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The great die-back is passed over in a couple of sentences. The final major division is "Descendants". An initial chapter has a group of 21st-century people awakening from high-tech hibernation. They find an England gone back to wilderness, populated by humans who have little technology. I found this chapter contrived and wonder why it didn't follow the earlier pattern. It at least resolutely avoids one trope - the group's only woman is not having the Eve role that one of the men wants to press on her.
In the next chapter, after 30 million years, one descendant species lives high in trees in Africa, to avoid the rodent-derived predators that have evolved to replace the ones we killed off.
A woman is separated from her clan, and undergoes a tour of this strangely different world, including several human-derived species. One such lives underground in a manner like that of social insects, and another, elephantine herbivores, is herded by mouse-derived social predators. Humans have lost their brief reign as Earth's most powerful beings.
Oh, and another asteroid is on its way. These late chapters, for me, bring to mind that Baxter also references another of his English predecessors, Olaf Stapledon, who also wrote about the changes life undergoes over long stretches of time.
This chapter at 30 million-years is titled "the kingdom of the rats", echoing a section of Stapledon's Darkness and the Light. Our heroine here is called Remembrance, in ironic contrast to her limited memory. Evolution has selected for other attributes. We will have many descendants, but none again will share our large brains, linguistic skills, and abstract thinking.
The final chapter is set in New Pangaea, million years after today. The continents have again joined into a single, hot desert. The sun's slow brightening allows few large organisms to live. Our last protagonist, Ultimate, journeys to the shore of a dried-out sea, then turns back. The reference here is to a chapter of yet another Englishman, in H. Wells's The Time Machine - but Ultimate can only go back to the weird tree that shelters her and the other remaining primates.
Eventually, even bacteria will die on the baking Earth. Their DNA may reach worlds forming around newborn stars. Baxter adds an epilogue showing Joan Useb twenty years after the volcanic eruption. She and her daughter are living in the Galapagos Islands, managing their reduced world well enough. We can imagine more years of life for them - and after all, no primate lives forever.
I don't know enough about paleontology to judge how plausible Baxter's stories are. He references several advisors in an afterword, but it would be nice to have the sort of references section that Peter Watts usually has. The arc of the story convinces. I do question whether humans' large brains would disappear; they certainly have been advantageous in lots of environments until now. Many of the earlier reviewers here at LibraryThing really hated this book.
All that death and misery to get to glorious us, only for us to fail and return our descendants to evolution's terrible wheel. I found it exhilarating; the grandest of stories, well within the tradition of British SF - and tragedy is best, after all. And if evolution, the machinery of the world we live in, doesn't supply us with stories we like, we can still write our own. Thomas McKean says of General Washington's reports from the field, reporting everything that's gone wrong since the last report, "That man could depress a hyena.
Spoilers ahead. The frame story concerns Joan Useb, a paleontologist who, in , has organized a major interdisciplinary conference with the covert goal of sparking a movement to do something effective about saving the biosphere. The only amusement to be found in the frame story are the nasty Tuckerizations of two well-known British fans, Gregory Pickersgill and Alison Scott. Pickersgill is a radical anti-globalization activist, the charismatic leader of a splinter Christian sect, the core around which the umbrella organization "Fourth World" has formed.
Or so it is believed. It turns out that Pickersgill doesn't exist; he's just a cover identity for someone even more extreme and unpleasant. Alison Scott at least gets to exist; she's a genetic engineer who sells her services to the very wealthy, to give their children advantages rather than curing disease.
She's so focussed on money and showmanship that she even uses her own offspring as walking advertisements for what she can do for your next child, if you can pay enough. The main body of the book is better. It's necessarily episodic, covering the evolution of primates from a rodent-like creature during and after the last days of the dinosaurs, through a monkey-like creature million years from now that's fully symbiotic with a tree.
It produces a specialized root that attaches to the bellies of these last primates, providing not just nourishment and psychotropic drugs, but genetic mixing and control of reproduction. The primates in return bring nutrients to the Tree that it can't obtain otherwise, and carry its seeds to favorable ground. Along the way, Baxter does some interesting things, imagining plausible forms that aren't represented in the necessarily patchy fossil record, such as an elaborate dinosaurs-and-primates ecology in Antarctica, fifty-five million years after the presumed extinction of the dinosaurs--an ecology first frozen into extinction and then ground up beyond the possibility of fossilization by the advancing icecap.
