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.TIME'S EYEFor 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.
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. (Jan. 13) Forecast: Each copy of the book will include a CD-ROM "featuring a conversation with Clarke and Baxter, a complete novel by Baxter, and more," according to the publisher. This, plus a radio satellite tour with Clarke and print advertising in major markets, should ensure at least a run up genre bestseller lists. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 01, 2005
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Excerpt from Time's Eye by Arthur C. Clarke
For thirty million years the planet had cooled and dried, until, in the north, ice sheets gouged at the continents. The belt of forest that had once stretched across Africa and Eurasia, nearly continuous from the Atlantic coast to the Far East, had broken into dwindling pockets. The creatures who had once inhabited that timeless green had been forced to adapt, or move.
Seeker's kind had done both.
Her infant clinging to her chest, Seeker crouched in the shadows at the fringe of the scrap of forest. Her deep eyes, under their bony hood of brow, peered out into brightness. The land beyond the forest was a plain, drenched in light and heat. It was a place of terrible simplicity, where death came swiftly. But it was a place of opportunity. This place would one day be the border country between Pakistan and Afghanistan, called by some the North-West Frontier.
Today, not far from the ragged fringe of the forest, an antelope carcass lay on the ground. The animal was not long dead -- its wounds still oozed sticky blood -- but the lions had already eaten their fill, and the other scavengers of the plain, the hyenas and the birds, had yet to discover it.
Seeker stood upright, unfolding her long legs, and peered around.
Seeker was an ape. Her body, thickly covered with dense black hair, was little more than a meter tall. Carrying little fat, her skin was slack. Her face was pulled forward into a muzzle, and her limbs were relics of an arboreal past: she had long arms, short legs. She looked very like a chimpanzee, in fact, but the split of her kind from those cousins of the deeper forest already lay some three million years in the past. Seeker stood comfortably upright, a true biped, her hips and pelvis more human than any chimp's.