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Literature / Proxima

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Proxima is a Science Fiction novel by Stephen Baxter.

The book covers the story of a group of former convicts stranded on a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri by the government and forced to start a colony. Followed by the book Ultima.

Not to be confused with the 2019 film Proxima, which is also about humans going into space but is not science fiction.

This series provides examples of:

  • Adam and Eve Plot: Deconstructed. The Colonization Unit states that Yuri and Mardina could potentially start a colony on their own, however it would require massive amounts of incest and essentially turning the women into baby factories.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Angelia is made up of millions of nanobots, each one with its own sentient mind. In order to get to Proxima, and to communicate with Earth during the trip, all but a few of them have to be jettisoned to drift in interstellar space forever. Angelia hadn't been warned about this beforehand, so she's understandably furious when she finds out.
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    • Most of the colonists lobotomize their Colonization Units and ditch their still-sentient A.I.s in the dirt. When Yuri's ColU finds out about this, he pledges to track down and rescue all of his lost brothers (which he eventually does).
  • Anyone Can Die: A lot of it.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 4. The RKKV launched by the Chinese at Mercury detonates the kernels lodged there, blowing up Mercury and frying nearly all life on Earth.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The kernals, micro-wormholes discovered beneath the surface of Mercury that constantly release energy from an unknown source.
  • Casual Interplanetary Travel: UN ships use the kernals to travel through the solar system within days. Chinese ships are propelled by huge solar sails, earning them the nickname "junks".
  • Colony Drop: The Chinese redirect a large asteroid into a collision course with Earth in the hopes of blackmailing the UN into giving them access to kernal technology. It doesn't work, and they end up detonating the asteroid in the upper atmosphere to create an artificial winter.
    • A few months later, they ram a captured hulk ship into Mercury to destroy the kernals.
  • Cool Starship: The Ad Astranote  is a UN hulk ship powered by two kernal drives, capable of traveling from the solar system to Proxima Centauri within a few years.
    • The Tatania apparently has interstellar capabilities as well.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Mercury, as noted above.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Averted. Even the Hatches transport passengers at just below light speed.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Yuri was cryogenically frozen by his parents at some point in the 21st century and awakened on Mars in the mid-2100s.
  • Gainax Ending: The book ends with Yuri, Steph, and the ColU traveling to an unknown location via Hatch. And then, Space Romans.
  • If I Can't Have You...: John Synge gets the first three words out before being shot by a genre savvy robot.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: King, after Earth is wiped out by the kernal detonation.
  • No MacGuffin, No Winner: Attempted by China after the UN repeatedly refused to grant them access to the kernals. It works a little too well.
  • Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: A 4. The only real lies are the Kernels and the Hatch.
  • Robot Girl: Angelia, before she got converted into a starship.
  • Shown Their Work: A lot of it, as expected of Baxter.
  • Space Cold War: Between China and the United Nations. Goes hot toward the end of the book.
  • Starfish Aliens: The builders are tripedal creatures made almost entirely of Arduan plant stems.
  • Stock Star Systems: Proxima Centauri. Justified as it's the closest star to our sun, making it a logical destination for humanity's first interstellar missions.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The creators of the Kernels and the Hatch qualify as this.
  • Tidally Locked Planet: Per Ardua is tidally locked to Proxima Centauri.
  • Time Skip: Tons of them. The book slowly advances from to 2155 to 2217.
  • Yandere: Onizuka and John Synge are rare male examples.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: The Space Romans at the end have one.


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