On the Bookshelf...


Stephen Baxter

By the middle of the 21st century, humanity has managed to overcome a series of catastrophic events and maintain some sense of stability. Space exploration has begun again. Science has led the way. But then one day, the sun goes out. Solar panels are useless, and the world begins to freeze Earth begins to fall out of its orbit. The end is nigh. Someone has sent us a sign.

I'm a big fan of what I like to call 'Real Science Fiction'. That's the sort that's routed in the real world we live in. Not the space fights like Star Wars, although I'm a big fan of the films. Real Science Fiction to me is when it happens in the near present, maybe in a world slightly twisted away from our own, but not by much. As such I love the works of Kim Stanley Robinson and of course the great Stephen Baxter.

Galaxias is set in the near future on Earth. When observing a solar eclipse the world turns black as the sun disappears and then nothing. The sun doesn't emerge from the eclipse. All observations show that it's no longer there in the skies. Confusion and panic sets in until it returns to its place a day later. However the movement has implications when the moon and the earth are no longer following the same path. There's big changes to the climate which sets in force numerous flooding events.

Galaxias is a true sci-fi classic. An epic story of what could happen to the earth in event of climate change. The characters are given space to develop. A tight nit groups are at the heart of the story and we follow their story over many years. Their actions and priorities change during the story. This is no standard fare. The story is there to make you think. The detail is amazing, the science I've no doubt is real.

If you expect sci-fi to be action packed, this isn't the book for you. As with all great sc-fi novels it's character lead. It's the story of people's lives and the consequences of their actions that are to the front. Whilst quite a heavy book, it was really easy to read, the story being so compelling. Highly recommended.

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Review by
AJ Steel
August 24, 2023

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