Happy birthday Stephen Baxter!

Stephen Baxter in 2005
Stephen Baxter in 2005

Stephen Baxter (photo ©Szymon Sokól) was born on November 13, 1957 in Liverpool, England.

Stephen Baxter graduated in mathematics at the University of Cambridge, in engineering at the University of Southampton and in business administration at Henley Management College. For a number of years he worked as a math and physics teacher and in computer science.

Stephen Baxter’s career began in 1987 and for the first years consisted in the publication of short fiction. In 1991 his first novel “Raft” was published, later attached to the author’s future though it’s overall autonomous.

In 1992, Stephen Baxter published the novel “Timelike Infinity“, which is crucial in the future history and in particular in the subcycle called “Xeelee sequence”. Together with its 1994 sequel “Ring“, it’s become a cornerstone of hard science fiction for the inclusion of highly advanced technological and scientific concepts connected to the Xeelee, a powerful alien species, as well as to bird photino, aliens made of dark matter that affect the fate of the universe.

The Xeelee sequence also includes the 1993 novel “Flux“, which can be read on its own. The future history also includes short fiction published over the years and later collected in the anthology “Resplendent” in 2006. Some of them are included in another subcycle called “Destiny’s Children”, which also includes the novels “Coalescent” (2003), “Exultant” (2004) and “Transcendent” (2005).

In the 1990s, Stephen Baxter also wrote the NASA trilogy, an alternative story in which John F. Kennedy survived the attempt to assassinate him and a manned mission to Mars was developed. The trilogy is formed by the novels “Voyage” (1996), winner of the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, “Titan” (1997) and “Moonseed” (1998).

In 1995, Stephen Baxter published the novel “The Time Ships”, the authorized sequel to “The Time Machine” by H. G. Wells.

In 1999, Stephen Baxter published the first novel in the young adult Mammoth trilogy, formed by “Silverhair”, “Longtusk” (1999), “Icebones” (2001) and “Behemoth” (2004).

In 1999, Stephen Baxter also published the first Manifold trilogy novel, formed by “Manifold: Time”, “Manifold: Space” (2000) and “Manifold: Origin” (2001). The stories are set in various parallel universes, such as those of various stories later collected in the 2002 anthology “Phase Space”.

In 2000, Stephen Baxter and Arthur C. Clarke published the first of their collaboration, the novel “The Light of Other Days”. That collaboration also produced the Time Odyssey trilogy, formed by the novels “Time’s Eye” (2003), “Sunstorm” (2005) and “Firstborn” (2007).

An exception to Stephen Baxter’s works is the novel “The Wheel of Ice” since it’s linked to the TV show “Doctor Who” and not an original product.

In 2006, Stephen Baxter published the first novel of the series known as Time’s Tapestry, formed by the novels “Emperor” (2006), “Conqueror” (2007), “Navigator” (2007) and “Weaver” (2008).

In 2008, Stephen Baxter published the novel “Flood“, based on the hypothesis that a huge amount of water trapped in the earth’s crust starts coming out, causing it to progressively cover the mainland. In 2009 its sequel “Ark” was published.

In 2010 Stephen Baxter published the first novel in a new series, the Northland trilogy formed by “Stone Spring”, “Bronze Summer” (2011) and “Iron Winter” (2012).

Stephen Baxter also started collaborating with Terry Pratchett on The Long Earth series, which began in 2012 with the novel “The Long Earth” based on the idea that there are many parallel universes and suddenly humanity is revealed the way to pass from one to another of them. Despite Pratchett’s death, the series is still open.

In 2013 Stephen Baxter started another series with the novel “Proxima”, followed by “Ultima” in 2014.

During his career Stephen Baxter has become one of the most important hard science fiction authors with several works in which the scientific and technological elements are crucial in the plots. The exploration of the future of humanity or other universes with alternative stories for Baxter passes for those advances while developing at the same time their consequences.

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