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Obelisk | Stephen Baxter | Review


This year, I've been making a real effort to read more sci-fi. What's sparked this? Well I read I, Robot for the first time and really enjoyed it. When I heard about a new collection of short stories and novellas from an acclaimed sci-fi writer, I thought I would see if my new found love of the genre would continue.

Having not read much sci-fi before, I hadn't actually read anything else by Stephen Baxter but a quick google search told me that his work is highly respected in the genre. As such, Obelisk (which is packed full of stories, some of which are linked to his other work while others are entirely new) seemed like it would fill a major gap in my sci-fi education. The content of the book is varied, though each work within it is undoubtedly creative, engaging and packed full of 'what ifs'.

As I mentioned, some of the stories are linked to the worlds that Baxter explores in his other books. I was a little bit nervous that I wouldn't 'get' those ones, having not read any other work from Baxter. I needn't have worried. It was easy to dive into the world and now I am curious about his novels!

Though I enjoyed those stories, my favourites were probably the alternate histories. These imagined what the world would be like if things had gone a little differently. To say they were interesting would be an understatement and they really had me thinking long after I had finished reading them. The topics were varied, clearly well researched and very well handled. Like I said, they were the real highlight of Obelisk for me. In fact the collection seemed to move from strength to strength as I read further in the book.

There is some technical bits in many of the stories too. Even if I couldn't always follow the science, it added an air of authenticity to the narratives that was both intriguing and worrying. Many of the stories are set in the not too distant future and it's a sign of Baxter's talent that some of the situations seemed scarily realistic!

If you're a fan of sci-fi or a little intimidated by the genre, Obelisk is a great place to start.

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