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Peter F. Hamilton was born in Rutland in 1960, and still lives near Rutland Water. His previous novels are the Greg Mandel series and the bestselling 'Night's Dawn' trilogy: The Reality Dysfunction , The Neutronium Alchemist and The Naked God. Also published by Macmillan (and Pan) is A Second Chance at Eden, a novella and six short stories, and The Confederation Handbook, a vital guide to the 'Night's Dawn' trilogy. His most recent novels were Fallen Dragon, Misspent Youth, Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained.
Most readers know Peter Hamilton from his Night's Dawn trilogy, published in this country in six volumes. Pandora's Star is the first volume in another sprawling (and I do mean sprawling) series. The book begins with the discovery that two distant linked solar systems have been isolated by a force field. Because the observation is made visually, this means that the event occurred hundred of years ago. This event leads the Commonwealth, an organization of the human planets, to investigate. Whoever could put a force field around such a tremendous area would be very possible. And what is the motive? Is the force field meant to keep others out, or those living in the system in? In a break from Hamilton's early books, as Pandora's Star opens, humanity does not use star ships for faster than light travel. Rather, wormholes are used to link distant worlds. Thus, one of the first things that must be done is to build a ship capable of faster than light travel. Other aspects of Hamilton's future are near-immortality, a terrorist group obsessed with the idea that an alien has taken over the government, and various alien races that seem indifferent to human population, and whose motives are not apparent. Those who've read Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy will not be surprised at his practice of introducing many characters and separate plot lines that will (one hopes) converge eventually. Some of these plots are so separate from the main plot as to seem to exist only to establish background of the characters. Indeed, at time the books seems to consist of short stories set in the same future but having no other connection. For example, we follow a police inspector investigating a 40 year old murder case relates to the main plot in a tangential (at best) way.Read more ›
Let me start off by saying I enjoyed this book a lot. I have only two quibbles, but they prevent me from giving it 5 stars. Quibbles first.
The narrative style gets in the way of both the story and the characters. Except in a few places, the action is told almost entirely via narration; we don't discover the characters, we are told about them. As a result only a few characters stand out. The narrator's filter occludes the rest. SImilarly, the action and the character's interactions are described by the narrator, rather than playing out by themselves. I know that some like this style, but I don't.
My other quibble is that the books stops halfway through the story, at a cliff-hanger. This is mitigated by it being an actual CLIFF-hanger, but I'm not fond of this wait-til-next-episode stuff. Next episode is March 2005, BTW.
Now, having griped, I must admit I enjoyed this book immensely. The rich portrayals of the 25th Century society, politics and economics all ring true. The implications of indefinite life, told in passing, are interesting, especially as they add to a body of other current work (e.g. MacLeod, Morgan). The natural refusal of all concerned to believe in (or adequately prepare for) the several dooms that are approaching, and the coming end of their Golden Age, are completely human and completely tragic. In many ways its an allegory for our own times.
If Amazon had a listing for the next book, I'd have ordered it already.
Peter F. Hamilton has written a great story with Pandora's Star. I don't want to argue a case for people to like this book, some will love it while others won't. We all enjoy different types of stories and authors - so let me give my opinion to those who are contemplating reading this book.
READ IT & ENJOY! I was very happy to see another 'BIG' book from Hamilton. I am also a fan of short story collections, but sometimes it's nice to be engulfed by a deep story which can be enjoyed over many weeks or months of reading : )
Parts of the book I enjoyed much: Scenes where the characters are being chased or trying to elude others (Hamilton wrote these parts well - I couldn't put the book down!)
Detailed enviroments of 'other' worlds - At one point Hamilton places some characters into freezing climates with limited means to warm themselves, I could feel the cold!
The great dilemma when humans find an alien race trapped inside a barrier! We wonder why they are trapped there, Who constructed this barrier to keep them there & more importantly why !?
Mankind must travel farther than ever from earth to study this barrier and the aliens trapped inside it, all the while being warned by a group of humans who claim to know that these aliens WANT US TO COME AND RELEASE THEM and in doing so will spell disaster for humanity!Read more ›
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Somewhere within the 1,000 pages of this book is a very good 600 page book struggling to emerge.
In Hamilton's desire to craft a comprehensive future world he launches into sub-plots, characters and details that fail to serve his story line. The result is a story that plods along relieved by only moments at a quicker pace.
When the pace picks up Pandora's Star is difficult to put down. Alas, these moments are far too few leaving one looking for the end of chapters in the hope that the next chapter will bring more energy.
Halfway through Pandora's Star I became aware that this was only the first half of the story. Only after reading some 2,000 pages of Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained is this saga brought to a close. Given the slog to get through Pandora's Star, Judas Unchained may have to await my being stranded on a desert island.