Stephen Baxter’s imagination runs wild. And I like it!

Written by
Stephen Baxter in 2013

Proxima is a complicated beast of a book. Diverging storylines, red herrings and suggestions of a cosmic cataclysm. Plus some human stupidity thrown into the mix as well. This is the sort of grand universe science fiction that I love, but can only take in small doses because it can make a man’s head explode.

We start off in the future, where humanity has colonised much of the solar system and begun to fly around in interstellar space. Yuri Eden, has woken up on the Ad Astra, an interstellar starship powered by mysterious “kernels”, which have nothing to do with corn. Instead, they’re some sort of controllable micro-wormhole thing.

Anyway, Yuri and the passengers are dumped without much ceremony on Proxima C, the third planet from Proxima Centauri as “colonists” with the very basics for survival. Like…nothing at all, apart from . Their stories are intertwined with that of the Kalinskis in the solar system, as well as the artificial intelligence Earthshine. Together, across four light years, they try to unravel the mysteries of the kernels.

Stephen Baxter writes some pretty heavy, fate of the universe type stuff, that has nothing to do with Infinity Stones. Proxima involves the multiverse, time travel, time dilation and a whole bunch of concepts that can really challenge the reader’s imagination. This is not your typical rainy Sunday afternoon adventure.

Proxima is for fans of hard science fiction, no laser beams or lightsabers. It is rooted in reality, as much as artificially manipulated wormholes are grounded in reality, but most of all, it uses these concepts as the basis to ask some deep and meaningful questions about humanity. If you’re willing to give it a go, you might be surprised at how enjoyable Proxima is.


Stephen Baxter writes some pretty cool stuff. This is amongst his best.

Read this if you’re…

Engrossed by fate of the universe type stuff, minus Marvel’s universe of super heroes.

Don’t read this if you’re…

Not very well versed with concepts in physics and cosmology. Catch up on this stuff first.


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