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Pandora's Star (The Commonwealth Saga Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 992 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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- Book 1 of 2 in The Commonwealth Saga
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Customers who bought this item also bought
“The author’s expansive vision of the future combines action and intrigue on a panoramic scale.”—Library Journal
“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.”—Locus
“[Hamilton is] a rare talent.”—The Denver Post
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- Publication date : March 2, 2004
- File size : 3719 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 992 pages
- Publisher : Del Rey; 1st edition (March 2, 2004)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B000FC1AFC
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0345461622
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #54,736 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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1) Editing. WTF.
Reader, take heed of how many reviews, even positive ones, mention this flaw. To me its unforgiveable. Every passage in a well written book must exist for one or more of these reasons: move the plot forward; offer vital background; give character depth; or say something profound about the human condition. Hamilton writes like he’s being paid by the word. Lengthy, excruciating details of places never to be revisited, incidents and characters barely relevant to the plot line, and technical descriptions of machinery - it just goes on and on. Remember this review when you get to the hang gliding scene!
2) Poorly written women.
Hamilton writes like a man in midlife experiencing his second adolescence. All the women are sexually voracious tropes, except for the one asexual professional woman, Paula Mayo. Apparently the only reason sexual harassment is no longer an issue in the far future of humanity is that women are so very horny that sleeping with their workplace superior is simply a given. Hot sexy teenagers! Hot sexy older cougars who may or may not be lesbians lusting after the hot sexy teenagers! Hot sexy ship crew member with a heart of gold! Did I mention the women are hot and sexy?
3) Character development.
Just because it’s “hard” science fiction doesn’t mean you get pass on character development. Hamilton introduces character after character with no indication of their true importance. Some reappear, some don’t. Many of his sadly two dimensional characters blur together, creating confusion. Have I met this guy before? I think so, but I can’t remember. Hamilton even gives an early throw away character the SAME first name, Nigel, as the main character. Why? I think his characters are so forgettable the author himself doesn’t remember their names.
And I have to mention the ridiculousness of Ozzie. You know he’s a bohemian because he has a big afro and likes to say “Hey, man” “dude” and “groovy!” He walks the paths of the elves. Cool! He’s not wise or thoughtful or deep. But he’s cool. Groovy even!
4) A future filled with 300 year old adolescents.
Hamilton postulates a world where humans can “regenerate,” so people can live 300 or 400 years with the physical and cognitive vigor of a 30 year old. Yet somehow, not a single character develops the tiniest degree of wisdom, compassion or emotional evolution. Hamilton’s future is filled with ancient adolescents interested in nothing more than wealth and power and sex. And more sex! With hot sexy teenagers! Did I mention the hot sex?
5) Absolutely awful audible narration by John Lee.
Just torture. Fortunately I also had the kindle whisper sync, so I could skim endless passages and take a break from Lee. He swallows words at the ends of sentences so they can barely be heard. He drones on without variation. All the characters sound the same. He takes the worst of Hamilton’s flaws and makes them even worse, which hardly seems possible.
6) The worst sin of all for me is that Hamilton took 37 hours of my life, and had nothing go “say.” Ok, you want to write a book where humans live to be almost a half a century old without ever actually growing up into wise and thoughtful people, so the society is also wholly lacking in wisdom and compassion. The rich and powerful get increasingly rich and powerful. Humans still use internal combustion engines and desecrate the environment in extractive rather than sustainable economics which extends out into the galaxy. Rich and powerful men actually have harems. Harems! That’s an appalling and disgusting concept in a world where women supposedly have significant political power. Hamilton offers this up as our future, not as a cautionary tale, not as a dystopian future. This is the world of Hamilton’s mind. I'm not suggesting a book should have a "this is the moral of the story" moment. But shouldn't there be some kind of take away? Some sense of what the author thinks about life, society or the human condition?
There is some creativity here, there are some good points to the book, and I did finish it. I could have given it two stars because there are probably worse books out there. But I want to draw attention to the significant flaws which you can choose to consider before making the hefty commitment of time this book demands. Believe me, this is no Dune!
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.
