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Time's Eye: A Time Odyssey, Book One [Audio Cassette]

Arthur C. Clarke
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 1 2010
Sir Arthur C. Clarke is a living legend, a writer whose name has been synonymous with science fiction for more than fifty years. An indomitable believer in human and scientific potential, Clarke is a genuine visionary. If Clarke has an heir among today’s science fiction writers, it is award-winning author Stephen Baxter. In each of his acclaimed novels, Baxter has demonstrated dazzling gifts of imagination and intellect, along with a rare ability to bring the most cerebral science dramatically to life. Now these two champions of humanism and scientific speculation have combined their talents in a novel sure to be one of the most talked-about of the year, a 2001 for the new millennium.


For eons, Earth has been under observation by the Firstborn, beings almost as old as the universe itself. The Firstborn are unknown to humankind— until they act. In an instant, Earth is carved up and reassembled like a huge jigsaw puzzle. Suddenly the planet and every living thing on it no longer exist in a single timeline. Instead, the world becomes a patchwork of eras, from prehistory to 2037, each with its own indigenous inhabitants.

Scattered across the planet are floating silver orbs impervious to all weapons and impossible to communicate with. Are these technologically advanced devices responsible for creating and sustaining the rifts in time? Are they cameras through which inscrutable alien eyes are watching? Or are they something stranger and more terrifying still?

The answer may lie in the ancient city of Babylon, where two groups of refugees from 2037—three cosmonauts returning to Earth from the International Space Station, and three United Nations peacekeepers on a mission in Afghanistan—have detected radio signals: the only such signals on the planet, apart from their own. The peacekeepers find allies in nineteenth-century British troops and in the armies of Alexander the Great. The astronauts, crash-landed in the steppes of Asia, join forces with the Mongol horde led by Genghis Khan. The two sides set out for Babylon, each determined to win the race for knowledge . . . and the power that lies within.

Yet the real power is beyond human control, perhaps even human understanding. As two great armies face off before the gates of Babylon, it watches, waiting. . . .

From the Hardcover edition.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Sir Arthur C. Clarke may be the greatest science fiction writer in the world; certainly, he's the best-known, not least because he wrote the novel and coauthored the screenplay of 2001: A Space Odyssey. He's also the only SF writer to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize or to be knighted by Her Majesty Elizabeth II. This god of SF has twice collaborated with one of the best SF writers to emerge in the 1990s, Stephen Baxter, winner of the British SF Award, the Locus Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award. Their first collaboration is the novel The Light of Other Days. Their second is the novel Time's Eye: Book One of a Time Odyssey.

