Book Review: Resplendent - Stephen Baxter

Publisher: Gollancz
Author: Stephen Baxter
Edition released: 2006
ISBN: 978-0-5750-7983-0
544 pages
Reviewed by: Adam Donnison

RESPLENDENT is book four of the DESTINY'S CHILDREN series and is a collection of short stories around the same theme, sorted into a timeline order. Each story stands on its own and has a short link paragraph added at the end to tie the book together into a novel-length anthology.

Starting around AD 5,300 and ending at AD 1,000,000 RESPLENDENT covers the period of humanity after the Qax have left, freeing humanity to begin rebuilding a society and expanding their frontiers.

Each story is eminently readable, although trying to read the entire anthology in a single session shows quite clearly that this is a collection of parts rather than an integrated whole. This is not to take away from the work in any way, and like all Baxter's work, this is great science fiction. Having the stories in the time order rather than published order also provides a continuing narrative that gives this a novel-like feeling, despite the occasional jumps in the story. The link pieces do well to cover the gaps.

Some stories could have been left out without affecting the story, indeed, may well have had a positive effect given the similarity that some of the clustered pieces show. If you are a Stephen Baxter fan, then RESPLENDENT is a convenient and effective collection of his shorter works published over the period 2000 to 2006, ending with a previously unpublished piece to bring the final threads together.

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