This is an utterly grim extinction event, of course, with all the species dying out entirely rather than evolving into something else, but that's Baxter for you. As exemplified by the dinosaurs and primates in Antarctica sequence, Baxter does not confine himself solely to the direct line of descent from little Purgatorius to humans. We also get to see the hypothetical, but plausible, harrowing adventure of the monkey-like critters that get accidentally rafted across the Atlantic to become the ancestors of the monkeys of South America, and other plausible but unrecorded species.
Eventually, though, we do get to the more or less direct and recent ancestors of humans--the first ape to lead his troop ou t onto the African savannah as the forests shrink, homo erectus, neanderthals, Cro-Magnon, early civilized humans. Amongst the neanderthals, we get a story that is at once encouraging and grim: a little band of neanderthals, led by a man called Pebble, st ruggling to survive, forms an alliance with a pair of wandering almost-Cro-Magnon, Harpoon and Ko-Ko.
First they trade, then they learn some of each other's best tricks, then they combine their efforts to cross over to an island, wipe out the remnant of homo erectus living there, and seize it for themselves. Baxter does depict the two kinds as mutually fertile, which I think is currently not the opinion of scientists, but that's a minor point, considering that opinion on that has changed more than once.
Once we get to unambiguously modern humans, though, we're in trouble. It's good I think that Baxter makes the point that primitive humans who believed they were living in harmony with nature actually did a devasting job on their prey species. There's some amusement value in reading the description of the First Fan: "She had always been isolated, even as a child.
She could not throw herself into the games of chase and wrestling and chattering that the other youngsters had indulged in, or their adolescent sexual experiments. It was always as if the others knew how to behave, what do do, how to laugh and cry--how to fit in, a mystery she could never share.
Her restless inventiveness in such a conservative culture--and her habit of trying to figure out why things happened, how they worked--didn't make her any more popular. Baxter assigns the whole thing to one emotionally unbalanced woman, and portrays it all in relentlessly negative terms, even while conceding that this nasty invention caught on and survived because it conveyed survival benefits to its adopters.
It's all downhill from there, as far as human character goes. On page , we're told: "And just as they were able to believe that things, weapons or animals or the sky, were in some way people, it wasn't a hard leap to make to believe that some people were no more than things. The old categories had broken down. In attacking the river folk they werent killing humans, people like themselves.
The river folk, for all their technical cleverness with fire and clay, had no such belief. It was a weapon they could not match. And this small but vicious conflict set a pattern that would be repeated again and again in the long, bloody ages to come. And there it is, folks, the roots of the Holocaust right there at the dawn of civilization, with the invention of religion. Time and again he has shown us early hominids and pre-hominids regarding strangers of same or similar species as creatures to be killed.
Over and over again the men, the boys, and sometimes even the young girls are killed, and maybe the adult or near-adult females are kept for breeding purposes. The great mental breakthrough that Pebble and Harpoon made, in the early morning of genus Homo, was the possibility of active cooperation with other bands.
The great mental breakthrough Harpoon's ancestors had made, back at the very dawn of genus Homo, was the invention of trade as a possible means of relating to humans from other bands.
And what's striking and different about raids that Mother's followers make on other bands, is not that they kill most of the members of the band. The thing Mother's followers do that's different is that first, they make peaceful contact with the band to find out what neat new technology they have, and then, when they do attack, they spare not only the adult and near-adult females, but also some of the adult males, the ones who are the experts in the most interesting bits of new technology that the target band has.
What's different about Mother's followers is not that they have found a way to regard other people as things, but that they have found reasons other than sexual exploitation to forcibly add people to their band rather than kill them.
For Mother's people, other people are useful or dangerous precisely because they are people, with knowledge and skills of their own, rather than just rival animals competing for the same resources. What makes them more dangerous is not that they have new talent for dehumanizing other people earlier varieties of hominid didn't need to dehumanize people because it never occurred to them that hominids not members of their own band were people , but the fact that their killing technology gets a lot better.
