Firstborn – by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter

This book is the conclusion of the Time Odyssey trilogy. I had to read it since I read the other two. Book two was the low point. Firstborn was more engaging. We actually followed Bisesa back to Mir, and we observed events on Mir, where Alexander the Great lived well into his sixties, fat, paranoid and psychotic, where Chicago is surrounded by glaciers hosting the only human population in North America.

In modern times, we follow spacers to Mars and the asteroids, and of course we get to marvel about the Firstborn, aliens that are working on eradicating all life in the universe, except themselves.

So the story is full of characters who are heroes, voluntarily dying on Mars when the planet gets destroyed and they know it is coming. There are corrupt politicians, and renegade off-world humans that think nothing of sabotaging earth’s infrastructure. There are military officers that have no trouble flying an armed spaceship in pursuit of harmless scientists on Mars, obliterating them with nuclear weapons.

The story kept me reading. I wanted to know how it all wrapped up. Yet it didn’t. Typical for the genre, this book was an excuse for the authors to muse about far fetched space technology, like terra-forming, space elevators, sun sail ships, parallel universes, sentient cell phones, space ships and rovers, and much more.

So much, you lose track of the actual story. You can’t figure out why the man-apes are there, and why they’re  still bothering with the ancient Macedonians that lost their luster in book two.

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