Stephen Baxter (author)

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Stephen Baxter
Stephen Baxter 2005.jpg
Stephen Baxter at the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention, 2005.
Born (1957-11-13) 13 November 1957 (age 57)
Liverpool, England
Occupation Writer
Nationality British
Genre Hard SF, Alternate history

Stephen Baxter (born 13 November 1957) is a prolific British hard science fiction author. He has degrees in mathematics and engineering.

Writing style[edit]

Strongly influenced by SF pioneer H. G. Wells, Baxter has been a distinguished Vice-President of the international H. G. Wells Society since 2006. His fiction falls into three main categories of original work plus a fourth category of working extending other authors' writing; each has a different basis, style and tone.

Baxter's "Future History"[1] mode is based on research into hard science. It encompasses the monumental Xeelee Sequence, which as of September 2015 is composed of seven novels (including the Destiny's Children series), plus five novellas and 47 short pieces, all of which fit into a single timeline stretching from the Big Bang singularity of the past to his Timelike Infinity singularity of the future.[2] These stories begin in the present day and end when the Milky Way galaxy collides with Andromeda five billion years in the future.[2] The central narrative is that of Humanity rising and evolving to become the second most powerful race in the universe, next to the god-like Xeelee. Character development tends to take second place to the depiction of advanced theories and ideas, such as the true nature of the Great Attractor, naked singularities and the great battle between Baryonic and Dark Matter lifeforms. The Manifold Trilogy is another example of Baxter's future history mode, even more conceptual than the Xeelee sequence – each novel is focused on a potential explanation of the Fermi Paradox. The two-part disaster series Flood and Ark (followed by three additional stories, "Earth III," "Earth II," and "Earth I") which also fits into this category, where catastrophic events unfold in the near future and Humanity must adapt to survive in three radically different planetary environments. In 2013, Baxter will release his short story collection entitled Universes which will feature stories set in Flood/Ark, Jones & Bennet and Anti-Ice universes.[3] Baxter has signed a contract for two new books due in 2013 and 2014, titled Proxima and Ultima, both of which are names of planets.[4]

Stephen Baxter at the Science-Fiction-Tage NRW in Dortmund, Germany, March 1997

A second category in Baxter's work is based on readings in evolutionary biology and human/animal behaviour. Elements of this appear in his future histories (especially later works like the Destiny's Children series and Flood/Ark), but here it is the focus. The major work in this category is Evolution, which imagines the evolution of humanity in the Earth's past and future. The Mammoth Trilogy, written for young adults, shares similar themes and concerns as it explores the present, past, and future of a small herd of mammoths found surviving on an island in the Arctic Ocean.

A third category of Baxter's fiction is alternate history, based on research into history. These stories are more human, with characters portrayed with greater depth and care. This includes his NASA Trilogy, which incorporates a great deal of research into NASA and its history, and the Time's Tapestry series, which features science-fictional interventions into our past from an alternate-history future. The novel Anti-Ice is an earlier example of Baxter's blending of alternate history with science fiction. His most recent work in this direction is the Northland Trilogy, an alternate prehistory that begins with Stone Spring, set ten thousand years ago in the Stone Age, followed by Bronze Summer and Iron Winter, set in alternate versions of the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. In 2009, Baxter became a judge for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, the first former winner among the panel.[5]

Another category, outside of the main body of Baxter's independent work, is sequels and installments of science-fiction classics. His first novel to achieve wide recognition (winning three literary awards) was The Time Ships, an authorised sequel to H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. The Time Odyssey series, a trilogy co-authored with Arthur C. Clarke, is connected to Clarke's four Space Odyssey novels. Another novel is based on a synopsis written by Clarke, The Light of Other Days. Baxter has also published a Doctor Who novel, The Wheel of Ice.

In 2010, Baxter began working on a new series with Terry Pratchett.[6] This collaboration has produced four books, The Long Earth, The Long War, The Long Mars, and The Long Utopia.

Baxter has also written non-fiction essays and columns for such publications as Critical Wave and the British SF Association's Matrix.

Literary awards[edit]

Award Name Year For book Short stories printed in
BSFA Award SF Novel 1995[7] The Time Ships  
Sidewise Award for Best Short Form Alternate History 1995 Brigantia's Angels Traces
John W. Campbell Award 1996[8] The Time Ships  
Philip K. Dick Award 1996[8] The Time Ships  
Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis for Best Foreign Language Novel 1996 The Time Ships  
Sidewise Award for Best Long Form Alternate History 1996 Voyage  
BSFA Award Short Fiction 1997 War Birds Phase Space
Premio Gigamesh 1997 The Time Ships
SF Chronicle Award Best Novelette 1998 Moon Six Traces
Analog Award Best Short Story 1998 Moon-Calf Phase Space
Philip K. Dick Award 1999[9] Vacuum Diagrams  
Seiun Award for Best Foreign Language Novel 1999 The Time Ships  
Analog Award Best Short Story 2000 Sheena 5 Phase Space
Locus Poll Award Best Novelette 2000 Huddle Phase Space
Asimov's Readers' Poll Novelette 2001 On the Orion Line Resplendent
BSFA Award Non-Fiction 2001 Omegatropic  
Analog Award Best Short Story 2002 The Hunters of Pangaea Evolution & The Hunters of Pangaea
BSFA Award Short Fiction 2004 Mayflower II Resplendent

Baxter's story Last Contact was nominated for the 2008 Hugo Award for best short story.[1]


All ISBNs are for the first edition.

