The Light of Other Days

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9780002247047: The Light of Other Days

In the most exciting SF collaboration ever, Arthur C. Clarke and his universally acknowledged heir Stephen Baxter pool talent, fantastic ideas, unprecedented cosmic insights as well as page-turning plotting skills and breathlessly good writing to produce the most awesome novel of the future since 3001.

’Empty’ space is actually full, full of fluctuating energy fields that become at the Planck level a seething probabilistic froth, laced by wormholes. When the Casimir engine, a machine less than a few hundred atomic diameters wide, stabilises these wormholes, the most dramatic communications revolution in history is underway. The Earth itself becomes as transparent as glass – Wormcams enable unlimited realtime remote viewing.

But the technology is developed and owned by OurWorld, Hiram Patterson’s broadcasting, news, sport and entertainment empire. Hiram can be counted on to trivialise and exploit the new technology.

Fuming inwardly about decadent technology and excess wealth, journalist Kate Manzoni goes to work for Hiram, investigating crank religions – and dating Hiram’s son Bobby.

Then a break-through in physics allows the instrument to view not only current events but to look into the past.

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Review:

SF's grand old man Sir Arthur teams up with newer star Baxter to tackle a whopping science-fiction idea with ample scope for both their talents. Their "WormCam" video camera looks across any distance through tiny wormholes in space. Initially this seems no worse than a remote TV link, but it transforms the world as disquieting cans of worms are irrevocably opened. This gadget is a veritable WormCan.

Distance is no obstacle. Neither are walls. Early WormCams allow daringly invasive newspaper scoops--and once the general public can buy them, personal privacy vanishes forever. Anyone can spy on you anywhere. Or anywhen, because next-generation WormCams peer through time as well as space ... at your embarrassing old secrets, at mysteries of the past, at the truth about old murders, Princess Di, the Mary Celeste, Abraham Lincoln, and even Jesus.

As WormCams steadily improve, they probe into deep time: spying on early man, walking with dinosaurs, back and back to a poignant SF vision of what came before life as we know it. It builds towards an utopian dream of the wonders humanity could achieve if given total access to its past.

Clarke and Baxter ramble intriguingly in all directions, exploring every implication. Their imaginative set-pieces are linked by a slightly soap-operatic plot featuring the megalomaniac entrepreneur whose labs built the WormCam, the sons he's manipulated like puppets, and one son's girlfriend who becomes a spanner in (as the lab's nicknamed) the WormWorks. Wide-ranging, ambitious and enjoyable. --David Langford

Review:

‘Arthur C. Clarke is the prophet of the space age’
The Times

‘Arthur C. Clarke is the colossus of science fiction’
New York Times

‘A major new talent’
Arthur C. Clarke on Stephen Baxter
Reviews of Titan by Stephen Baxter:

‘Buy Titan, read it – and then go out and buy everything else that Baxter has ever written’
New Scientist

‘This is a tale of equivalent scope to 2001, while the visions of Titan life have that sense of Clarke-style cosmic sorrow’
SFX

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