Eventually , of course, we catch up to the frame story, and the downfall of Homo sapiens without ever having gotten humans even as far as Mars. After all, how could such a loser species do anything really grand? Post-collapse, it apparently takes only a thousand years or so for humans to completely lose the power of speech. An interesting detail from this point on is that Baxter, who never used the words "man" and "woman" to describe males and females of primate species until he got to genus Homo, does not stop using it as he describes the steadily more primitive and degraded post-Homo varieties of primate.
Thus we have a primate evolved to live pretty much exactly like a naked mole rat, referred to as "mole woman," but only after Baxter has gone to great lengths to emphasize the fact that these "mole folk" have no higher consiousness at all, and virtually no brains. All in all, it's a depressing, negative view of humans and evolution, and evidently intended to be. Avoid this one. LisCarey Sep 19, Fun speculation about the evolution of humanity, individual and mind and the question of who is the crown of creation.
The answer: there is none. Baxter's outlook is pretty depressing when is comes to mankind; degeneration is what expects us, new species will take over as the environment will change.
It's a little too direct in places. What is astonishing is how successfully he brings to life a wide range of facts and conjectures, and how entertaining as well as informative this book -- an episodic novel with evolution as its protagonist -- manages to be. Stephen Baxter bibliography.
Home Groups Talk Explore. From this humble beginning, Baxter traces the human lineage forward through time. The adventure that unfolds is a gripping odyssey governed by chance and competition, a perilous journey to an uncertain destination along a route beset by sudden and catastrophic upheavals.
It is a route that ends, for most species, in stagnation or extinction. Why should humanity escape this fate? Loading interface About the author. Stephen Baxter books 2, followers. Stephen Baxter is a trained engineer with degrees from Cambridge mathematics and Southampton Universities doctorate in aeroengineering research.
Clarke Award, most recently for Manifold: Time. Campbell Award and the Philip K. Dick Award for his novel The Time Ships. He is currently working on his next novel, a collaboration with Sir Arthur C.
Baxter lives in Prestwood, England.
Hawking warned that superintelligent artificial intelligence could be pivotal in steering humanity's fate, stating that "the potential benefits are huge Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history.
It might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks. Hawking was concerned about the future emergence of a race of "superhumans" that would be able to design their own evolution  and, as well, argued that computer viruses in today's world should be considered a new form of life, stating that "maybe it says something about human nature, that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive.
Talk about creating life in our own image. Hawking was an atheist. We are each free to believe what we want and it is my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God.
No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realisation. There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either.
We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful. Hawking's association with atheism and freethinking was in evidence from his university years onwards, when he had been a member of Oxford University's humanist group. He was later scheduled to appear as the keynote speaker at a Humanists UK conference. Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation.
What I meant by 'we would know the mind of God' is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn't. I'm an atheist. If you like, you can call the laws of science 'God', but it wouldn't be a personal God that you would meet and put questions to. Hawking was a longstanding Labour Party supporter. Hawking was greatly concerned over health care, and maintained that without the UK National Health Service , he could not have survived into his 70s.
He stated, "The more profit is extracted from the system, the more private monopolies grow and the more expensive healthcare becomes. The NHS must be preserved from commercial interests and protected from those who want to privatise it. But he was also critical of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn , expressing scepticism over whether the party could win a general election under him.
Hawking feared Donald Trump 's policies on global warming could endanger the planet and make global warming irreversible. He said, "Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it's one we can prevent if we act now. By denying the evidence for climate change, and pulling out of the Paris Agreement , Donald Trump will cause avoidable environmental damage to our beautiful planet, endangering the natural world, for us and our children.
Hawking was also a supporter of a universal basic income. In , Hawking, Arthur C. They discussed the Big Bang theory , God and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. At the release party for the home video version of the A Brief History of Time , Leonard Nimoy , who had played Spock on Star Trek , learned that Hawking was interested in appearing on the show.
Nimoy made the necessary contact, and Hawking played a holographic simulation of himself in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in Hawking allowed the use of his copyrighted voice   in the biographical film The Theory of Everything , in which he was portrayed by Eddie Redmayne in an Academy Award-winning role.
He was shown to sing an extended version of the " Galaxy Song ", after running down Brian Cox with his wheelchair, in a pre-recorded video. On 8 January , Google featured Hawking in a Google Doodle on the occasion of his 80th birth anniversary. Hawking received numerous awards and honours. Hawking has made major contributions to the field of general relativity.
These derive from a deep understanding of what is relevant to physics and astronomy, and especially from a mastery of wholly new mathematical techniques. Following the pioneering work of Penrose he established, partly alone and partly in collaboration with Penrose, a series of successively stronger theorems establishing the fundamental result that all realistic cosmological models must possess singularities.
Using similar techniques, Hawking has proved the basic theorems on the laws governing black holes: that stationary solutions of Einstein's equations with smooth event horizons must necessarily be axisymmetric; and that in the evolution and interaction of black holes, the total surface area of the event horizons must increase.
In collaboration with G. Ellis, Hawking is the author of an impressive and original treatise on "Space-time in the Large". The citation continues, "Other important work by Hawking relates to the interpretation of cosmological observations and to the design of gravitational wave detectors. At the Pride of Britain Awards , Hawking received the lifetime achievement award "for his contribution to science and British culture".
Hawking was a member of the advisory board of the Starmus Festival , and had a major role in acknowledging and promoting science communication. The Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication is an annual award initiated in to honour members of the arts community for contributions that help build awareness of science.
The first recipients of the medals, which were awarded at the festival, were chosen by Hawking himself. Stephen Hawking. Article Talk. Oxford , England. Cambridge , England. See list. Jane Wilde. Elaine Mason.
General relativity quantum gravity. Further information: Stephen Hawking in popular culture. This relationship between concepts from the disparate fields of general relativity , quantum mechanics and thermodynamics implies the existence of deep connections between them and may presage their unification.
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You can talk to a Stephen forever because everything he says is interesting and his voice is soothing. His eyes say a lot even when he is trying to not and he wears his emotions on his sleeve which makes it easier to understand him. Stephen will love and care for you unconditionally, passionately and eternally.
Stephen is ridiculously attractive. An amazing guy with a genuinely kind soul. A man who takes his words and puts them into action. A man who isn't afraid to tell the world about you if you were lucky enough to be his girl.
A man who goes deeper than the surface when talking about any topic. A man who is the sweetest shit ever. A man who deserves only the best. A man who you can trust and have faith in. A man that can not be truly defined ,because no words can express how amazing he is. Happily taken by Stephen I love Stephen Stephen is beautifully amazing.
I wish I was Kimberly. Stephen is simply amazing. The most beautiful boy in existence. Has stunning eyes, that make your heart fall through the floor when they crinkle with his perfect smile. Is deep, unlike most boys, and extremely intelligent.
Has a big heart, and he doesn't realize when he's being taken for granted. Even though he would never admit it, he sometimes's can't see what's right in front of him. An over-analyzer , and very stubborn, but he will admit defeat when he has to. Likes to drive girls crazy, apparently. Easy to fall in love with. Hard to figure out. Who IS that!? Oh, that's just my friend Stephen.
Do you like him? Of course. Does he like you? I don't deserve him. The most amazing guy you'll ever meet! He is sweet, kind, loving, insanely hilarious, and all around awesome! He is the best guy ever. You'd love him so much. And he rocks the puppy-filter on Snapchat!
WebStephen Hawking. Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA (8 January – 14 March ) was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who, at the time of his death, was director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge.    Between and , he was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, widely viewed as one of the . WebFeb 10, · One of the first seven deacons of the Christian Church, Saint Stephen is also the first Christian to be martyred for the Faith (hence the title, often applied to him, of protomartyr —that is, "first martyr"). The story of Saint Stephen's ordination as a deacon is found in the sixth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, which also recounts the plot against Stephen and the beginning of the trial that resulted in his martyrdom; the seventh chapter . WebJan 9, · 1 SEASON. TV-PG. Stephen Colbert brings his signature satire and comedy to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the #1 show in late night, where he talks with an eclectic mix of guests about what is new and relevant in the worlds of politics, entertainment, business, music, technology and more. Watch Now.