As the subtitle indicates, Time's Eye is the first book of a series intended to do for time what 2001 did for space. Does Time's Eye succeed in this goal? No. In 2001, humanity discovers a mysterious monolith on the moon, triggering a signal that astronauts pursue to one of the moons of Jupiter. In Time's Eye, mysterious satellites appear all around the Earth and scramble time, bringing together an ape-woman; twenty- first-century soldiers and astronauts; nineteenth-century British and Indian soldiers; and the armies of Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great. The characters march around in search of other survivors, then clash in epic battle. It's not until the end that the novel returns to the mystery of the tiny, eye-like satellites (and doesn't solve it). In other words, the plot of Time's Eye is a nearly 300-page digression, and 2001 fans expecting exploration of the scientific enigma and examination of the meaning of existence will be disappointed. However, fans of rousing and well-written transtemporal adventure in the tradition of S.M. Stirling's novel Island in the Sea of Time will enjoy Time's Eye. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Clarke, with Baxter (Coalescent), probably the most talented of the former's several collaborators, have cooked up an exciting tale full of high-tech physics, military tactics and larger-than-life characters in the first of two novels related to the bestselling senior author's Space Odyssey series. In an awesome and unexplained catastrophe, the earth has been literally diced and put back together again. Each of the segments of terrain (and you can actually see the dividing lines between them) comes from a different era, some of them millions of years apart. As the novel opens, a 19th-century British army company, stationed on the Afghan-Pakistani border, captures an Australopithecine mother and child, just as a team of 21st-century U.N. peacekeepers crash their helicopter nearby. Later they join forces with Alexander the Great. Simultaneously, a Soyuz descent vehicle, having just left the International Space Station, crash-lands in the middle of Genghis Khan's army. Eventually, the armies of Alexander and the Khan converge on Babylon, the last remaining large city in Eurasia and a titanic battle seems imminent. Fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey will have fun with the many references to that earlier novel. Although not flawless, this is probably the best book to appear with Clarke's name on it in a decade.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WHERES THE BEEF March 5 2004
Shame on you Clarke for making us wade through 300 pages of fluff
,wheres the beef?....A good read but a big disappointment story wise..I am giving you and your publishing company 1 star for making avid readers like myself and others shell out $18 bucks for a novel that doesnt give you the meat until the last 10 pages and then pick ups in the next book..This predatory practice will make me start going to the local library for a free read, or use unsaviory practices to get a fee copy..You guys support us ,,,we will support you...Next time lets skip the appetizer and shoot for the entre
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4.0 out of 5 stars It's Clarke, trust him... July 19 2004
I will confess I've never read anything by Stephen Baxter. Then again, I'd never read anything by Gentry Lee when I sat down to read the Rama series. On the other hand, if Clarke writes something I will, eventually, read it.
Time's Eye is a solid book. I enjoyed reading it and couldn't help but muse over what the second installment would bring. Although some of the character development is less than might be expected, the less developed personalities tend to be a means to an end as opposed to someone the reader should be investing time understanding their motivation.
The story is quick paced and somewhat more introductory than a stand-alone Clarke book.
A love of history is helpful when reading Time's Eye, since a good portion of the characters have been dead for several centuries. The exploits of Alexander the Great and Ghengis Khan through the eyes of twenty-first and eighteenth century charcters was the most intriguing part of the story.
Those who come looking for a space adventure may be disappointed. There are a few scenes in space, but again, a means to and end and not a pivotal event.
In all, Time's Eye does not disapoint. After all it is Arthur C. Clarke, I think we can trust him by now.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Time As An Onion June 21 2004
World wrecking is one of the most time-honored of genres in science fiction. In TIME'S EYE, Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter posit a world that quite unexpectedly has been sliced and diced into various chunks and patched together in a quilt pattern that draws each slice from different times. The old earth is gone. In its place is a new planet whose newness does not stop at the surface. The refitting of the jagged edges of the crust extend clear down to the core. To their credit, Clarke and Baxter do not ignore the climatological and geological ramifications of such an overlapping earth. The planet is subject to the sort of superstorms that blast the earth in the recent film THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW.
Typical of such world wrecking stories, Clarke and Baxter use a multiple point of view. The tale begins with an early australopithecine hominid female and her child both of whom are snatched out of some impossibly long ago prehistory and planted in the middle of a 19th century Afghanistan fortress manned by British soldiers. Other transplanted time kidnap victims appear in quick succession: a Russian orbiting Soyez space station from 2037, a British/American helicopter crew from the same time, and the combined armies of Alexander the Great clashing with the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan.
Clarke and Baxter do not offer their characters as fish out of water. Rather, they posit them as rational and intelligent beings who quickly grasp the "how" of their plight even if they do not know the "why." As the various characters interact with one another, they maintain their basic motivation as they try first to adjust to their situation, then to force this new world to adjust to them.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Seems as though some pages were lost.... May 14 2004
I read books and see movies to be entertained, and so I'm pretty willing to forgive that which strains credibility or which has been seen or written before as long as it's interesting. For the most part, "Time's Eye" delivers. Yes, there's a lot of copying from past ideas (another series of novels which hasn't yet been mentioned in the "pirated from" category is Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series, which was similar in feel at times). However, it's still an entertaining read.
I do have some issues with it, however. Ironically - or perhaps appropriately - it would seem as though paragraphs, pages, and perhaps even entire chapters were lost on their way to the printer. For example, at the top of page 183 [hardcover first printing], there's talk of leaving markers for another party, but there seems to be knowledge about that party - in particular, someone no longer being a part of it - that, as far as I remember, isn't something that should be known. Was there a paragraph somewhere in which the two parties communicated? If so, I must have missed it.
Also, while some of the character development is very well executed, other characters - in particular Sable, one of the cosmonauts - are given large parts without much development or motivation for their actions. While I understand that not all characters can be fully developed, I'd at least like a decent explanation for why major characters might do seemingly extreme things that would appear to be out of (expected) character.
Finally, the final meeting of the armies (mentioned on the cover, so no extra spoiler here) is very well discussed, with lots of detail, up until... the end. As in, "um, is it over now?". Seems like another chapter was left out here.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the series
*Warning this review may contain spoilers*
I really enjoyed this book. In fact when I started it, I couldn't put it down! I had read Arthur C. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Sakura Yamato
5.0 out of 5 stars let somebody else pay new book prices
i love the idea of buying top quality used books. This book was like new and it was like 50 cents. Excellent service and speedy shipping. good work.
Published on Oct. 16 2011 by dozey
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book and series
This is an incredibly well written and thought out book. It was impossible to put down, blending a mixture of science, history and speculative science fiction. Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2010 by C. Davison
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book by Clarke in years
This book is bloody brilliant. Yeah, it lags a bit in the middle, but not for long and a little perserverance will reward the reader. Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2007 by Howard Cooper
3.0 out of 5 stars Good enough to keep me interested...
I agree with the previous reviewer that indicated a good beginning, good end, but lacking in the middle. Read more
Published on July 19 2004 by "azkuke"
2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to Clarke standards
I've been a huge Arthur C. Clarke fan for years, and also enjoy Stephen Baxter. However - this book begins as a thinly disguised attempt at promoting the author(s)' political... Read more
Published on July 4 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Beginning...
Times Eye has some of the style of 2001, A Space Odyessy, but moves more slowly. It almost seems that these two great writers are having difficulty merging their styles. Read more
Published on June 12 2004 by Duane D. Garrett
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mixup of Time
Time's Eye is the first novel in A Time Odyssey series. In the North-west Frontier between Pakistan and Afghanistan, four groups find themselves separated from their own times. Read more
Published on May 2 2004 by Arthur W. Jordin
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting adventure
Just finished reading it and I found it very entertaining, an exciting and very readable book. It delves into the lives of characters of different time periods, many famous, who... Read more
Published on April 21 2004 by mitch
3.0 out of 5 stars What If?
Because of the many similarities of the premise of this book to 2001, many readers will pick the book up expecting something quite similar and stimulating in the same ways. Read more
Published on April 17 2004 by Donald Mitchell
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