December 31st, 2005

userinfo senji
2005/12/31 18:32:00 - Mixing your mythological metaphors
Hamilton, Peter F. Pandora's Star (Actually read in 2004)
77. Hamilton, Peter F. Judas Unchained

Imagine a universe in which populated worlds are linked by railway.

OK, try again with the important detail that the actual connections are wormhole "tunnels", seems a little more plausible now doesn't it?

This is a universe without manned spaceflight (wormholes reached Mars at the same time that the last NASA mission did), but with mass colonisation of the stars facilitated by unmanned probes.

It's also a universe with known aliens (who generally keep out of the way of humans), and one secretive one. Well, at least if you believe the universe's Number One Wanted Criminal who is a terrorist working against a conspiracy only he can see in the government planted by that secretive alien (that noöne else thinks exists).

Add the discovery that an unusual astronomic event that's just visible to human telescopes turns out to be instantaneous and all of a sudden mankind wants manned spaceflight; and that really opens Pandora's Box….

Whilst this is published as a pair of books, the story flow is more like a quartet (in a very similar way to Donaldson's Mordant's Need), with sections that might be described as Exposition, Beginning, Middle, End. It's a format that works very well in this kind of stand-alone setting; and Hamilton's talents are well suited to this kind of length, particularly as he managed to avoid the temptation of a literally Deus ex Machina ending that he succumbed to in the Night's Dawn trilogy.

Possibly the best new Science Fiction of recent years; and hard to put down.
Current Mood: [mood icon] joyous
Entry Tags: books 2005, peter f. hamilton, sf

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userinfo cartesiandaemon
2006/01/04 16:16:25
I must try this, because I've read a few Hamilton, and felt he was just always on the edge of a wonderful book. Night's Dawn was great, but too rambling, too deus ex machina, and too metaphysically dodgy; some of the short stories were perfect; some of the adventures (Greg someone?) were great fun, but not as sweeping as Dawn. So this seems promising, but I'd assumed Night's Dawn was his wad and not been reading more.
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userinfo senji
2006/01/04 16:37:04
You can borrow it if you want (but it's two large hardbacks, because I did the new $author book! squee! thing.)
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userinfo cartesiandaemon
2006/01/04 16:39:43
Thank you! Probably not (I have a little pile at the moment) but I might do.
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2006/01/04 23:48:43
Isn't that Transit?

Aaronovitch beats the pants off Hamilton any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.
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Mixing your mythological metaphors - Squaring the circle...

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