Stephen Baxter

British writer

Stephen Baxter (born November 13, 1957) is a British science fiction writer.

Stephen Baxter, 2005
For the trilogy A Time Odyssey, and the novel The Light of Other Days, both co-written with Arthur C. Clarke, see Clarke's Wikiquote page.



Short fiction

Page numbers from the mass market edition, published by Eos Books; ISBN 0-06-105904-8, first printing, April 2001
Winner of the 1999 Philip K. Dick Award
See Stephen Baxter's Internet Science Fiction Database page for original publication details
  • Time stretches like a lazy leopard when it wants to.
    • More Than Time or Distance (p. 161)
  • I’ve made myself a rich man. You shouldn’t assume that makes me a fool.
    • The Quagma Datum (p. 201)
  • Paul closed his eyes, hoping to make the incomprehensible Universe disappear into the vacuum from which it had sprung.
    • Vacuum Diagrams (p. 266)
  • There was no cognition he realized. There was only perception.
    • Secret History (p. 350)
  • The last of the Qax had come sliding through the interstices of space and now hovered with him over the frigid surface of the star.
    Human and Qax, huddled around the chill proton star, did not attempt to communicate. There was nothing more to say.
    The river of time flowed, unmarked, towards the endless seas of timelike infinity.
    • The Baryonic Lords (p. 467)

Page numbers from Godlike Machines (ed. Jonathan Strahan), published by The Science Fiction Book Club, ISBN 978-1-61664-759-9

  • “So that’s that,” Miriam said. “We have a plan.”
    “You have a shared delusion,” I said.
    • p. 132
  • We all project our petty lives upon the universe.
    • p. 157

Raft (1991)

All page numbers from the trade paperback omnibus Xeelee: An Omnibus published by Gollancz ISBN 978-0-575-09041-5 in 2010
  • The secret of a Scientist is not what he knows. It’s what he asks.
    • Chapter 4 (p. 45)
  • The essential condition for life is the existence of sharp energy gradients.
    • Chapter 15 (p. 151)
  • “Hunger,” Hollerbach said. “The universal imperative.”
    • Chapter 15 (p. 153)
  • Self-doubt is part of being human...but the main thing is to get on with the business of survival.
    • Chapter 16 (p. 158)
All page numbers from the trade paperback omnibus Xeelee: An Omnibus published by Gollancz ISBN 978-0-575-09041-5 in 2010
  • But you are a scientist, Michael Poole; and the skill of a scientist is in asking the right question.
    • Chapter 7 (p. 218)
  • It’s all a bit anarchic, I suppose, but it’s also highly effective. Flexible, responsive, mobile, heuristic, with intelligence distributed to the lowest level...A bit like an ideal human society, I suppose; free individuals seeking out ways to advance the common good.
    • Chapter 12 (p. 266)
  • “It was a ploy, Jaar. I was trying to manipulate you, to get you to fight, to make you do what I wanted you to do.”
    “I know that.” He smiled. “Of course I know that. But the motives behind your words don’t reduce their truth. Don’t you see that?”
    • Chapter 12 (p. 271)
  • If this was the basis of the faith of the Friends, then no wonder the Friends were so remote, so intense—so careless of their everyday lives, of the pain and death of others. History as it existed was nothing more than a shabby prototype of the global optimization to come, when the Ultimate Observer discarded all inferior worldlines.
    And no wonder then, he thought, the Friends were so leached of humanity. Their mystical vision had removed all significance from their own lives—the only lives they could experience, whatever the truth of their philosophy—and it had rendered them deeply flawed, less than human. He opened his eyes and studied Shira. He saw again the patient intensity which resided inside this fragile girl—and he saw now how damaged she was by her philosophy.
    She was not fully alive, and perhaps never could be; he pitied her, he realized.
    • Chapter 13 (p. 281)
  • “That’s the trouble with living so damned long,” Michael said. “Soured relationships last for ever.”
    • Chapter 15 (p. 298)
  • Human consciousness was an artificial thing. Once humans had believed that gods animated their souls, fighting their battles in the guise of humans. Later they had evolved the idea of the self-aware, self-directed consciousness. Now Michael saw that it had all been no more than an idea, a model, an illusion behind which to hide.
    He, the last man, need no longer cling to such outmoded comforts.
    There was no cognition, he realized. There was only perception.
    • Chapter 16 (p. 307)

