As a life-long fan of H.G. Wells, I must say that I avoided picking up Baxter's book for several years. I doubted that anyone could seriously improve upon the original novel. When I came across a relatively undamaged copy of "The Time Ships" in a used bookstore, though, I finally decided to give it a try. Needless to say, I became so engrossed in the story that I finished the five hundred plus page book in three days. Although Stephen Baxter appears to be a scientist by training, he is much better at seizing and maintaining the reader's attention than many authors I have recently read. While continuing the narrative voice of Wells' Victorian Time Traveller, Baxter radically expands the scope and depth of the original universe, incorporating many modern ideas about causality, parallel worlds, and quantum mechanics. The fact he does so without overwhelming the reader but instead inspiring a genuine sense of wonder and awe is an achievement in and of itself. Baxter also makes a number of allusions to Wells' other fiction, including the use of Plattnerite, land ironclads, and a vision of nuclear and conventional warfare between Britain and Germany in the first half of the twentieth century, all of which are amusing to those of us who recognize them as the story progresses. In the end Baxter doesn't so much surpass Wells as simply take the original tale to a whole new level, extending and reinterpreting it for a twenty-first century audience.