The Time Ships Hardcover – 25 May 1995
- Publisher : Collins (25 May 1995)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 362 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0002246090
- ISBN-13 : 978-0002246095
- Customer Reviews:
WINNER OF THE BSFA, JOHN W. CAMPBELL AND PHILIP K. DICK AWARDS
‘I’m almost tempted to say (I know this is blasphemy) that the sequel is better than the original …’
Arthur C. Clark
‘Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein succeeded in doing it, but very few others. Now Stephen Baxter joins their exclusive ranks. The reaction is that which C. S. Lewis referred to when he described science fiction as the only genuine consciousness-expanding drug.’
‘Stephen Baxter really does stand on the shoulders of giants in order to see further than they did … THE TIME SHIPS is a brilliant piece of work. It is a sequel in the best possible sense’
‘The most important living science-fiction writer in the country’
‘The best SF writer in Britain’
About the Author
Stephen Baxter applied to become an astronaut in 1991. He didn’t make it, but achieved the next best thing by becoming a science fiction writer, and his novels and short stories have been published and won awards around the world. His science background is in maths and engineering. He is married and lives in Buckinghamshire.
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Top reviews from Australia
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Now I will explain why,being of an age slightly older than the writer himself,I was born into the era of golden sci-fi,and watched the Rod Taylor film with glee,being only disappointed by ending,That's because I am a hopeless romantic,but enough of that .
I WILL SUGGEST THIS UNLIKE WHAT OTHER REVEIWERS HAVE RECOMMENDED FOR A FULL TIME MACHINE EXPERIENCE.Namely this,first read the HG Wells book of the same name,preferrably an enriched version,available in this shop,THEN watch the 1960 film,starring Rod Taylor as this is a brilliant peice of work,except as I said the ending.Next read this rubbish attempt at a sequel and then I will suggest.NAY URGE YOU TO PROCURE THE ONLY TRUE SEQUEL DONE TO THIS GREAT BOOK BY HG WELLs,Surprisingly its not a book,BUT A FILM DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY HG WELLS OWN GREAT GRANDSON,SIMEON WELLS.THE FILM, TIME MACHINE MADE THIS CENTURY STARRING THE AUSSIE ACTOR.This and only this,truly defines a true sequel and also REPAIRS THE ENDING,which apparently, Simeon Wells also Didn't agree with in the first film.Watch it to see what I mean,this is a true MASTERPIECE AND SHOWS THAT SIMEON WELLS UNDERSTOOD THE TIME MACHINE STORY.This author ,Stephen Baxter was just hitching a ride on HG WELLS coat tails.Then for an extra treat,track down a book in this shop,by CHRISTOPHER PRIEST, entitled THE SPACE MACHINE,although not a cheap book,its worth the investment.Imagine the time machine meets war of the worlds,its the best way I can sum this book,one that I am positive even HG WELLS WOULD HAVE READ AND APPRECIATED. It is written in the same style as HG himself and is not a short book by any measure. I have a first edition copy from 1976 and have read it over 20 times in my lifetime so far,but books wear out and I was thankful TO THE AMAZON STORE FOR HAVING THE BOOK IN A VIRTUAL COPY.Try it,I would be surprised if you didn't enjoy.
SPOILER ALERT.Do not read pass this section if you wish to buy and read Stephens attempt at a sequel.
What's wrong with the book you ask?What's right with it more.like it. First of all unlike other reviewers stated I Didn't find the time travellers character underdeveloped ,quite the contrary in fact ,he was/is a beleivable character,also those that whined aThis his constant travel from one end of time to the other,are wrong. In the framework of this book it made sense ,not as much as THE TRUE REASON WHY THE TRAVELLER WAS DOJNG SO IN SIMEON WELLS FILM VERSION , but close enough.The book would have been better if it HAD NOT BEEN A SO CALLED AUTHENTIC SEQUEL AND MORE A BOOK ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE,BUT ITS LABELThis SUCH AND HENCE THE FLAK.
What destroys this book is when it begins part 5,the section that is called by the books title,THE TIME SHIPS,here the book just falls apart and wallows in so much Darwinian Evolutionary crap that it makes no sense what so ever,and undermines choices the time traveller makes later.It totally destroys the brilliant previous chapters,and renders a totally useless solution to the time travellers problems.
What really drove the nail in this book was the EPILOGUE.Granted in HG WELLS book the traveller took of on his adventure,without any provisions what's so ever,the excitement of adventure ,whatever.Yet the second time he Journeys to rescue Weena in this book,he LEAVES WITH NOTHING ? For an adventurer/inventor this traveller according to the author is a total moron. He was under no pressure to leave before he returns to save Weena,why Didn't he procure explosives,available in the 1890s and do what Rod Taylor did in the film,which was to exterminate the Moorlocks?Instead this idiot teaches the Eloi Farming , what a useless idea,how about teaching them to fight back as Rod Taylor Inspired the Eloi to do in the first film. Then considering how much he supposedly wanted to rescue Weena,why does he rescue her and then totally ignore her until the very last page?.He stumbles in that green glass Building which was a museum,the true explanation of how humanity split into two factions. This was Achieved by a model,huge in scale that showed London,well in the time travellers future,showing flying vehicles, apartments with dolls dressed up like the rich folk,that lived in the penthouse style abodes,yet in a cutaway of the streets it showed the lower levels,dolls dressed in blue uniforms that tended the machinery below street level that allowed the above ground dwellings to function,hence they were the future Moorlocks and the above ground dwellers,the ELOI.Yet this idiot traveller looks upon the Eloi later and has the nerve to say ,they are not human,neither the Moorlocks and more so according to him,the Eloi.,and barely sub human,so why bother saving Weena?.As for the the travellers choices,whatabout ut Hillary whom he had sex with and hints are given,impregnanted her,when the English army unit came back to the dawn of the Humanity , pre its existence ,to rescue him and his Moorlock friend,stranded there,and themselves becoming stranded and starting civilisation from that meager group of survivors,what about her?Hillary was one he cared for,.Yet with the way he veiwed Weena and the Eloi it was as if they were lower than pets.