Flux (1993)

All page numbers from the trade paperback omnibus Xeelee: An Omnibus published by Gollancz ISBN 978-0-575-09041-5 in 2010
  • Mind you, flatulence was one skill he had bettered as he had got older.
    • Chapter 2 (p. 326)
  • Bzya touched his shoulder. “But that’s why you and I are here, old man. To keep the world away from boys like Farr and Cris—to give them a place that seems as stable and eternal as your parents did when you were a child—until they are old enough to cope with the truth.”
    • Chapter 19 (p. 484)
  • “But Parz was better than nothing: it offered stability, regulation, a framework to live in. People gripe about their tithes—and nobody’s going to pretend that the Committee gets it right all the time—but most of us would prefer taxes to living wild. With all respect to you, my friend.” He bit into his cake. “And that’s still true today; as true as it ever was.”
    • Chapter 20 (p. 497)
  • Why should it be so? It was as if humans built such places as this with the sole purpose of finding ways to dominate each other.
    Muub listened to Adda’s clumsy explanation of this. “But it’s inevitable,” he said, his face neutral. “You have to have organization—hierarchy—if you are to run the complex, interlinking systems which sustain a society like the City with its hinterland. And only within such a society can man afford art, science, wisdom—even leisure of the most brutish sort, like these Games. And with hierarchies comes power.” He smiled at Adda, condescending once more. “People aren’t very noble, upfluxer. Look around you. Their darker side will find expression in any situation where they can best each other.”
    • Chapter 21 (p. 504)
  • You’re a damn fool, boy. I want you to know that now, in case I don’t get a chance to tell you later.
    • Chapter 27 (p. 554)

Ring (1994)