Xeelee Sequence[edit]

Title Year ISBN Notes
Raft 1991 ISBN 0-246-13706-1 Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee, 1992[10]
Timelike Infinity 1992 ISBN 0-00-224016-5  
Flux 1993 ISBN 0-00-224025-4  
Ring 1993 ISBN 0-00-224026-2  
Vacuum Diagrams 1997 ISBN 0-00-225425-5 Philip K. Dick Award winner, 1999[9]

Short story collection.

Reality Dust 2000 ISBN 1-902880-10-2

ISBN 1-902880-11-0

Novella (first published by PS Publishing as trade paperback and hardcover; both limited; later collected in Resplendent)
Riding the Rock 2002 ISBN 1-902880-60-9

ISBN 1-902880-59-5

Novella (first published by PS Publishing as trade paperback and hardcover; both limited; later collected in Resplendent)
Mayflower II 2004 ISBN 1-904619-16-9

ISBN 1-904619-17-7

Novella (first published by PS Publishing as trade paperback and hardcover; both limited; later collected in Resplendent)
Starfall 2009 ISBN 978-1-906301-59-0

ISBN 978-1-906301-60-6

Novella (published by PS Publishing as hardcover and jacketed hardcover; both limited; later collected in Xeelee: Endurance)
Gravity Dreams 2011 ISBN 978-1-848631-89-2

ISBN 978-1-848631-90-8 (signed edition)

Novella (published by PS Publishing as hardcover and signed hardcover; both limited; later collected in Xeelee: Endurance)
Xeelee: Endurance 2015 ISBN 978-1-473212-70-1 Collection of short stories and novellas.

Destiny's Children[edit]

Title Year ISBN Notes
Coalescent 2003 ISBN 0-345-45786-2 Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee, 2004[11]
Exultant 2004 ISBN 0-345-45788-9  
Transcendent 2005 ISBN 0-345-45792-7 John W. Campbell Memorial Award nominee, 2006[12]
Resplendent 2006 ISBN 0-575-07896-0 Collection of short stories and novellas.

NASA Trilogy[edit]

Title Year ISBN Notes
Voyage 1996 ISBN 0-00-648037-3 Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee, 1997[13]
Titan 1997 ISBN 0-06-105713-4 Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee, 1998[14]
Moonseed 1998 ISBN 0-06-105903-X  

The Web Series[edit]

Baxter contributed two books to this series for young adults. See The Web (series)

Manifold Trilogy[edit]

Title Year ISBN Notes
Manifold: Time 1999 ISBN 0-345-43076-X Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee, 2000[15]
Manifold: Space 2000 ISBN 0-345-43077-8  
Manifold: Origin 2001 ISBN 0-345-43079-4  
Phase Space 2002 ISBN 0-00-651185-6 Short story collection.

Mammoth Trilogy[edit]

Title Year ISBN Notes
Silverhair 1999 ISBN 0-06-105132-2 Young adult
Longtusk 1999 ISBN 0-380-81898-1 Young adult
Icebones 2001 ISBN 0-380-81899-X Young adult
Behemoth 2004 ISBN 0-575-07604-6 Omnibus edition of the Mammoth Trilogy

A Time Odyssey (Co-authored with Arthur C. Clarke)[edit]

Title Year ISBN Notes
Time's Eye 2003 ISBN 0-345-45248-8  
Sunstorm 2005 ISBN 0-345-45250-X  
Firstborn 2007 ISBN 978-0-345-49157-2  

Time's Tapestry[edit]

Title Year ISBN Notes
Emperor 2006 ISBN 0-575-07432-9  
Conqueror 2007 ISBN 0-575-07673-9  
Navigator 2007 ISBN 978-0-441-01559-7  
Weaver 2008 ISBN 978-0-575-08204-5  


Title Year ISBN Notes
Flood 2008 ISBN 978-0-575-08058-4 British Science Fiction Association Award nominee, 2008[16]
Ark 2009 ISBN 978-0-575-08057-7  

Northland Trilogy[edit]

