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Transcendent

Cover of Transcendent

Transcendent

Destiny's Children Series, Book 3
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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. In this distant future, when humanity has diversified as a species and spread across the galaxy, every person is entrusted with the duty of Witnessing the life of one man, woman, or child from the past, recovered by means of a technology able to traverse time itself. Alia's subject is Michael Poole.

When his surviving, estranged son is injured, Michael tries to reconnect with him--and to stave off a looming catastrophe. Vast reservoirs of toxic gases lie buried beneath the poles, trapped in crystals of ice. Now that ice is melting. Once it goes, the poisons released will threaten all life on Earth. A bold solution is within reach, if only Michael can convince a doubting world. Yet as Morag's ghostly visitations continue, Michael begins to doubt his own sanity.

In the future, Alia is chosen to become a Transcendent, an undying member of the group mind that is shepherding humanity toward an evolutionary apotheosis. The Witnessings are an integral part of their design, for only by redeeming the pain of every human who has lived and died can true Transcendence be achieved. Yet Alia discovers a dark side to the Transcendents' plans, a vein of madness that may lead to an unthinkable renunciation.

Somehow, Michael Poole holds the fate of the future in his hands. Now, to save that future, Alia must undertake a desperate journey into the past. . . .

From the Hardcover edition.
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. In this distant future, when humanity has diversified as a species and spread across the galaxy, every person is entrusted with the duty of Witnessing the life of one man, woman, or child from the past, recovered by means of a technology able to traverse time itself. Alia's subject is Michael Poole.

When his surviving, estranged son is injured, Michael tries to reconnect with him--and to stave off a looming catastrophe. Vast reservoirs of toxic gases lie buried beneath the poles, trapped in crystals of ice. Now that ice is melting. Once it goes, the poisons released will threaten all life on Earth. A bold solution is within reach, if only Michael can convince a doubting world. Yet as Morag's ghostly visitations continue, Michael begins to doubt his own sanity.

In the future, Alia is chosen to become a Transcendent, an undying member of the group mind that is shepherding humanity toward an evolutionary apotheosis. The Witnessings are an integral part of their design, for only by redeeming the pain of every human who has lived and died can true Transcendence be achieved. Yet Alia discovers a dark side to the Transcendents' plans, a vein of madness that may lead to an unthinkable renunciation.

Somehow, Michael Poole holds the fate of the future in his hands. Now, to save that future, Alia must undertake a desperate journey into the past. . . .

From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1 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.

    But I particularly loved the beach out in back of the house. You understand this was the 1990s or early 2000s, when there still was a beach in that part of Florida. I remember I would walk from our porch, with its big roof-mounted swing chairs, and go down the gravel path to the low dunes, and then on to the sandy beach beyond. Sitting there you could watch space shuttles and other marvels of rocketry from Cape Canaveral rising into the sky like ascending souls.

    Mostly I'd watch those launches alone. I was out of step with my family over that one. But once, I believe around 2005, my uncle George, my mother's brother visiting from England, walked out with me to watch a night launch. He seemed so stiff and old, barely able to make it down to sit on the scrubby dune grass. But I guess he was only in his forties then. George was an engineer, of sorts, in information technology, and so a kindred spirit.

    Of course that's all gone now, thanks to the Warming, the rising sea levels, the endless Atlantic storms; Canaveral is a theme park behind a sea wall. I guess I was lucky to be ten years old and able to watch such things. It was like the future folding down into the present.

    I wonder what ten-year-old Michael Poole would have thought if he could have known what the girl from the future told me, about all those old and dying worlds out there waiting for us in space.

    And I wonder what he would have thought about the Transcendence.





    I think over those strange events, my contact with the Transcendence, one way or another, all the time. It's like an addiction, something you're aware of constantly, bubbling beneath the surface level of your...
About the Author-
  • Stephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge (mathematics) and Southampton (doctorate in aeroengineering research) universities. Baxter is the winner of both the British Science Fiction Award and the Locus Award, and has been a nominee for an Arthur C. Clarke Award, most recently for Manifold: Time. He has also won the John W. Campbell Award and the Philip K. Dick Award for his novel The Time Ships. He is the coauthor (with Arthur C. Clarke) of Time's Eye and Sunstorm.

Reviews-
  • Library Journal "[Baxter excels] at both action-packed storytelling and philosophical speculation."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Baxter has an uncanny gift for mixing a punchy, cyberpunk cynicism with his resolutely hard SF story base. . . . [Exultant] rivals Asimov in its boundless vision for the future evolution of humanity."
  • SFX Magazine "Technically brilliant and downright exciting."
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    Random House Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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Stephen Baxter
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