All page numbers from the trade paperback omnibus Xeelee: An Omnibus published by Gollancz ISBN 978-0-575-09041-5 in 2010
All italics as in the book
  • “You know, in principle, why our world is as it is. Isn’t that sufficient? Is it really necessary for you to understand every detail?”
    But if I don’t understand, Morrow thought sourly, then you can control me. Arbitrarily. And that’s what I find hard to accept.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 649)
  • Try to remember this lesson. It might keep you alive a little longer. The most precious thing to a human being is a mind-set: more precious than one’s own life, even. Human history has taught us that lesson time and again, with its endless parade of wars—human sacrifices en masse—thousands of deaths over the most trivial of differences of religious interpretation.
    • Chapter 10 (p. 669)
  • “No,” Morrow said. “I can’t accept that. I don’t always agree with the Planners. But they aren’t killers.”
    “You think not?” Uvarov laughed again. “The survivalists—your ‘Planners’—are psychotic. Of course. As I am. And you. We are a fundamentally flawed species. Most of humanity, for most of its history, has been driven by a series of mass psychotic delusions. The labels changed, but the nature of the delusions barely varied...”
    • Chapter 10 (p. 669)
  • “But that’s insane,” Morrow protested.
    Uvarov hissed, “No one ever said it wasn’t. We’re human beings. What do you expect?”
    • Chapter 10 (p. 680)
  • She tried, sometimes, to remember how it had been to be young. Or even, not quite so old.
    • Chapter 13 (p. 704)
  • Understanding is the key to turning anything from a threat into an opportunity.
    • Chapter 17 (p. 736)
  • Empty. Barren. These were the true conditions of the Universe, she thought; life, and variety, and energy, were isolated aberrations.
    • Chapter 18 (p. 743)
  • It was too anthropomorphic to consider the lifecycle of a star as some analogy of human birth, life and death. A star was a construct of physical processes; the evolution it went through was simply a search for equilibrium stages between changing, opposing forces. There was no life or death involved, no loss or gain: just process.
    Why shouldn’t it be beautiful?
    • Chapter 19 (p. 755)
  • Maybe it’s time we humans abandoned our species-specific chauvinism—our petty outrage that the Universe has unfolded in a way that doesn’t suit us.
    • Chapter 27 (p. 825)
  • Maybe we should gather a few more facts before wasting our time speculating.
    • Chapter 30 (p. 852)
  • The river of time flowed unmarked, towards the endless seas of timelike infinity.
    • Chapter 35 (p. 891; closing words)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Eos ISBN 978-0-06-105648-2 in June 2000, 13th printing
All italics and ellipses as in the book
  • Like all the works of man, I saw, even these great structures were transient chimeras, destined to impermanence compared to the chthonian patience of the land.
    • Book 1, “Dark Night”, Chapter 1, “Time Traveling” (p. 8)
  • I was struck by how ignorant we humans are, or make ourselves, of the passage of time itself. How brief our lives are!—and how meaningless the events which assail our little selves, when seen against the perspective of the great plastic sweep of History. We are less than mayflies, helpless in the face of the unbending forces of geology and evolution—forces which mold inexorably, and yet so slowly that, day to day, we are not even aware of their existence!
    • Chapter 1, “Time Traveling” (p. 8)
  • My fear was gone, to be replaced by a numbing sense of tedium: it is remarkable how rapidly the human mind can accommodate the most remarkable of changed circumstances.
    • Chapter 8, “A Visitor” (p. 37)
  • One might imagine that, in any conflict between rational humans and religious humans, the rational ought to win. After all, it is rationality that invented gunpowder! And yet—at least up to our nineteenth century—the religious tendency has generally won out, and natural selection operated, leaving us with a population of religiously-inclined sheep—it has sometimes seemed to me—capable of being deluded by any smooth-tongued preacher.
    The paradox is explained because religion provides a goal for men to fight for. The religious man will soak some bit of “sacred” land with his blood, sacrificing far more than the land’s intrinsic economic or other value.
    • Chapter 13, “How the Morlocks Lived” (p. 66)
  • I have always been distrustful of personal power—for I have met not one man wise enough to be entrusted with it.
    • Chapter 14, “Constructions and Divergences” (p. 71)
  • Men thought of war—always the next one—as a great cleansing, as the last war that ever need to be fought. But it was not so, I could see now: men fought wars because of the legacy of the brute inside them, and any justification was a mere rationalization supplied by our oversized brains.
    • Chapter 18, “The New Eloi” (p. 92)
  • For what goal is there for intelligent creatures, but to gather and store all available information?
