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
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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.
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