The year is 2010. More than a century of ecological damage, industrial and technological expansion, and unchecked population growth has left the Earth on the brink of devastation. As the world's governments turn inward, one man dares to envision a bolder, brighter future. That man, Reid Malenfant, has a very different solution to the problems plaguing the planet: the exploration and colonization of space. Now Malenfant gambles the very existence of time on a single desperate throw of the dice. Battling national sabotage and international outcry, as apocalyptic riots sweep the globe, he builds a spacecraft and launches it into deep space. The odds are a trillion to one against him. Or are they?
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Disappointing
Posted November 14, 2010 by Robin , Orlando, FLAn interesting premise that is drawn out over too many pages of wordy prose. The scientific concepts are interesting, but the author doesn't move the story forward very well and gets stuck in elaborate explanations. Could stand a strong edit to cut the book down to a manageable length.
2 . Lots of work for little result.
Posted September 04, 2009 by GSKearney , Lincoln, NEThere are some interesting scientific speculations behind this novel, but plot and the characters are hardly worth bothering with. The ending was unsatisfactory. The main thing that I got from the book was that the author must have been being paid by the word. I've read some of his other work and been reasonably impressed, but this is definitely not one of his better efforts. ---gk
November 28, 2000
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter
Reid Malenfant You know me. And you know I'm a space cadet.
You know I've campaigned for, among other things, private mining expeditions to the asteroids. In fact, in the past I've tried to get you to pay for such things. I've bored you with that often enough already, right?
So tonight I want to look a little farther out. Tonight I want to tell you why I care so much about this issue that I devoted my life to it.
The world isn't big enough any more. You don't need me to stand here and tell you that. We could all choke to death, be extinct in a hundred years.
Or we could be on our way to populating the Galaxy.
Yes, the Galaxy. Want me to tell you how?
Turns out it's all a question of economics.
Let's say we set out to the stars. We might use ion rockets, solar sails, gravity assists. It doesn't matter.
We'll probably start as we have in the Solar System, with automated probes. Humans may follow. One percent of the helium-3 fusion fuel available from the planet Uranus, for example, would be enough to send a giant interstellar ark, each ark containing a billion people, to every star in the Galaxy. But it may be cheaper for the probes to manufacture humans in situ, using cell synthesis and artificial womb technology.
The first wave will be slow, no faster than we can afford. It doesn't matter. Not in the long term.
When the probe reaches a new system, it phones home, and starts to build.
Here is the heart of the strategy. A target system, we assume, is uninhabited. We can therefore anticipate massive exploitation of the system's resources, without restraint, by the probe. Such resources are useless for any other purpose, and are therefore economically free to us.
I thought you'd enjoy that line. There's nothing an entre- preneur likes more than the sound of the word free.
More probes will be built and launched from each of the first wave of target stars. The probes will reach new targets; and again, more probes will be spawned, and fired onward. The volume covered by the probes will grow rapidly, like the expansion of gas into a vacuum