    • Chapter 18, “The New Eloi” (p. 94)
  • Your flexibility of mind is impressive, for a man of your evolutionary era.
    • Chapter 22, “Rotations and Deceptions” (p. 118)
  • Cause and Effect, when Time Machines are about, are rather awkward concepts.
    • Book 2, “Paradox”, Chapter 6, “Persuasion and Skepticism” (p. 154)
  • The hugeness of time, and the littleness of man and his achievements, quite crushed me; and my own, petty concerns seemed of absurd insignificance. The story of Humanity seemed trivial, a flash-lamp moment lost in the dark, mindless halls of Eternity.
    • Book 3, “The War with the Germans”, Chapter 17, “The Watcher” (p. 263)
  • It was a striking demonstration of how geomorphology, the shape of the landscape, dominates human geography.
    • Book 4, “The Paleocene Sea”, Chapter 19, “Lights in the Sky” (p. 365)
  • You can observe for yourself the degradation of the air and water around us. The earth has a limited capacity to absorb the waste products of human industry, and with enough development, the planet could even be rendered uninhabitable.
    • Chapter 19, “Lights in the Sky” (p. 367)
  • “No. You are wrong. These structures are alive.”
    “By any reasonable definition of the word. They can reproduce themselves. They can manipulate the external world, creating local conditions of increased order. They have internal states which can change independently of external inputs; they have memories which can be accessed at will…All these are characteristics of Life, and Mind.
    • Book 5, “White Earth”, Chapter 3, “The Universal Constructor” (p. 399)
  • “You see, a species cannot survive for long if it continues to carry around the freight of antique motivations that you bear. No offense.”
    “None taken,” I said drily.
    “I mean, of course, territoriality, aggression, the violent settlement of disputes… Imperialist designs and the like become unimaginable when technology advances past a certain point.”
    • Chapter 8, “A Proposition” (p. 427)
  • Information—its gathering, interpretation and storage—is the ultimate goal of all intelligent life.
    • Chapter 8, “A Proposition” (p. 428)
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Del Rey ISBN 0-345-45783-8 in February 2004, 1st printing
All italics as in the book
  • Bex shrugged. “You think anybody’s going to listen to a bunch of scientists? No offense. But nobody has so far.”
    • Prologue (p. 6)
  • If you were part of a group there was always the chance that the predator would take the next guy, not you. It was a cold-blooded lottery that paid off often enough to be worthwhile adapting for.
    But there were disadvantages to group living: mainly, if there were large numbers of you, there was increased competition for food. As that competition resolved itself, the inevitable result was social complexity—and the size of the adapids’ brains had increased so that they were capable of handling that complexity. Then, of course, they were forced to become even more efficient at searching for food to fuel those big brains.
    It was the way of the future. As primate societies became ever more complex, a kind of cognitive arms race would continue, increasing smartness fueled by increasing social complications.
    • Chapter 5 “The Time of Long Shadows” section I (p. 113)
  • There was no design in this: no sense of improvement, of purpose. All that was happening was that each organism was struggling to preserve itself, its offspring, and its kin. But as the environment slowly changed, so through relentless selection did the species that inhabited it. It was not a process fueled by life, but by death: the elimination of the less well adapted, the endless culling of inappropriate possibilities. But the potential of an unseen future was no consolation to those who lived through the relentless culling.
    • Chapter 5 “The Time of Long Shadows” section II (pp. 120-121)
  • The rodents’ vast litters incidentally offered up much raw material to the blind sculptors of natural selection; their evolutionary rate was ferocious.
    • Chapter 5 “The Time of Long Shadows” section III (p. 132)
  • On the longest of timescales, over millions of years, the workings of chance defied human intuition. Humans were equipped with a subjective consciousness of risk and improbability suitable for creatures with a lifespan of less than a century or so. Event that came much less frequently than that—such as asteroid impacts—were place, in human minds, in the category not of rare, but of never. But the impacts happened even so, and to a creature with a lifespan of, say, ten million years, would not have seemed so improbable at all.
    Given enough time even such unlikely events as ocean crossings from Africa to South America would inevitably occur, over and again, and would shape the destiny of life.
    • Chapter 6 “The Crossing” section IV (p. 185)
  • With his eland meat Brow was able to reinforce his political position among the men—and buy access to the women, which was ultimately the only purpose of his endless battle for dominance.
