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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sequel to Wells' masterpiece
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...
Published on June 15 2003 by Ian Watts

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2.0 out of 5 stars A Tight Story
It appears to me by reading this 535page novel... Baxter's whole intention was to close other minds to his philosophy of thinking... For instance, anyone who is an H.G. Wells, fan of THE TIME MACHINE... has always asked: "Where is the Time Traveller?" Baxter does give a clear cut account as to what happened. Many parts of this story tend to focus in on famous or just...
Published on Jan. 26 2002 by sirtovin


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sequel to Wells' masterpiece, June 15 2003
By 
Ian Watts (Charleston, SC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Why did you bother Stephen?, March 15 2002
By 
This is my third SB novel, after 'Ring' and 'Titan' and I'm
truly sorry, but I don't know what all the fuss is about.
SB is heralded by New Scientist and no less than Arthur C Clarke
as the next new talent, but I'm at a loss to see why.
'Ring' was completely flat character-wise, 'Titan' a depressing
derge full of more science, descriptive dialog and little else,
and while 'The Time ships' may have been a valiant effort at a
tribute to H.G. why make a novel out of it?
The original story has it's place in SF history, and should be left there.
I don't see how anyone could possibly bring those old cardboard
characters and speculations about time-travel into the modern
era, and make a success of it. SB certainly didn't.
And ACC's quote...."The Time Ships is the most outstanding work of
imaginative fiction since Stapledon's 'Last and First Men'....."
(taken out of context) is just a complete joke !!
Probably the reason why SB gets such rave reviews from New Scientist,
is because he really knows his science, but that alone does not a novel make.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Tight Story, Jan. 26 2002
It appears to me by reading this 535page novel... Baxter's whole intention was to close other minds to his philosophy of thinking... For instance, anyone who is an H.G. Wells, fan of THE TIME MACHINE... has always asked: "Where is the Time Traveller?" Baxter does give a clear cut account as to what happened. Many parts of this story tend to focus in on famous or just plain places of London... Descriptive locations in my opinion are not truly needed to tell a good story.
Another annoying thing was the way he opens and closes this novel... He opens it in a way which I felt closes the door for sequels on the original Time Machine Novel. I must say he was Clever.
The major turn off was the building of the story... Causality loops are good sci-fi yes... but to drag out such a loop for 535 pages... in clear description gave me a headache.
The whole intent of this novel in my opinion was to make it so that others who want to write about THE TIME MACHINE can't... because he tried to cover as many plot lines as possible with the Time Traveller. I am not saying Baxter is like Bill Gates... but to try to create a monopoly on H.G. Wells, original fiction is in my opinion bad taste.
The book starts out where Baxter himself... places himself in the novel briefly in the Author's note... He goes to a bookstore and his handed a few manuscripts of old writing. The Prologue starts right where Wells, novel ended with the young man watching the Time Traveller off. The Time Traveller's soul intent was to save Weena... Well he goes forward and notices that something is wrong... I won't give away much more other than... This... Look forward to intelligent Morlocks... Dyson Sphere... the years Moses... (Not Charlton Heston Moses...) Filby... Weena... Bond... (Not James Bond..) Ice planet... Pre-historic earth... War... 1938-1944... Future... a new race of beings called the Watchers...
I give this all a 2... only because of the lockout tone that Baxter tried to pull with this novel... I also didn't like the fact that it took 535 pages... just for him to state a point about causality loops.
If you're a TIME MACHINE, fan read this book... but take note... the intentions are well but Baxter in my opinion meant to make it very clear that he wanted his book to be the final and only sequel... to a classic which... Wells, in my opinion left open to the worlds of imagination and creativity... Baxter stops this with his closing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative, Dec 26 2001
I had a great time reading this book. Steven Baxter tries to keep some of the characters (Weena, Morlocks, the narrator) and some of the plot, I guess maybe not to (upset) a lot of people, but his imagination is so vast that, by the end, the book sprirals off into a tale of cosmic proportions. I love time travel stories, and this is one of the best, imaginative and far-reaching in the tradition of the original novel. Baxter's concept of the gigantic world-ring around the sun is spectacular. His alternate-earth timeline is fascinating, as well as being a message to us all. I simply could not put this book down when I read it a few years ago. It remains on my shelf in a place of prominence so I can get to it again!