Yet the worst travestity of this book,is how he intends To deal with the Moorlocks ,by descending into their area and establishing communications and reasoning with them,what a load of garbage,and this is just a few examples of why,if this was a paperback,I WOULD BE USING ITS PAGES AS TOILET PAPER.Also in his other books there is one scifi about a spaceship and its crew he writes graphically about pedaphilia,and I am afraid to say Mr Stephen Baxter,That's not Acceptable . NEVER,EVER BUY ANY OF YOUR GARBAGE WORKS AGAIN.
Top reviews from other countries
At heart, this is a pastiche of the Victorian/Edwardian ripping yarn genre, in the very best style of that tradition. Scientific and philosophical ideas interweave with some beautiful passages of writing, particularly the descriptions of the vertiginous experience of time travel itself, the immensity of space and of the time scales involved, the vast structures that arise out of future interstellar space engineering, and the emergent life-forms millennia hence. I must confess to always having had a bit of a problem with the theory of multiple universes and my heart sank when early on it became evident that this was going to be crucial to the plot but, happily, the story-telling transcends this quibble. Likewise, I became a little lost towards the end by talk of space/time boundaries, optimal and sub-optimal multiple histories, and the circularity of Time - and God only knows who The Watchers were! But I was always willingly carried forward on the bright, buoyant wave of the story and the way it was told.
Baxter is able to keep the first person narrative perspective of the Victorian original, presenting the advanced scientific concepts encountered along the way via the ingenious plot device of giving the central character a highly intelligent travelling companion, picked up unwittingly early on in the story from a trip thousands of years into the future. This is Nebogipfel, no less a character than a Morlock from the original book, but a Morlock from before the time his race degenerated and went underground. Unimaginable advances in scientific and social evolution make him a sort of cool, calm "Spock" character whom the reader, and the inventor himself, gradually warm to, in spite of his physically unattractive exterior, as the novel develops.
I disagree with the reviewer who found the relationship between Nebogipfel and the inventor coldly distant. They are indeed literally aliens to one another and the inventor is never quite able to overcome his repulsion at the sight, feel and smell of Nebogipfel. The highly advanced Morlock for his part finds it hard not to treat The inventor with scornful impatience. Nevertheless, a strangely affecting relationship does develop as our main character becomes increasingly respectful of his travelling companion's intellect and integrity. They care for one another at various points in the book and at the end, as they hurtle back towards the Dawn of Time, the terrified inventor puts his hand in that of Nebogipfel and trusts him to see him through this apocalyptic event.
"Nebogipfel? Can you still hear me?"
"I am here..."
The book made me reconsider my attitude towards the idea of artificial life forms as being both humankind's heir and legacy, for do they not spring from mankind's ability to invent and manufacture minds immeasurably superior to their own? In that sense, imagined lifeforms such as The Morlocks, who no longer reproduce physically but extrude their progeny from the all-providing floor that their race walks upon, and the metallic, pyramidal Constructors who have forsaken individual existence and have Mind as their organising principal, have evolved from us and are mankind's children. This is a refreshing contrast to current attitudes to "artificial" life which are usually expressed as "the robots are taking over!".
The overall effect of the book was to remind me of how small we are, how temporary is our presence here on this planet, and what an infinitesimally small space of time not just we, but our planetary surroundings, occupy in the scheme of things. The central character's epiphany towards the end of the book sweeps the reader into a new and vast perspective of Life, The Universe and Everything:
"The starlight was all about me, deep, unending... In an infinite and eternal universe I saw there is no centre; there can be no Beginning, no End. Each event, each point, is rendered identical to every other by the setting within which it is placed... In an infinite universe, I had become infinitesimal."
The ending of HG Wells book "The Time Machine" is picked up and developed in a most satisfactory way at the conclusion of the book, to include an explanation (with political overtones which I am sure HG Wells himself would have approved of) of the divergence of the strands of humanity which develop into the Eloi and Morlock peoples.
A tremendous feat of the imagination which makes me want to explore more Stephen Baxter.
I love the weirdness of the personalities of the main char vs. Nebogipfel, and the shock of neo-Morlocks being born from the ground, and the sick warpedness of them dealing with the Universal Constructors and the Watchers. The alternate realities of the nuclear age and the island commune and the intrusion of 'The Land Ironclads' into the tale were not as exciting as the space-travel/dimensional voyage stuff.
H.G. Wells used to have a single great idea and then write a novella about it. Unfortunately, this novel is a doorstopper that seems to be rammed full of every possible idea the author could think of. He does a fairly good job of replicating the language and sense of adventure of the Victorian sci-fi novel, but does go a little too far at times. He also rams in historical figures just to make a point and give us a nudge. Sometimes it's a touch inaccurate and / or inappropriate in my view. There seemed to be a lot of this 'because I can' content in the writing -hence my feeling of relief that I'd finally reached the end.
However, this book was mind blowing and almost impossible to put down. Very pleased with this sequel. The Massacre of Mankind is upstairs waiting to be read now.