    • Chapter 9 “The Walkers” section I (p. 256)
  • There were other ways for primates to live, other kinds of societies that could be imagined. But once the pattern had been set, it was all but impossible to break.
    • Chapter 9 “The Walkers” section I (p. 257)
  • Relentless Pleistocene selection was shaping everything that would make up humanity. Even love was a by-product of evolution. Love, and the pain of loss.
    • Chapter 10 “The Crowded Land” section II (p. 308)
  • If you were capable of thinking of an object from more than one point of view, you could imagine it doing all sorts of things. For Mother, consciousness was becoming more than just a tool for lying.
    • Chapter 11 “Mother’s People” section I (p. 337)
  • The emergent humans were still animals, still bound by natural law. No innovation in the way they lived would have taken root if it had not given them an adaptive advantage in the endless struggle to survive. An ability to believe in things that weren’t true was a powerful tool.
    • Chapter 11 “Mother’s People” section IV (p. 367)
  • A growing belief that behind every event lay intention—be it an evil thought in the mind of another, or the benevolent whim of a god in the sky—was perhaps inevitable in creatures with an innate understanding of causality. If you were smart enough to make multicomponent tools, you eventually came to believe in gods, the end of all causal chains. There would be costs, of course. In the future, to serve their new gods and shamans, the people would have to sacrifice much: time, wealth, even the right to have children. Sometimes they would even have to lay down their lives. But the payback was that they no longer had to be afraid of dying.
    • Chapter 11 “Mother’s People” section IV (pp. 370-371)
  • In this marginal land accurate information was at a premium; to know the land was to prosper, not to know it meant starvation, and experts were a lot more valuable than bosses.
    • Chapter 13 “Last Contact” section I (pp. 406-407)
  • Her story was a creation myth, a legend already more than twenty thousand years old. Such tales—which said that Jahna’s people were the pinnacle of creation, that theirs was the only right way, and that all others were less than human—taught the people to care passionately about themselves, their kin, and a few treasured ideals.
    But to the exclusion of all other humans, let alone such non-people as the Old Man’s kind.
    • Chapter 13 “Last Contact” section III (p. 432)
  • It (i. e., agriculture) was the most profound revolution in hominid living since Homo erectus had left the forest and committed themselves to the savannah. Compared to this phase shift, the advances of the future—even genetic engineering—were details. There would never be so significant a change again, not until humans themselves disappeared from the planet.
    • Chapter 14 “The Swarming People” section II (p. 456)
  • But even if it is true, even if we are governed by the legacy of an animal past, then it is up to us to behave as if it were not so.
    • Chapter 15 “The Dying Light” section III (p. 501)
  • In the last centuries of the empire, educational standards and literacy had fallen. In the dulled heads of the masses, distracted by cheap food and the barbaric spectacles of the coliseums, the values on which Rome had been founded and the ancient rationalism of the Greeks had been replaced by mysticism and superstition. It was—Honorius had explained to his pupil—as if a whole culture was losing its mind. People were forgetting how to think, and soon they would forget they had forgotten. And, to Honorius’s thinking, Christianity only exacerbated that problem.
    “You know, Augustine warned us that belief in the old myths was fading—even a century and a half ago, as the dogma of the Christians took root. And with the loss of the myths, so vanishes the learning of a thousand years, which are codified in those myths, and the monolithic dogmas of the Church will snuff out rational inquiry for ten more centuries. The light is fading, Athalric.”
    • Chapter 15 “The Dying Light” section III (p. 502)
  • The fault is all ours. We have become overwhelming. About one in twenty of all the people who have ever existed is alive today, compared to just one in a thousand of other species. As a result we are depleting the earth.
    But even now the question is still asked: Does it really matter? So we lose a few cute mammals, and a lot of bugs nobody ever heard of. So what? We’re still here.
    Yes, we are. But the ecosystem is like a vast life-support machine. It is built on the interaction of species on all scales of life, from the humblest fungi filaments that sustain the roots of plants to the tremendous global cycles of water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. Darwin’s entangled bank, indeed. How does the machine stay stable? We don’t know. Which are its most important components? We don’t know. How much of it can we take out safely? We don’t know that either. Even if we could identify and save the species that are critical for our survival, we wouldn’t know which species they depend on in turn. But if we keep on our present course, we will soon find out the limits of robustness.