Baxter has a way of explaining the concepts of quantum physics and effortlessly weaving these concepts into his stories.
This is a very well-written book that holds together from start to finish, with clever plot-twists and imaginative scenes; I liked it better than the original.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A definite must-read for any true sci-fi reader, Oct. 4 1999
By A Customer
This is the first time I have ever read Stephen Baxter, and already I am anxious for more of his work. This book was probably one of--if not the--most imaginative sci-fi novels I have ever read. It starts out with the Time Traveller, determined to save Weena--the Eloi girl he left behind in the far future--taking another fateful trip into the future. But instead of a repeat of the original Wells book, but with a save-the-damsel-in-distress storyline, it turned into an epic journey through alternate histories and future worlds that are just astonishing as you read the book.
It takes you to visions of alternate futures, as well as pasts, such as a sphere around the sun, a war-torn Earth of 1939, the Paleocene era of fifty-million years ago, an alternate reality with machines as the heirs of man, and finally to the most fantastic vision of an infinite universe created and ruled over by the final incarnation of the human Mind. The book closes with the Traveller being returned to his own reality so that he is able to go and save Weena in the far-off age of 800,000 years hence(I wont give away the ending).
Throughout the book, Stephen Baxter gives you insights into the world of Quantum Physics, an aspect that brings the book to have a more real-world feel than some bizarre odyssey. Stephen Baxter is a true visionary. Someone who is able to see the current trends of science and incorporate them into a masterfully executed story. This book, in my opinion, is among the greatest sci-fi masterpieces of all time. The story never gets too technical, but never reaches down to the level of a child-like fantasy story. It is a story not only about time travel, but about the nature of mankind itself. but the most important thing that this book teaches you is that no matter where you are, or what you do, the future is a world of infinite possibilities and it is up to us choose the right ones throughout our lives. For who knows what the future holds? Possibilities, my friend. Possibilities, indeed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A definite must-read for any true sci-fi reader, Oct. 4 1999
By A Customer
This is the first time I have ever read Stephen Baxter, and already I am anxious for more of his work. This book was probably one of--if not the--most imaginative sci-fi novels I have ever read. It starts out with the Time Traveller, determined to save Weena--the Eloi girl he left behind in the far future--taking another fateful trip into the future. But instead of a repeat of the original Wells book, but with a save-the-damsel-in-distress storyline, it turned into an epic journey through alternate histories and future worlds that are just astonishing as you read the book.
It takes you to visions of alternate futures, as well as pasts, such as a sphere around the sun, a war-torn Earth of 1939, the Paleocene era of fifty-million years ago, an alternate reality with machines as the heirs of man, and finally to the most fantastic vision of an infinite universe created and ruled over by the true power of the human Mind. The book closes with the Traveller being returned to his own reality so that he is able to go and save Weena in the far-off age of 800,000 years hence(I wont give away the ending).
Throughout the book, Stephen Baxter gives you insights into the world of Quantum Physics, an aspect that brings the book to have a more real-world feel than some bizarre odyssey. Stephen Baxter is a true visionary. Someone who is able to see the current trends of science and incorporate them into a masterfully executed story. This book, in my opinion, is among the greatest sci-fi masterpieces of all time. The story never gets too technical, but never reaches down to the level of a child-like fantasy story. It is a story not only about time travel, but about the nature of mankind itself. but the most important thing that this book teaches you is that no matter where you are, or what you do, the future is a world of infinite possibilities and it is up to us choose the right ones throughout our lives. For who knows what the future holds? Possibilities, my friend. Possibilities, indeed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy successor to the original, Dec 23 1998
By A Customer
"The Time Ships" is a stunning novel, both in style and substance. Baxter captures the innocent, rollicking tone of the original while adding a healthy dose of contemporary science. Granted, the invented time-travelling substance he invents here is a bit silly, and I saw one major plot point about twenty pages in, but the fast-paced, future-past-present-future-past storyline never lets up long enough for you to be bothered by any potential weakness.
