- Series: The Commonwealth Saga (Book 1)
- Mass Market Paperback: 992 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey (January 25, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345479211
- ISBN-13: 978-0345479211
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 528 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Pandora's Star (The Commonwealth Saga) Mass Market Paperback – January 25, 2005
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“The depth and clarity of the future Hamilton envisions is as complex and involving as they come.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The author’s expansive vision of the future combines action and intrigue on a panoramic scale.”
“Astounding . . . Thrilling . . . Hamilton uses technology to excellent effect.”
—Science Fiction Age
“Shows how thought-provoking yet entertaining science fiction can be. Some of the best fiction . . . in years.”
—Midwest Book Review
“[Hamilton is] taking on one of sf’s (and maybe all of literature’s) primal jobs: the creation of a world with the scale and complexity of the real one.”
“[Hamilton is] a rare talent.”
—The Denver Post
From the Inside Flap
Critics have compared the engrossing space operas of Peter F. Hamilton to the classic sagas of such sf giants as Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. But Hamilton's bestselling fiction--powered by a fearless imagination and world-class storytelling skills--has also earned him comparison to Tolstoy and Dickens. Hugely ambitious, wildly entertaining, philosophically stimulating: the novels of Peter F. Hamilton will change the way you think about science fiction. Now, with "Pandora's Star, he begins a new multivolume adventure, one that promises to be his most mind-blowing yet.
The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some four hundred light-years in diameter, contains more than six hundred worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over one thousand light-years away, a star . . . vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply "disappears. Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, a faster-than-light starship, the "Second Chance, is dispatched to learn what has occurred and whether it represents a threat. In command is Wilson Kime, a five-time rejuvenated ex-NASA pilot whose glory days are centuries behind him.
Opposed to the mission are the Guardians of Selfhood, a cult that believes the human race is being manipulated by an alien entity they call the Starflyer. Bradley Johansson, leader of the Guardians, warns of sabotage, fearing the Starflyer means to use the starship's mission for its own ends, .
Pursued by a Commonwealth special agent convinced the Guardians are crazy butdangerous, Johansson flees. But the danger is not averted. Aboard the "Second Chance, Kime wonders if his crew has been infiltrated. Soon enough, he will have other worries. A thousand light-years away, something truly incredible is waiting: a deadly discovery whose unleashing will threaten to destroy the Commonwealth . . . and humanity itself.
"Could it be that Johansson was right?
"From the Hardcover edition.
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Add to this mixture an alien race on a far distant planet. Earth decides to investigate, unintentionally freeing the aliens from isolation. The alien mindset is one of expansion, and any life form is considered competition to be eliminated.
This sets up the penultimate battle scenes between humans and aliens. So far, so good.
However, we add to this a couple of extra plots. A possibly mythical super force in the galaxy, which may or may not exist, and may or may not be infiltrating earth. This entire plot line seems pointless, except as possible foreshadowing for the second volume.
A third narrative thread involves mysterious "paths" created (or at least used) by a third alien species, which are unpredictably open to humans. This plot line seems completely disconnected from the action, and never goes anywhere...again, one assumes the author is laying the ground work for the second volume.
All of this makes this a REALLY long book. I felt that the extraneous plots should have either been eliminated, shortened, or made more relevant to THIS volume.
What kept me reading though were all the interesting concepts that the author keeps introducing rather boldly. These aren't necessarily flawless or super coherent (the imagined universe has nowhere near the same "real" feeling as Herbert's Dune, despite what the publisher says), but they're still pretty clever, even radical and novel: The unisphere, d-sinks, OCtattoos, various inserts, RI/SI, re-lifing, cellular reprofiling, electromuscles, accelerants and aliens who're mostly ignored by humans because they behave like stoned child-hippies speaking with flashy opulence and painful ambiguity.
Interestingly, there are enough ideas, characters and twists to build a huge Netflix series next to which The Expanse would feel like a backyard sci-fi.
You'll like this book if you:
- enjoy fat books (full of not-always-likeable-nor-important characters)
- enjoy hard sci-fi (one that occasionally goes "a bit too far", but not stupidly so)
- enjoy novel ideas that provide food for thought to munch on long after you've put the book down