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Ultima cover art

Ultima

By: Stephen Baxter
Narrated by: Kyle McCarley
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Summary

Fresh from his latest collaboration with Terry Pratchett on the Long Earth sequence Stephen Baxter now returns to the mysteries and challanges first hinted at in his acclaimed novel PROXIMA.

In PROXIMA we discovered ancient alien artifacts on the planet of Per Ardua - hatches that allowed us to step across light years of space as if we were stepping into another room. The universe opened up to us.

Now in ULTIMA the consequences of this new freedom make themselves felt. And we discover that there are minds in the universe that are billions of years old and they have a plan for us. For some of us. But as we learn the true nature of the universe we also discover that we have countless pasts all meeting in this present and that our future is terrifyingly finite. It's time for us to fight to take back control.

This is grand scale, big idea SF of the best possible sort. It is set to build on the massive success of PROXIMA and define Stephen Baxter's work going forward.

©2014 Stephen Baxter (P)2014 Tantor Media

What listeners say about Ultima

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    5 out of 5 stars

Why, I remember once on campaign...

Performance: At first I thought there were one or two strange pronunciations: "shone" pronounced as "shown" which I had not heard before. However, the narrator's grasp of different accents from "northern English" to Australian to Roman to Inca was masterful, especially when switching between so many so quickly in a conversation. The most nuanced of all was the Col U.

You can feel the relish of both the author and narrator for Titus's wonderful catch-phrase, and the last utterance is particularly apt.

Story: the epic length through generations (a Baxter favourite device I think) and the different locations (in various ways) really developed wonderfully the promise of Proxima (mostly involving isolation and survival)

The two books are like ripples in a pond where the lives and deeds of Uri (initially) and Steph(growing) spread out to interact with, and affect, all the other characters.

At this time, this is the only series (Proxima and Ultima) that I have listened to twice. I recommend it to all.

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5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

OMG - Why would you write this drivel?

Would you try another book written by Stephen Baxter or narrated by Kyle McCarley?

Simple answer to this one is no! After working through Proxima and then suffering Ultima I've decided that Baxter has lost not only the plot but any respect that I once held for his talent.

Has Ultima put you off other books in this genre?

No, I will always read good science fiction. Proxima and Ultima however are rambling fantasy stories which Mr. Baxter should submit as his Ancient history thesis as there was more effort put into discourse about Roman/Mayan society than anything else really.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Kyle McCarley?

Not particularly. I'm British and even I found some of the pronunciations peculiar and by the end of 20hrs listening it was still irritating.

What character would you cut from Ultima?

The Author.

Any additional comments?

These books, Ultima and it's predecessor Proxima are really, really dull and lifeless. The main characters do not endear themselves to you in any way and the story limps tediously along in some weird time distorted Roman based tragedy. There are glaring holes all over the plot and if you removed the fixation on all of the social explanations and other non science fiction you could read both books in about an hour. Sorry Mr. Baxter but after your collaborations with Arthur C' I expected way better science fiction than this.

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5 people found this helpful

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Great narrator, engaging storyline

The story is full of twists and turns, it is very engaging to read. The science is explained clearly.
The narrator uses voices that could be ealily separated from each other and give a distinct sound to each character.

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3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Full of grand ideas but not very well completed

This was both a frustrating and fascinating book to listen to. It was frustrating because it was badly narrated with the most fake RP accent I've ever heard. The pronunciation was sometimes quite bizarre. The book also laboured under several tonnes of exposition. An editor with a ruthless pair of scissors would have helped greatly.

That said, Baxter has some amazing ideas and it's hard to think of grander scale science fiction than this.

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3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

After the first book in the series, I had high hopes. This however, was disappointing.
I found it completely implausible, the fact that space travel could be achieved without advanced technology and no real attempt was made to explain this, ruined the book for me.

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3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

this is a deep. thought provoking. masterpiece.

I have enjoyed it. at times it got a bit bogged down, but push on through and its well worth it

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2 people found this helpful

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Starts a bit rubbishand crappy voices buy BUY THIS

Now the voices are a bit suspect and the story a bit odd, I nearly returned this book and have returned scores but hey once you get into this book it's a keeper.

Now this book is good enough for me to want to leave a review despite the stupid system saying I have not typed enough

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2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Dreadful, Romans in space? As bad as that sounds….

Really a painful attempt at sci-fi and the reading is woefully inadequate to try and drag something as trite into a readable community.
Save yourselves and leave this one in the boneyard of audible has beens.
I wish I had.

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1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful , engaging , why did it have to end?

The second book continued directly from where the first left off. An impossible idea with a huge story to tell. Permitting glimpses of what would come the characters grew , we felt the exhilaration and sometimes sadness but always onwards. "In fact it reminded me of the time" .... (Read the book an in story.

I doubt there will be a follow up but if there is I will read it 110% sure of that .

Well done

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Pure sci fi heaven

Part of a trilogy of three standalone stories giving a skewed view on the space race, this is a brilliant story that is very well performed.

It may not be everyones cup of tea, but Steven Baxter is a true master sci fi writer and if you like what has been called "hard sci-fi" this is perfect for you.

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