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The Reality Dysfunction (The Night's Dawn) Paperback – October 8, 2008

170 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First published in 1996, this behemoth opening to the Night's Dawn trilogy takes humankind across the galaxy on a quest for profit that becomes a desperate battle for survival. Space scavenger Joshua Calvert begins shipping wood from the primitive planet Lalonde to the pastoral patrician planet Kulu despite a revolt among the prisoners who serve as Lalonde's forced labor. A greater threat lurks within Lalonde's intensely claustrophobic jungle: an energy virus that turns people into zombies and that even 27th-century biotechnology can't cure. Hamilton succinctly uses strong visual imagery to bring each culture and civilization to life. Only this relative economy of language allows so many plots, subplots and characters to be squeezed into over 900 pages. Elements of space opera, Straubesque horror and adrenaline-laced action make this a demanding, rewarding read. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Peter F. Hamilton was born in Rutland, England in 1960. He began writing in 1987, and sold his first short story to Fear magazine in 1988. He has also been published in Interzone and the In Dreams and New Worlds anthologies, and several small press publications. His first novel was Mindstar Rising, published in 1993, and he has been steadily productive since then. Peter lives near Rutland Water with his wife and two children.


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Product Details

  • Series: The Night's Dawn (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 1120 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; Reprint edition (October 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316021806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316021807
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Steven M. Anthony on February 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read an awful lot of science fiction over the years, and recently returned to the genre after a lengthy absence. In doing so, I made a concerted effort to upgrade my reading list and familiarize myself with the new generation of sci-fi writers. My recent experience has been a real revelation. Whereas in the past, most of the science fiction I consumed was very easy to read and understand (Asimov as an example), some of the works I've sampled in the last year or two have quite literally been over my head.

I read Dune (multiple times) many years ago. I proceeded on to the Dune sequels, but after two or three they became so philosophically dense that I lost interest. I recently read Herbert's widely acknowledged masterpiece The Dosadi Experiment and again was forced to admit that I was incapable of appreciating it fully. Ditto for much of Philip Dick's writing.

In an effort to read all joint Hugo/Nebula Award winners, I ran into a few other such works. Some of the new generation of sci-fi writers have published undeniably outstanding novels that I simply couldn't enjoy fully. Charles Stross, Neal Stephenson and Ian McDonald come immediately to mind. These cats are just too intelligent for me to relate to (and I have a post graduate degree!).

Others, such as Joe Scalzi, David Brin and Joe Haldeman crank out easily understood and entertaining work (in the mode of Asimov), but without all the heavy lifting some of the previously cited authors require. All of this to say, that in Peter Hamilton's The Reality Dysfunction I discovered what I felt was a very happy medium: Vastly entertaining, but with just the level of challenge and difficulty that I could master without detracting from my enjoyment of the reading experience.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Edward E. Rom on December 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
The only reason that I'm giving this series of books three stars(I'm actually reviewing the whole series of six, not just the first -- it's one long novel in six volumes) is because I actually read the whole thing. I recall a conversation in which a fellow told me that he'd just read five Leo Frankowski novels in a row, and boy! were they bad! I myself have never even read a sentence of Leo Frankowski's writing, so I don't have an opinion on it; my question was, if they were so bad, why did you read five of them in a row?

The reason I read the whole _Night's Dawn_ epic is that I was reading it on breaks and at lunch at work. It took really a long time, and I started bogging down toward the end.

I've glanced at some of the other reviews of this work, and have many of the same criticisms. My greatest complaint about this story is that there is just entirely too much of it! Hamilton could probably have gotten his point across in a third the space (though I suspect that would still have felt bloated): this thing has too many characters, too many subplots, and too much of it comes across as filler. The plot moves forward with a glacial ponderousness, and the end still feels as though he got rushed and came up with sort of a deus ex machina.

I must say, though, that I think Hamilton has gotten much better since he wrote this. I read the _Pandora's Star_ books, and liked them much better than _The Reality Dysfunction_ et. al.

I've noticed other reviewers mentioning Hamilton's inability to get outside the Queen's English. I think it's worse than that. These books are filled with sentence fragments, and every now and then he uses an adjective in a way that suggests that he wrote this monstrosity with a thesaurus on the desk next to the keyboard.
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Erin Keiser on August 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
After reading the reviews online here, I was very hesitant to read this book. I majored in woman's studies in college, and I have little interest in spending time reading a book that is full of misogynist plot lines. To my great surprise, I found that the book was not only an excellent read but very tame compared to hard-core books from other genres.

Hamilton uses a multiple storyline structure in this book and it is very hard to say who the is the main character. I rather liked this approach, mainly because each of the characters had a distinct voice in the book. None of the characters are meant to be utterly sympathetic, nor entirely evil. Hamilton gives each character strong motivations that seem to me to show how the world really works, and not an idealized version you see often in science fiction.

I am not one to spoil a book, so I will not delve very deeply into the plot, but for me I really enjoyed how each plot twist was somehow related to another storyline later down the road. This is a rather Dickensian concept, and I find refreshing for a modern author. Once you get through a few chapters it is easy to tell what is important to the storyline, and what is not by how much time the author takes to describe the setting. This made it very easy for me to keep track of who was what over the 1100+ pages of the book.

And lastly, in regards to the negative reviews here, I really do not agree with the assessment. I kept waiting for a very disturbing scene to happen, or for awful things to be described but that never manifested. This is perhaps because I am a horror junkie, but the violent scenes in the book did not seem gratuitous or excessively descriptive.
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