Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter
Narrated by John Lee
Blackstone Audio, 10.5 hours

Arthur C. Clarke
Born in 1917 in Minehead, Somerset, England, he lived in Sri Lanka from 1956 until his death in 2008, Arthur C. Clarke was best known for his 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), based on his short story "Sentinel of Eternity." His Against the Fall of Night (1948) and Childhood's End (1953) are also among his best-known titles. Clarke was voted Grand Master at the 1986 Nebula Awards. His short story "The Star" (1955) won him a Hugo award, as did the movie adaptation of 2001. A writer of hard SF, though not without some elements of mysticism, Clarke also wrote a large volume of science-popularizing non-fiction for which he won UNESCO's Kalinga Prize (1962) and a non-fiction International Fantasy Award in 1972 (for The Exploration of Space). Clarke also received many honours from the scientific community, in particular for his work in the development of today's geosynchronous communication satellites.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Time's Eye
SF Site Review: The Other Side of the Sky
SF Site Review: Childhood's End
SF Site Review: The Collected Stories
SF Site Review: The Fountains of Paradise
SF Site Review: The Light Of Other Days
SF Site Review: The Light Of Other Days
SF Site Review: Profiles of the Future
SF Site Review: Arthur C. Clarke & Lord Dunsany: A Correspondence
Arthur C. Clarke Tribute Site
Arthur C. Clarke Tribute Site

Stephen Baxter
Stephen Baxter was born in 1957 and was raised in Liverpool. He studied mathematics at Cambridge and got a PhD from Southampton. He worked in information technology and lives in Buckinghamshire, England. His first story, "The Xeelee Flower," was published in Interzone 19.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Coalescent
SF Site Review: Phase Space
SF Site Review: Reality Dust
SF Site Review: The Time Ships
SF Site Review: Origin
SF Site Review: Origin
SF Site Review: Longtusk and Deep Future
SF Site Review: Manifold: Space
SF Site Review: Longtusk
SF Site Review: Vacuum Diagrams
SF Site Review: Titan

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven Brandt

Sunstorm On June 9, 2037, a major solar event occurred. All across the planet Earth, people experienced electrical blackouts, communications outages, and all other manner of electronic disruption. At a monitoring station on the moon, a Russian scientist registered the event and he and his colleague began investigating the matter. The results of the study were at once astounding and terrifying. The electronic interruptions experienced on Earth were found to be merely a precursor to a more devastating event that was yet to come. The upcoming sunstorm would be so powerful that the entire planet would be sterilized. The date of the event was calculated to be April of 2042. The planet Earth, and the human race, had five years left to live.

A council of some of the top scientists on the planet is called, and the experts gather on the moon to discuss options. The best idea they can come up with is a gigantic space-ship, a generation ark, upon which Earth's legacy could be saved in hopes of finding a new planet to inhabit. That seems to be the best plan, until Earth's A.I., Aristotle, comes up with the idea of a shield.

The idea is accepted and work begins immediately. All the powerful nations of the Earth band together, with the exception of China, which seems to be working on some secret plan of its own. The moon base is quickly expanded with new manufacturing facilities so the components of the shield can be built and launched from the lower gravity, thereby saving time, energy, and money. The finished shield will have to be massive, nearly 13,000 kilometers wide, big enough to protect the entire planet from the majority of the solar energy, and they have less than five years to complete it.

But wait, there's more! Eugene Mangles, the most brilliant mind on the planet since Einstein, according to his colleagues, makes an even more disturbing discovery. Through his investigations, he has learned that the recent solar activity is no accident, but the result of a gigantic planet, fifteen times larger than Jupiter, crashing into the sun more than 2,000 years ago. Not only that, but by tracing the path of the rogue planet backwards, Eugene determines that this collision was no coincidence, the gas giant was deliberately launched at our sun from another star system. If Earth survives the sunstorm, it appears humanity will still have an impossibly powerful enemy to contend with.

Sunstorm is the second book in the Time Odyssey series by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. In book one, we learned of the First Born, a sentient race far more advanced than our own. Now the authors have revealed that First Born is an appropriate name for them since they were literally the first sentient race, born at the very dawn of our universe. Through a series of startling events, Clarke and Baxter show us that there are factions within the race of the First Born, one faction that apparently doesn't want to share the universe with another race, and another faction that disagrees with the first. This is kind of a secondary plot, but it really serves to increase the tension throughout the story.

Narrator John Lee does an adequate job, although he's not my favorite. His dialects sound pretty good, but there's not a lot of differentiation between characters. Also, I find that his voice can become monotonous at times making it hard to pay attention.

A Time Odyssey is turning out to be an exciting series of audiobooks. The main plot of each of the first two books was mildly interesting, but the sub-plot of the First Born has really caught my attention. Clarke and Baxter have one more book in the series, First Born, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Copyright © 2011 Steven Brandt

Steven Brandt spends most of his waking hours listening to audiobooks and reviewing them for his blog, Audiobook Heaven. When not reading or reviewing, Steven is usually playing the saxophone for the entertainment and amusement of his family.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide