{4.5/5} “I feel… as if I were a child, plummeting a hub-mountain glacier, out of control… We have both already walked away from our worlds, the very reality we knew, the history, the culture. Now here we are speaking of walking off into the dark. To our deaths — or unknowable glory.”

Ultima by Stephen Baxter, published in 2014

Yuri and Stef stepped through the Hatch on Proxima, and ended up in an alternate reality. One in which the Roman Empire survived to build starships — Earth is mostly divided among 3 powers, Roman, Brikanti, and Xin. Meanwhile, Earthshine is trying to figure out who the Hatch builders are — and he thinks he’s found them on Mars.

This is the sequel to Proxima. While Yuri Eden was protagonist for much of the 1st book in the 2nd there’s a variety of protagonists, including his daughter Beth and his granddaughter Mardina.

As in his other novels Evolution and The Time Ships, Baxter is exploring big ideas — unfathomable creatures, alternate realities, deep time.

Once again it takes a bit to get going, but you should definitely read this duology.

I previously reviewed Baxter’s Proxima.

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