Cons - This 1,150 page tome weighs a lot and takes time to consume & digest. It isn't a beach read. Fans of George R.R. Martin, a friend of Hamilton's, will feel right at home. This isn't necessarily a good thing.
Bottom Line - This is somewhat older work by the best, most inventive SF writer of our age is amazing. It's long, yes, but well worth the effort. Go for it.
Top reviews from other countries
I don't mind long books. I'm not intimidated by a book weighing in at 1300 pages -- provided that it *needs* all that space to get things said. I do object to wading through unnecessary detail. I appreciate that the *author* may need to know the backstory to all the characters; where they went to school, whether they had scarlet fever as a kid, if they like spinach. But *I* don't. If it's not relevant to the plot, or it doesn't develop the character, cut it.
This is a wordy, lardy lump of a book, with added cardboard for the characters. So far, in 350 pages, I've met Blah, a detective investigating a murder that didn't actually happen. (Not a spoiler.) I've met Blah, a strawman socialist/terrorist (I'm not sure PFH can tell the difference, or cares to) who works with millionaire Blah who seems to have some cunning plan. I've met rocketeer "right stuff" (quote) Blah who I guess is going to get around to doing something sometime, and athlete Blah who enjoys paragliding and shagging the primitive locals. PFH has noticed that it's the 21st century, so some of these Blahs are women. Or at least, use female pronouns.
Oh yeah, and I've met Jar Jar Binks's spiritual brother.
Even that I can forgive, if the world is interesting enough. This world isn't. Wormhole travel has turned our corner of the galaxy into a single huge mega-planet. Passengers get on a train (yeah, really) go through a tunnel and are instantaneously blipped to the other end of the tunnel. It's so boringly routine that people commute between planets to their boring jobs.
Despite its size, the megaplanet feels really small. Nowhere except America has ever existed, the only culture is conservative American business culture, all the planets have Anglo-friendly names, and everyone except for a couple of taxi drivers and the aforementioned JJ Binks is white.
All the time, this spaceship is being built in the background to go visit the threat/mystery set up on page 1. Obviously, it's going to end up with a crew of Blahs. I. Don't. Care.
The book could be improved by taking a firm grip of the first 350 pages (all I've read so far, or intend to) and ripping them out.
The book has its flaws, and rather caters a little too much for pure space opera fans alone, but the overall impact of the alarming story elements and their subsequent implications drives the story relentlessly onwards. It's a very addictive book I found.
I think it's fair to say Hamilton is a 'large scale' storyteller, as opposed to being a master of dainty, quirky, subtle emotional writing. I can understand how some readers may therefore feel underwhelmed by his dialogue and character motivation at times, but when viewed in context with the tale as a whole (and within the space opera remit) his style fits very well.
I think Peter Hamilton is a brilliant writer, but not necessarily for the same reasons I think certain other writers are brilliant. Pandora's Star gets the full 5 stars, no questions asked.
Started reading this last night ......... then stopped after about 30 pages.
Why, you may ask, it seems a bit soon to lose interest in the story?
The writing style is easy to read - and the backdrop, descriptions and character, seem interesting enough. BUT did they forget to format it?
I'd started reading it on my iPad, then switched to my Kindle Fire, just in case it was a device/app issue, but no, its the same on both. The layout 'to the eye' is almost a single 'large text block'. Paragraph endings don't quite run into each other, but there is no' white space' gap between paragraphs ......
Reading those first 30 pages certainly made me remember everything I'd read about 'how people read' and the importance of layout to the ease of scanning the page - like 'visual cue' meta punctuation.
This is a long book (1000+ pages) and, if its all in this layout, its going to be a very hard read. A quick flick through the pages of several of the books suggests it may be. Oooooops.
I've read quite a few ebooks now and I've never seen one - not even the fresh faced indie 'fan fiction' - with such poor formatting. Given the effort that went into writing the book, this has to be a publishing 'bug' right? Please rerun the 'convert to ebook' program again, but this time with the 'space between paragraph' box ticked. I hope they fix it soon, as I don't know if my tired 'just before bedtime' brain can handle the layout.
If the formatting were better I'd have given it a 4 at this stage. I hope they fix it.