Manifold by Stephen Baxter Books in Order
This is what I have learned, Malenfant. This is how it is, how it was, how it came to be.
― Stephen Baxter, Time
- Manifold:Time (1999)
- Manifold: Space (2000)
- Manifold: Origin (2001)
- Phase Space (2003)
What is Manifold about?
Manifold series only really has one thing in common, they all begin on Earth in the relatively near future,, and all have the same protagonist, Reid Malenfant, a former astronaut, who finds himself getting involved in each of the novel’s plot.
Manifold consists of three novels and a collection of short stories – 25 short stories. Each of the main trilogy of books aims to deal with a possible resolution to the Fermi paradox. This dealing with the discrepancy between the lack of real evidence of advanced extraterrestrial life and the supposed likelihood of their existence.
Who is Stephen Baxter
Stephen Baxter was born on 13th November 1957 in Liverpool, England. He is an author of hard science fiction with degrees in both mathematics and aeroengineering research. He takes great influence from Sci/Fi pioneer, H. G. Wells and Arthur C. Clarke. In 2006 he became the vice-president of the international H. G. Wells Society. In 1995, he won the John W. Campbell Award and the Philip K. Dick Award for his standalone novel The Time Ships (1995).
His most notable works come under his Xeelee Sequence Series, which consists of 17 books, the last one Xeelee: Redemption came out in 2019. And his Manifold Series which consists of three novels and a book collection of short stories, all of which came out around 1999-2001. He also worked with Terry Pratchett to create the successful The Long Earth Series.
The Earth gave you life, gave you food and language and intelligence, and will take you back when you die.
― Stephen Baxter, Manifold: Space
Below you will find the order for the best reading order for the Manifold series. We feel it is best to focus on the main trilogy and then follow it up with the short stories collection. And they are as follows:
Manifold Series #1
133,820 words, 480 pages, 8hrs 55mins to read.
Published by Del Rey Books
3.78 out of 5 on Goodreads
The year is 2010. More than a century of ecological damage, industrial and technological expansion, and unchecked population growth has left the Earth on the brink of devastation. As the world’s governments turn inward, one man dares to envision a bolder, brighter future. That man, Reid Malenfant, has a very different solution to the problems plaguing the planet: the exploration and colonization of space. Now Malenfant gambles the very existence of time on a single desperate throw of the dice. Battling national sabotage and international outcry, as apocalyptic riots sweep the globe, he builds a spacecraft and launches it into deep space. The odds are a trillion to one against him. Or are they?
Manifold: Space (2000)
Manifold Series #2
142,745 words, 512 pages, 9hrs 35mins to read.
Published by Del Rey Books
3.90 out of 5 on Goodreads
The year is 2020. Fueled by an insatiable curiosity, Reid Malenfant ventures to the far edge of the solar system, where he discovers a strange artifact left behind by an alien A gateway that functions as a kind of quantum transporter, allowing virtually instantaneous travel over the vast distances of interstellar space. What lies on the other side of the gateway? Malenfant decides to find out. Yet he will soon be faced with an impossible choice that will push him beyond terror, beyond sanity, beyond humanity itself. Meanwhile on Earth the Japanese scientist Nemoto fears her worst nightmares are coming true. Startling discoveries reveal that the Moon, Venus, even Mars once thrived with life—life that was snuffed out not just once but many times, in cycles of birth and destruction. And the next chilling cycle is set to begin again . . .
Manifold: Origin (2001)
Manifold Series #3
151,670 words, 544 pages, 10hrs 10mins to read.
Published by Del Rey Books
3.70 out of 5 on Goodreads
In the year 2015, astronaut Reid Malenfant is flying over the African continent, intent on examining a mysterious glowing construct in Earth’s orbit. But when the very fabric of the sky tears open, spilling living creatures to the ground and pulling others inside (including his wife, Emma), Malenfant’s quest to uncover the unknown becomes personal. While desperately searching to discover what happened to the woman he loves, Malenfant embarks upon an adventure to the very fount of human development . . . on earth and beyond.
Phase Space (2002)
Manifold Series #4
138,285 words, 496 pages, 9hrs 15mins to read.
Published by Del Rey Books
3.89 out of 5 on Goodreads
Phase Space: Stories from the Manifold and Elsewhere. A collection of 25 SF stories by Stephen Baxter, many thematically linked to his “Manifold” trilogy (Time, Space and Origin) and other novels of cosmic scope. “The phase space of a system is the set of all conceivable states of that system”, says the first page. As with “Manifold” these stories explore possible (and significantly linked) states of Earth and the universe, alternate timelines offering different solutions to Baxter’s favourite cosmological question–the Fermi Paradox. It’s a simple idea.
According to our best scientific theories there’s nothing special about Earth or the Solar System. Intelligent life has evolved here, ourselves. It’s likely to evolve elsewhere. The skies should be full of other intelligences. Where are they? Perhaps our theories are wrong and we’re in a galactic quarantine. Perhaps what we see through our telescopes is a clever fake, but supposing we overload the capabilities of the fakers? Maybe intelligence always destroys itself before crossing interstellar space, or something kindly takes emerging life away to a safer place. Perhaps there’s teeming intelligence out there, but we’re not listening on the right wavelength. Perhaps they’re hiding…?
* Prologue (Phase Space) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Moon-Calf (1998) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Open Loops (2000) / novelette by Stephen Baxter
* Glass Earth, Inc. (1997) / novelette by Stephen Baxter
* Poyekhali 3201 (1997) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Dante Dreams (1998) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* War Birds (1997) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Sun-Drenched (1998) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Martian Autumn (2002) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Sun God (1997) / novelette by Stephen Baxter
* Sun-Cloud (2001) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Sheena 5 [Manifold] (2000) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* The Fubar Suit [Manifold] (1997) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Grey Earth [Manifold] (2001) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Huddle [Manifold] (1999) / novelette by Stephen Baxter
* Refugium (2002) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Lost Continent (2001) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Tracks (2001) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Lines of Longitude (1997) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Barrier (1998) / novelette by Stephen Baxter (variant of The Barrier)
* Marginalia (1999) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* The We Who Sing (2002) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* The Gravity Mine (2000) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Spindrift (1999) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Touching Centauri (2002) / novelette by Stephen Baxter
* The Twelfth Album (1998) / short story by Stephen Baxter
* Afterword (Phase Space) • essay by Stephen Baxter
Manifold series is a collection of, quite honestly, top tier Sci-Fi books. The depth and level they go to is incredible. Each book is good enough to be read as a standalone, but as a collection takes them to the next level.
And if you are interested to learn more of Stephen Baxter and any upcoming (or previously published) projects he has, then feel free to check out his website.
Which one is your favourite or most looking forward to picking up next?
Let us know!
The Long Earth Total Word Count
- Total words: 566,520 words
- Total pages: 2,032 pages
- Total reading time: 37hrs 45mins
More of the same, but different:
Things to Note:
- Word count is an approximation.
- Amount of pages may differ due to different publications, font style and/or size etc.
- Time spent reading is generally an approximation based on the word count and the average reading time. The average reader will read 250 WPM (Words Per Minute).
- This is the original publisher of the books.
- The current Goodreads score at the time of writing.