A hard-SF saga set against the background of the birth of the solar system, and based on the latest planetary science: a human story of loss and salvation
In the year 2570, a sleeper will wake . . .
In the mid-21st century, the Kernel, a strange object on a five-hundred-year-orbit, is detected coming from high above the plane of the solar system. Could it be an alien artefact? In the middle of climate-change crises, there is no mood for space-exploration stunts - but Reid Malenfant, elderly, once a shuttle pilot and frustrated would-be asteroid miner, decides to go take a look anyway. Nothing more is heard of him. But his ex-wife, Emma Stoney, sets up a trust fund to search for him the next time the Kernel returns . . .
By 2570 Earth is transformed. A mere billion people are supported by advanced technology on a world that is almost indistinguishable from the natural, with recovered forests, oceans, ice caps. It is not an age for expansion; there are only small science bases beyond the Earth. But this is a world you would want to live in: a Star Trek without the stars.
After 500 years the Kernel returns, and a descendant of Stoney, who Malenfant will call Emma II, mounts a mission to see what became of Malenfant. She finds him still alive, cryo-preserved . . . His culture-shock encounter with a conservative future is entertaining . . . But the Kernel itself turns out to be attached to a kind of wormhole, through which Malenfant and Emma II, exploring further, plummet back in time, across five billion years . . .
gripping science fiction utilising big concepts and backed by brilliant writing - Starburst Magazine
Grown up SF, a masterpiece from a star who shines as bright as any "mainstream" author - Sun
Baxter is the natural heir to the hard sci-fi crown of Arthur C. Clarke and he shares Clarke's generous imagination and ability to extrapolate a plausible future technology from the cutting-edge theories of today. Imaginative appeal is what counts with Baxter and in that he delivers reliably - Daily Telegraph
Stephen Baxter is the pre-eminent SF writer of his generation. With Terry Pratchett he has co-authored the Long Earth novels. Published around the world he has also won major awards in the UK, US, Germany, and Japan. Born in 1957 he has degrees from Cambridge and Southampton. He lives in Northumberland with his wife.
Visit Stephen Baxter's website at www.stephen-baxter.com.