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Coalescent: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Nov 23 2004


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (Nov. 23 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345457862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345457868
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 10.5 x 17.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #181,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
How can anyone write a science fiction novel about ancient Roman and English civilisations. Baxter can!
Breathtaking scope and (one can assume) historical accuracy of a decaying Roman culture. This book has value on many levels and in my case opened an addicted science fiction (and fantasy) reader to the possibilities of ancient history.
While the hive culture emerged as a central theme for exploration in subsequent novels, it was the dismay of the central character as her society declined around her that held my interest.
On many levels this story appeals and creates interest. I hope he can maintain this historical fictional content in future novels, as I for one found it quite engrossing.
The hive development was fascinating and well developed, though ever so slightly overdone. He could have left a bit more for the reader to discover, ponder and have the lights come on, particularly as he proposes future novels.
I can never play with my ant farm again and not picture the streaming of mindless, white smocked women from a hole in the ground moving off to create another hive.
Very nearly a 'must read'. Well done Mr Baxter, let's get the next one out soon!
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Format: Hardcover
I too enjoyed reading Baxter's account of a hive mentality and how he alternated the story line between the past and present.
My overall impression was that it was smartly written and thought out. I found it easy to relate to the protagonist George Poole, a man in his forties coming to grips with his family and the problems facing him.
For the most part, I found the entire tale realistic and plausible. The life story and tribulations of Regina, the progenitor, comprising a good portion of the book was detailed, cogent, and interesting.
The ending was not what I expected yet satisfying, excepting the role Peter (George's friend) played in the end, where I found it to be a bit far fetched.
So while the book is not what one may think of as stereotypical Stephen Baxter, vis-à-vis the Manifold Trilogy, all in all, with this book, I've come to the conclusion that anything he writes, is worth reading. Mr. Baxter is just that good.
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Format: Hardcover
I liked this book more than some of the other reviewers. The theme clearly extends from his earlier works, most notably, Evolution. In this case the pace is slower, as our 2 protagonists, one in the ancient Roman empire, and the other contempory, spin the texture of the novel. The central concept, the evolution of a human hive species, while not original, is reasonably, if a little implausible biologically, characterized. More importantly, we are given a rationale for its existence and structure. We are are also given tantalizing clues as to where Baxter may want to go with this idea. In one case, the hive engineers the destruction of a another, nearby. In the second, we see a vignette of a familiar Baxterium universe where hive societies have spread out to the stars.
The book is weakest with its side plot of the discovery of an alien artifact in the Kuiper belt, and the possible suggestion of detection of a photino bird. I sense that Baxter wants to ensure the threads of his Xeelee sequence are incorporated into the plot, but in this book, the first of a promised series, this thread seems gratuitious. Perhaps the following novels will expand on this backdrop.
As other reviewers have argued, the hive is a living cellular automata. Because the rules for this particular hive were created by a founder, there is the possibility of exploring other structures based on different rules, defined by different constraints. Given the space of viable possibilties, one can easily see this idea expand like another "Manifold".
In summary, this book is a solid read, which entertained this reader with an interesting theme, painted against a detailed historical backdrop. I look forward to more in the series.
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Format: Hardcover
From the boundless imagination of Stephen Baxter comes another novel from his enviable arsenal of story telling. A different Baxter I thought compared to his previous works, more gritty, more wordy but none the less compelling. I fancied the book was still cold from the cargo hold of a 747 when I got my hands on the book having travelled from the UK to Australia! Stephen has done some marvellous research of Roman Britain of 400 C.E., warts and all, with some nice touches of historical (or fictional?) figures. The alternating chapters of the past and current day works especially well and hold your attention to the very end. Once again, as in his ground breaking Manifold series, he tackles another aspect of the Fermi Paradox with a satisfying conclusion.
The most important science fiction writer of this generation once again affirms his place. How long I wonder, before the next part of the Trilogy? Not too long I trust.
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