cover image The Medusa Chronicles

The Medusa Chronicles

Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds. Saga, $26.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7967-7

Two of the most acclaimed contemporary hard SF writers successfully team up in this ambitious epic space opera, spanning almost 800 years, that expands the themes raised by Arthur C. Clarke’s classic 1971 novella, A Meeting with Medusa. Clarke’s hero, Howard Falcon, suffered horrific injuries in an accident in 2080, surviving only by cybernetic surgery; his new abilities led him to a successful search for extraterrestrial life and positioned him to be an “ambassador... between the creatures of carbon and the creatures of metal.” That unsought status tests Falcon as, over the centuries, robots begin to become self-aware and seek autonomy. Humankind’s expansion of its reach beyond Earth provides more opportunity for conflict, and the authors do a superior job of predicting plausible political developments. The novel’s reach does come at the expense of some psychological depth, but fans of the authors’ other work won’t be disappointed. (June)