    I may be biased, but I believe it will matter a great deal if we were to die by our own foolishness. Because we bring to the world something that no other creature in all its long history has had, and that is conscious purpose. We can think our way out of this.
    So my question is—consciously, purposefully, what are we going to do?
    • Chapter 16 “An Entangled Bank” section I (pp. 509-510)
  • What makes you think anybody with power will listen to a bunch of scientists? They never have before.
    • Chapter 16 “An Entangled Bank” section I (p. 513)
  • As the natural systems of the planet broke down, humans would discover conclusively that they were still, after all, just animals in an ecosystem; and as it died back, so did they.
    • Chapter 16 “An Entangled Bank” section II (p. 525)
  • “You aren’t doing much for morale, Sidewise.”
    Sidewise shot back, “And what about my morale? It does me no damn good to ignore what’s blindingly obvious all around us.”
    • Chapter 17 “A Long Shadow” section II (p. 539)
  • Nothing mankind had done in its short and bloody history had made the slightest bit of difference to this patient geographical realignment.
    Meanwhile the Earth, left to its own devices, had deployed a variety of healing mechanisms, physical, chemical, biological, and geological, to recover from the devastating interventions of its human inhabitants. Air pollutants had been broken up by sunlight and dispersed. Bog ore had absorbed much metallic waste. Vegetation had recolonized abandoned landscapes, roots breaking up concrete and asphalt, overgrowing ditches and canals. Erosion by wind and water had caused the final collapse of the last structures, washing it all into sand.
    Meanwhile the relentless processes of variation and selection had worked to fill an empty world.
    • Chapter 18 “The Kingdom of the Rats” section II (p. 579)
  • For the genes it made sense, of course. Otherwise it would not have happened.
    • Chapter 18 “The Kingdom of the Rats” section III (p. 597)
  • Life had always been chancy. And now life had found ways of surviving the ultimate extinction event. In new oceans and on strange lands, evolution had begun again.
    But it had nothing to do with mankind.
    • Chapter 19 “A Far Distant Futurity” section III (p. 636)
  • Anyhow, that’s our story. And I think, in my glimpses of the great encompassing mechanism that has shaped us all, I’ve seen a little of the numinous. That’s enough of God for me.
    • Epilogue (p. 644)
All page numbers from the American trade paperback edition published by Forge ISBN 978-0-765-31268-6
  • Ussher’s intense and obsessive project seems very odd to the eyes of a modern scientist. After all he had deduced the age of the Earth without looking at a scrap of physical evidence—not a single rock.
    • Chapter 2, “The first day of the creation is deduced” (p. 17)
  • Francis Bacon, who died in the seventeenth century, argued strongly that philosophy and theology should be kept separate, and that we should concentrate our studies on the local problems and the interconnections between material and efficient causes. Final-cause analysis was just a distraction: ‘Inquiry into final causes is sterile, and, like a virgin consecrated to God, produces nothing.’
    • Chapter 5, “The Earth’s blood is the veins of its waters” (p. 43)
  • Buffon’s work created a great furore, of course. The theologians at the Sorbonne condemned him, and Buffon dutifully retracted. But he wasn’t sincere: ‘It is better to be humble than hanged.’
    • Chapter 6, “Upon this chaos rode the distressed ark” (p. 55)
  • ‘He set no great value on money, or, perhaps, to speak properly, he set on it no more than its true value.’
    • Chapter 8, “A cursed country where one has to shape everything out of a block” (p. 68)
  • In his reliance on evidence, preferably obtained at first hand, Hutton was showing the way to the geological methods of the future.
    • Chapter 8, “A cursed country where one has to shape everything out of a block” (p. 70)
  • Despite his friendship with Adam Smith, he believed in government intervention in agriculture, as it was too important to be left to market forces and chance: ‘The husbandman maintains the nation in all its ease, its affluence and its splendour,’ he wrote. But farmers too had a responsibility for the public good. Rotation of crops, ensuring equal acreages of different crops at any given time, would help keep prices stable.
    • Chapter 10, “Assemblies of good fellows” (p. 95)
  • Hutton became very critical of a system where appointments depended not on merit but on the support of those in power. Of one possible opening for Watt he wrote, ‘I think it only needs to have a man properly bestir himself but that is what few political people do unless to serve themselves.’
    • Chapter 11, “The power of heat is unlimited” (p. 105)