Baxter is a brilliant writer with some incredibly original ideas. This book is packed with enough original ideas to fill ten novels. At the same time, he's managed to draw characters that actually matter - something Baxter has had trouble doing in the past.
Baxter owes a lot to Clarke and Bear. He's also his own writer. Probably the best Hard SF writer to appear on the scene in the last 10 years. Don't be put off by the occasional bad review: Baxter is a great talent and "The Time Ships" is an example of him at the top of his form.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy sequal, Dec 9 1998
By A Customer
Writing sequels to the works of others is always a risky business. Authors, by their nature, want to stamp their works with their own style, which is precisely what you don't want to do when expanding someone elses work. This is doubly true for something that is as much a masterpiece and a classic as Well's Time Machine.
Baxter's work clearly respects the original. It is obvious that Baxter did a great deal of study from the original and worked very hard to duplicate the cadence and characterization from the original.
This alone might have lead to a dull doppelganger, but Baxter manages to expand the original story without trying to deviate from its style. The conceit that Baxter uses is to employ all the considerations that science fiction and physics have given to the subject of time travel in the hundred years since the original, and to incorporate them into the story. The result is one where the old novel retains its charm but is enhanced by the new additions to the story.
It is a top flight effort and it succeed brilliantly. Baxter's Time Ships is a worth sequal to the original and deserves to be read by anyone who loved the original.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the top 2-3 sci-fi books I've read, March 7 1998
Reading the notes of the people below who didn't like it, I guess I can understand why they would feel that way: The plot is really just a series of (almost accidental) adventures of the main character traveling though time, finding himself in the strangest of places under the strangest of circumstances. As much attention is paid to descriptions of the places and the circumstances surrounding their arrival there (and what they see through the windows of the time machine as they travel through time) as is to the plot itself. I guess you could say it doesn't have much of a plot at all. However, there is one aspect to the plot which kept going through my mind as I read the whole story . . .
WHEN IS HE GOING TO GET BACK TO HIS OWN TIME (and timeLINE)?!?!?
That in itself made the book for me, and the descriptions of the places made the book even better. This ranks up with the best of the best in hard science fiction. However, if you aren't a HUGE hard science fiction fan, I can see why someone might get bored with it, or perhaps find it absurd. Keep in mind, however, that some of the absurdity is what makes the book so good (not to mention the imagination). As for the morlocks being different from H.G. Well's creatures, they were SUPPOSED to be different - a result of the time traveler's first trip. I guess I had a little bit of a hard time imagining the morlock (the traveller's companion) just happening to know so much about the places and things they were seeing, but I could see why Baxter needed to do that. It's just one of those "suspend disbelief" things the reader of any piece of fiction often has to do to understand the story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, in any sense of the word, Dec 31 1997
By 
S. Sharma "TheOneTheOnly" (North Haven, CT) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Though being an ardent sc-fi fan, I have never read Time Machine by H.G.Wells, so when I started this book, I approached it with a bit of trepidation. I thought I was stepping into the deep end, and I would be hopelessly lost.
I was wrong.
and more wrong, I could not have been, this book, though a "sequel", is independant in it's thoughts and it's scope. It's writing explodes into your mind, titilating your imagination.
though the notion of parallel universes, would be known to any sci-fi reader worth his salt, never has it been explored, exploited and executed into a story so well. Though the scientific premise of this story is sound and invigorating, Baxter never lets it to dominate, he keeps in mind that this is a book and above all, it is meant to be read and to entertain. The story continues as he explains and educates, the plot progresion is one of the most seamless I have seen in a sci-fi novel.
If this book shows anything of Baxter's promise, it is that if he continues like this, in time his name would be remembered with the likes of Asimov, Clarke and Heinlien.
Buy this book, you will and can not regret it.
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Time Ships
Time Ships by Stephen M Baxter (Paperback - Sept. 11 1995)
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