Stephen Baxter. Formidable Caress. (Analog, Dec 2009).

Having just read Baxter’s PS Publishing chapbook ‘Starfall’, and having skimmed Analog’s November 2009 issue and decreed there was nothing there to float my reviewing boat, first up in the Dec 2009 issue of Analog is a Stephen Baxter story.

Not just another Stephen Baxter story, but one right at the very end of of the XeeLee sequence, according to the official timeline. It’s in the Old Earth sequence, an Earth with stratified timezones, with time passing more quickly at the higher levels, and more slowly at the lower levels. We follow someone from birth to death, as he discovers more about the Earth, and why it is as it is, and becomes a witness to our galaxy spiralling into a collision with Andromeda. And at this final moment, billennia hence, it is once again Michael Poole.

For someone unfamiliar with the XeeLee sequence, or the Old Earth stories (the last one was in Analog in 2006), the story is going to be an FFS story.

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