  • His overriding lesson for thinkers like Hutton was that scientists, even those occupied by an apparently ‘concrete’ discipline like geology, need to be careful not just about what they claim to know but also about how they claim to know it. Human reason is a fragile thing and prone to be overthrown by suggestibility.
    • Chapter 13, “Britain derives nothing but loss from the dominion” (p. 124)
  • ‘If, in pursuing this object, we employ our skill in research, not in forming vain conjectures; and if data are to be found, on which Science may form just conclusions, we should not long remain in ignorance with respect to the natural history of this Earth, a subject on which hitherto opinion only, and not evidence, has decided. For in no subject is there naturally less defect of evidence, although philosophers, led by prejudice, or misguided by false theory, have neglected to employ that light by which they should have seen the system of the world.’
    • Chapter 14, “We have now got to the end of our reasoning” (p. 130)
  • ‘In matters of science, curiosity gratified begets not indolence, but new desires.’
    • Chapter 15, “The world was tired out with geological theories” (p. 153)
  • The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time; and while we listened with earnestness and admiration to the philosopher who was now unfolding to us the order and series of these wonderful events, we became sensible how much farther reason may sometimes go than imagination can venture to follow.
    • Chapter 15, “The world was tired out with geological theories” (p. 160)
  • Darwin had found a way in which a species could be shaped to fit its environment—not by divine intervention, not by mind, but through the steady, relentless working of natural law. Just like the Huttonian prescription for the Earth, it was a Newtonian scheme for life. For better or worse, Darwin transformed our view of our place in the universe. Humans too are not the outcome of a divine design, but simply products of the relentless workings of natural laws, just like rivers and mountains, beetles and whales.
    • Chapter 20, “It altered the tone of one’s mind” (p. 208)
  • Humans and their petty doings come and go, but the geology endures.
    • Epilogue (p. 223)
  • "...Why Nimrod? Why that name?"
    Ramrod straight, he looked down at her. "I guess you skipped Bible studies at school. Genesis 10, verses 8 to 10: 'And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth... And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and-"
    "It was only generations after the flood of Noah. Chapter 11, verse 4. 'And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.'"
    "But God struck them down when they built the tower."
    "Yes. But why? 11, 6. 'Now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.' That's what God said about mankind. He feared us, and so He struck us down. We have that verse up on the wall on big banners, to motivate the workforce. 'Nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.'"
    "Wow," Thandie said. "You're challenging God?"
    "Why the hell not?"
    • Chapter 90
All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Roc, ISBN 978-0-451-46771-3 in August 2015, 8th printing
  • She was doing well with her schooling, scoring high in mathematics, sciences and deductive abilities, as well as in physical prowess and leadership skills. Her father had been paradoxically pleased when she had been flagged up with a warning about having introvert tendencies. “All great scientists are introverts,” he said. “All great engineers too, come to that. The sign of a strong, independent mind.”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 22)
  • It was always the same with engineers, Stef had observed; nothing made them happier than to be given a well-defined and achievable task, and to be left alone to get on with it.
    • Chapter 38 (p. 204)
  • If you were anywhere near the center of human affairs, even to the extent that she was, your predominant emotion had to be disappointment at the way in which an age when opportunities for humanity had never been greater, old flaws—territorialism, combativeness, reluctance to transcend cultural barriers, a sheer inability simply to see things from the other guy’s point of view—looked set to bring the sky crashing down on all their heads.
    • Chapter 71 (pp. 398-399)

About Stephen Baxter

  • [F]olks would better off dipping their heads in a bucket of liquid [nitrogen] and battering them against a tree very very hard than reading Baxter's Titan. It would not surprise me if reading that book causes birth defects.
  • As I've often said, I'm a fan of hard SF. No, it's more like I am addicted to it, even the stepped-on 20 times and cut with powered milk and rat-poison sort of hard SF. This gets us to Stephen Baxter's Mayflower II, published last year in a limited edition from PS Publishing. In one of the great tragedies of publishing, it was not a limited enough edition and so I have read it.
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