Jimmy Bing’s Quick Picks

Count Stephen Baxter as another of a very few authors who can write good hard-science fiction. But a word of caution to those who, so far, have only been wading in the Star Wars kiddie pool, this is hefty stuff. Baxter’s books are filled with big ideas, and his storylines are so sprawling that it can take some effort to keep them all straight.

Evolution begins 65 million years in the past, and follows the course of animal/human evolution 500 million years into the future. Through the eyes of a whole host of lifeforms, we’re given front row seats to the extinction of the dinosaurs. We see the first sapient hominids cross the ocean from Africa to the New World. We see the human race in its death throes, as civilization breaks down and humanity returns to the forests from which it came. We see the first Von Neumann probe waging war over resources on Mars. Throughout the book we keep asking, “Where do we go next?”

Baxter went to Cambridge and Southampton Universities, where he received degrees in mathematics and engineering. For several years he taught math and physics. Since 1987, he’s published a metric gaggle of novels, novellas, and short stories. Go ahead, check out the link. It’s a lot to wade through, but it’s all worth it.

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