“It was as if the universe, the whole of it, had become a sort of Library.” The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter.

The Time ShipsIn this very worthy sequel to the The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, the time traveller meets his younger self, both of whom share my distrust of complexity …

I met Moses’s eyes, and I recognized there a certain righteous anger, an infuriation at the foolishness of mankind, which had informed my own, younger soul. I had always had a distrust of the advancement, willy-nilly, of civilization, for it seemed to me an unstable edifice which must one day collapse about the foolish heads of its makers; and this Modern State business seemed about the most extreme folly, short of actual War, I had heard in a while!

Baxter does a brilliant job persuading us, by the time the novel is done, of the potential triumph of the mind …

I could see — suffused in every wisp of gas, in every stray atom — meaning and structure. There was a purpose to the orientation of each atom, the direction of its spin, and the linkages between it and its neighbors. It was as if the universe, the whole of it, had become a sort of Library, to store the collective wisdom of this ancient variant of Humanity; every scrap of matter, down to the last stray wisp, was evidently catalogued and exploited … Just as Nebogipfel had predicted as the final goal of Intelligence!