Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

‘In the Un-Black’ by Stephen Baxter

with 5 comments

Baxter is one of the major figures of modern British science fiction but he is a bit of a gap in my knowledge. As a subscriber to Interzone I’ve read dozens of his stories there and I’ve also read Traces, one of his short story collections, but the only novel of his I’ve read is The H-Bomb Girl, his feeble YA effort. One of the main reasons for this is both the size of his body of work and its interconnectivity.

‘In the Un-Black’ is part of the massive Xeelee Sequence and is rather good. I’ve marked it down slightly for quality because of the odd bit of clumsiness but it is the first story in Redshift that suggests the scope, scale and strangeness of which SF is capable.

Quality: ***
Shiftiness: ****

Written by Martin

7 May 2009 at 10:26

Posted in sf, short stories

Tagged with ,

5 Responses

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  1. It has always surprised me that you don’t like Baxter so I’m glad that you got on with this particular story. He does scope and strangeness better than practically anyone.

    Jonathan M

    7 May 2009 at 10:59

  2. So I guess the obvious question is what else should I read? I am already planning to pick up Flood since that looks interesting. (Although am I right in thinking it is the start of another series because that would be a bit of a shame.)


    7 May 2009 at 12:53

  3. Exultant is full-on space opera and can be read as a standalone (and the best) part of the Destiny’s Children trilogy.

    Niall pointed out that this book, or perhaps Transcendent, references many of the locations of the previous Xeelee novels, but if you haven’t read those earlier books then it shouldn’t matter.


    7 May 2009 at 16:24

  4. Flood is technically book one of a duology, but it stands perfectly well alone, and I can’t imagine Ark will lean on it too heavily.

    I like the Destiny’s Children books a lot, but I don’t think they’re the place to start. I’m always surprised when people think Exultant is the best of the three, though it is Baxter’s only real space opera.

    I think I’d send you to read Evolution, though. Or possibly Time.


    8 May 2009 at 11:34

  5. Read Time, because it is good and not the size of a brick.


    12 May 2009 at 16:29

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