Title Year ISBN Notes
Stone Spring 2010 ISBN 978-0-575-08919-8  
Bronze Summer 2011 ISBN 978-0-575-08923-5  
Iron Winter 2012 ISBN 978-0-575-08928-0  

The Long Earth[edit]

Title Year ISBN Notes
The Long Earth 2012 ISBN 978-0-857-52009-8 Co-authored with Terry Pratchett.
The Long War 2013 ISBN 978-0-06-206777-7 Co-authored with Terry Pratchett.
The Long Mars 2014 ISBN 978-0-857-52175-0 Co-authored with Terry Pratchett
The Long Utopia 2015 ISBN 978-0062297334 Co-authored with Terry Pratchett


Title Year ISBN Notes
Proxima 2013 ISBN 978-0575116849 Science Fiction
Ultima 2014 ISBN 978-0575116870 Science Fiction

Unrelated novels[edit]

Title Year ISBN Notes
Anti-Ice 1993 ISBN 0-06-105421-6 Alternate history
The Time Ships 1995 ISBN 0-06-105648-0 BSFA Award winner, 1995;[7] John W. Campbell Award winner, 1996;[8] Philip K. Dick Award winner, 1996;[8] Hugo, Locus, Clarke, and British Fantasy Awards nominee, 1996[8]

Alternate history. An authorised sequel to H. G. Wells's The Time Machine

The Light of Other Days 2000 ISBN 0-312-87199-6 Co-authored with Arthur C. Clarke.
Evolution 2003 ISBN 0-345-45783-8  
The H-Bomb Girl 2007 ISBN 0-571-23279-5 Young adult
Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice 2012 ISBN 978-1-445-89803-2 Doctor Who novel

Unrelated collections[edit]

Title Year ISBN Notes
Traces 1998 ISBN 0-00-649814-0 Short story collection.
The Hunters of Pangaea 2004 ISBN 1-886778-49-3 18 stories and five essays on science and science fiction.

Short fiction[edit]

Title Year First published in Reprinted in
"The Saddle Point Sequence" 1996 Science Fiction Age (Jul 1996)  
"Formidable Caress" 2009 Analog 129/12 (Dec 2009) The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year : Volume Four, ed. Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade Books, 2010)
"Return to Titan" 2010 Godlike Machines, Jonathan Strahan, ed.[17] The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-eighth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed., (St. Martin's Griffin, NY, 2011)
"The Invasion of Venus" 2010 Engineering Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan[18][19][20]


Title Year ISBN Notes
Deep Future 2001 ISBN 1-85798-844-2 Science based examination of possible human futures.
Omegatropic 2001 ISBN 0-9540788-1-0 Mainly science fiction criticism.
Revolutions in the Earth 2003 (UK) ISBN 0-297-82975-0 James Hutton and the True Age of the World[21]
Ages in Chaos 2004 (United States) ISBN 0-7653-1238-7 James Hutton and the Discovery of Deep time
The Science of Avatar[22] 2011 ISBN 0-297-86343-6 Examines the concepts used in the 2009 film Avatar.

Personal life[edit]

Baxter was born 13 November 1957 in Liverpool, England and studied mathematics at Cambridge University, obtained a doctorate in engineering at Southampton University, and received an MBA from Henley Management College. Baxter taught maths, physics, and information technology before becoming a full-time author in 1995. He is also a chartered engineer and fellow of the British Interplanetary Society.[23]


  1. ^ Baxter uses this term in the foreword of Vacuum Diagrams.
  2. ^ a b "The Xeelee Sequence – Timeline". Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Stephen Baxter – Universes cover art and synopsis". Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Stephen Baxter: News". Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Stephen Baxter". Index of Judges and Jurors. 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "The Long Earth". SFX Article. 2010. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "1995 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "1996 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "1999 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  10. ^ "1992 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  11. ^ "2004 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  12. ^ "2006 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  13. ^ "1997 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  14. ^ "1998 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  15. ^ "2000 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  16. ^ "2008 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  17. ^ Strahan, Jonathan, ed. (2010), Godlike Machines, Garden City, New York: Science Fiction Book Club, pp. 83–165, ISBN 978-1-61664-759-9 
    "Return to Titan" includes characters from the Poole family of the Xeelee series.
  18. ^ Tilton, Lois (December 7, 2010). "Lois Tilton reviews Short Fiction, early December". Locus. Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  19. ^ Seel, Nigel (April 11, 2011). "Book Review: Engineering Infinity (ed) Jonathan Strahan". Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  20. ^ Waters, Robert E. (March 8, 2011). "Engineering Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan". Tangent. Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  21. ^ Jim Gilchrist book review (26 July 2003). "How James Hutton rocked the world". The Scotsman. 
  22. ^ Baxter, Stephen (2010), The Science of Avatar, Orion Publishing Group, Limited, ISBN 978-0-297-86343-4 
  23. ^

External links[edit]