Stephen Baxter. Earth III. (Asimovs June 2010)

In Asimovs in July 2009 Baxter provided us with Earth II (review) which followed on from the Flood/Ark novels. Here he takes the story another step forward, in his own inimitable style, with characters from previous stories being figures of mythology. But it feels a bit of a rehash of the earlier story, with another long trek being detailed, enabling the flora and fauna of the new Earth to be described. The early part of the story infodumps by having characters discussing the nature of their beliefs, and the backstory, which is rather too obviously. Ideally Baxter would have made this, and the previous story, full length novels, but clearly the guy has only one set of hands and is keen to get the ideas down on paper, even if needs must they must be at a compressed length. And, personally, ideally I’d have re-read Earth II before reading this, but that wasn’t going to happen. Perhaps, editorially, stories like this should be treated as a serial, and a half page given over to a quick recap of the previous story for those either unable/unwilling to reread the earlier story, or whose grey matter isn’t up to remembering the details of the earlier story.

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