A sequel to Sir Arthur C. Clarke's Nebula Award-winning novella A Meeting with Medusa, this novel is a continuation of the thrilling adventure of astronaut Howard Falcon, humanity's first explorer of Jupiter, from two modern science fiction masters.
Howard Falcon almost lost his life in an accident as the first human astronaut to explore the atmosphere of Jupiter - and a combination of human ingenuity and technical expertise brought him back. But he is no longer himself. Instead he has been changed into an augmented human: part man, part machine, and exceptionally capable.
With permission from the Clarke estate, Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds continue this beloved writer's enduring vision and have created a fresh story for new listeners. The Medusa Chronicles charts Falcon's journey through the centuries granted by his new body but always goes back to the mysteries of Jupiter and the changing interaction between humanity and the universe. A compelling listen full of incredible action right from the beginning, this is a modern classic in the spirit of 2001 and The Martian.
©2016 Stephen Baxter & Alastair Reynolds (P)2016 Simon & Schuster Audio
At about 5 chapters in, I was seriously considering stopping. I couldn't believe this was written by Reynolds, it was so slow and clumsy.
However, I stuck with it, and am glad I did. In there end this book is as mind expanding as any of his other books.
The Medusa Chronicles, a joint effort by Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter is a follow-on story to a 1971 Arthur C Clarke short (A Meeting with Medusa) that originally appeared in a magazine (Playboy) and as such may not have enjoyed wide distribution. Howard Falcon, the main character from the Clarke short who is a cyborg, serves as a witness and participant in the passage of time within the solar system, chronicling the conquest of the planets and asteroids, the discovery of alien life, and the emergence of machine intelligence, along with political and societal upheaval. Always the mediator, go between, and negotiator, Falcon plays in central role in nearly every significant event in Earth's future history.
The sci-fi elements are a mix of rudimentary space travel, alien lifeforms within a gas giant, and the rise of machine intelligence. Perhaps more fascinating than the science fiction and the story plot is the gradual transition in presentation from the more classic sci-fi of Clarke's era to a more contemporary style as displayed by the authors' other works, leading to a progression towards a more complex, nuanced and engaging tale as the story evolves. In the end, Falcon has a Forrest Gump quality that places him squarely in the middle of every significant turning point for humanity and the other forms of life and intelligences that come to inhabit the solar system eventually becoming a type of ambassador for the whatever come next.
The narration is nicely done with a good range of voices, including the non-human entities that comprise a large set of the major players.
Having been a fan of many of Alastair Reynolds' imaginative sci fi novels in the past, I decided to read Sir Arthur C Clarke's novella upon which this is based. I enjoyed it, so I eagerly began this book, hoping for an exciting and fantastic series of stories set throughout the universe.
This book didn't quite live up to those expectations. Set within the solar system, it really doesn't offer any new ideas or vision of the future that we haven't seen before. There's a bit of a twist at the end, kind of a deus ex machina really, that helps things out and gives the novel a happy and mostly satisfying ending. But, large portions of the book are wordy and boring, which I think create a barrier for many readers.
This book feels like a labor of love by these authors toward Clarke's work, and it's great that they did that. But this isn't going to be remembered as one of the landmarks of the genre by any stretch of the imagination.
Wow! Baxter and Reynolds take a classic short story by Arthur C Clark and make it fit in the contemporary SciFi cannon.
While details of the original story forced this book into an alternate history, it's a believable one that imagines what our future would be like if we had pursued the 1960s space program instead of computing.
Turning a decent short story into a century spanning space drama (not sure if this is a space opera) is a testament to the authors' skill. Plus the morality play (robots v humans v mysterious aliens who want peace) at the end felt very reminiscent of classic SciFi. It's something you don't find in a lot of contemporary writing. The conclusion is satisfying and though provoking.
Chapter 9: 16:10.
"Delta Five" should be "Delta Vee". That's not a Roman numeral, it's Velocity abbreviated, or 'change in velocity". "Saturn V rocket" is pronounced Saturn Five.
take me future. take me now and science the shit out of me. im so fucking ready. or have i already been scienced. inside a simulation of such dynamic scale that it can not be fully understood by my feeble understanding of the workings of the universe??!!?!?!?!?!?!!!???!!!?!?!?!
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