 pilot still in the service as a Major, when by average age he would be well over 60 at the time of the novel? Get a grip! Add to that that while he insists on having US main characters Baxter's command of North American dialect is severely limited - Americans dropping UK idioms everywhere - and the whole thing is just unreadable. What a disappointment.
Patricc More than 1 year ago
Stephen Baxter continues to give us all good reasons to leave the planet. In this novel he focuses on the anti-science politics of religious politicians, throws in the error prone Chinese, destroys planet earth, seeds Titan, and tacks on a semi miraculous happy ending. All of Baxter's novels seem to provide one more good reason humanity should get off earth. In this case, bad science combines with bad political decisions to eradicate humanity. Great book for watching meteor showers. It does speak to the reality that Mother Earth generally ends up eating her children. The only sane response is to leave home soon. The individuals that we follow to Titan still seem a bit thin and incomplete. Of course, that would be true of almost all fictional characters. They are lopsided to illustrate the author's point of view. The good news with a Baxter novel is that you never have to endure the character for too long. They all get to die by the end of the story (except for the miraculous ending).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I¿m not a fan of hard sci-fi novels, but I thought I would give this one a try. As I expected, there were parts of the book which were heavy on science and a bit dull to read. The ending is a bit unexpected and dives more into the fantasy realm than hard science fiction. Overall, for an average Joe like me, it was an interesting read that shed a bit of light on the technical aspects of interplanetary travel and is concurrent with recent scientific findings involving Titan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An interesting concept about the search for life, and finding it... A little hard to believe in the end, but hey, that's what the fiction part of science fiction is for.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read Baxter's 'Voyage' and I could not stand it. It had too much to do with politics and not enough with the mission. I was reluctant to give Titan a try. I convinced myself to give Stephen Baxter another chance and I am glad I did. I had trouble putting it down. It is not pessimistic about the space program, it simply tells the truth that some peple find hard to sswallow. The fiction mixes very well with the fact. I recomend it for those who are 2001 fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whoo... she says sarcasticly
Guest More than 1 year ago
When you first start reading the book, it apppears really promising. But then it moves on rapidly to be downright boring and finally at the end, downright crazy. I found the idea to use the pre-existing shuttles to go to saturn to be really, really, REALLY unbelieveable. But if you want stuff that's REALLY unbelieveable, wait till you get to the end of the book. The pessimistic outlook of the future of the space program, and the human race in general was written and backed up well, but I dislike reading or even thinking about such a future. I can't offer more then a single star for this book.