Stephen Baxter's gripping page-turners are feats of bold speculation and big ideas that, for all their time-and-space-spanning grandeur, remain firmly rooted in scientific fact and cutting-edge theory. Now Baxter is back with the final volume in his monumental Destiny's Children trilogy, a tour de force in which parallel stories unfold-and then meet as humanity stands poised on the brink of divine providence . . . or extinction. DESTINY'S CHILDREN TRANSCENDENT It is the year 2047, and nuclear engineer Michael Poole is still in the throes of grief. His beloved wife, Morag, died seventeen years ago, along with their second child. Yet Michael is haunted by more than just the memory of Morag. On a beach in Miami, he sees his dead wife. But she vanishes as suddenly as she appears, leaving no clue as to her mysterious purpose. Alia was born on a starship, fifteen thousand light years from Earth, five hundred thousand years after the death of Michael Poole. Yet she knows him intimately.
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July 24, 2006
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Excerpt from Transcendent by Stephen Baxter
The girl from the future told me that the sky is full of dying worlds.
You can spot them from far off, if you know what you ' re looking for. When a star gets old it heats up, and its planets ' oceans evaporate, and you can see the clouds of hydrogen and oxygen, slowly dispersing. Dying worlds cloaked in the remains of their oceans, hanging in the Galaxy ' s spiral arms like rotten fruit: this is what people will find, when they move out from the Earth, in the future. Ruins, museums, mausoleums.
How strange. How wistful.
My name is Michael Poole.
I have come home to Florida. Although not to my mother ' s house, which is in increasing peril of slipping into the sea.
I live in a small apartment in Miami. I like having people around, the sound of voices. Sometimes I miss the roar of traffic, the sharp scrapings of planes across the sky, the sounds of my past. But the laughter of children makes up for that.
The water continues to rise. There is a lot of misery in Florida, a lot of displacement. I understand that. But I kind of like the water, the gentle disintegration of the state into an archipelago. The slow rise, different every day, every week, reminds me that nothing stays the same, that the future is coming whether we like it or not.
The future, and the past, began to complicate my life in the spring of 2047, when I got an irate call from my older brother, John. He was here, in our Miami Beach house. I should ' come home, ' as he put it, to help him ' sort out Mom. ' I went, of course. In 2047 I was fifty-two years old.
I had been happy in Florida, at my parents ' house, when I was a kid. Of course I had my nose in a book or a game most of the time, or I played at being an ' engineer, ' endlessly tinkering with my bike or my in-line roller skates. I was barely aware of the world outside my own head. Maybe that ' s still true.