Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth series.

Peter F. Hamilton, "The Evolutionary Void"

2012-04-14 · in Books, Commonwealth · 49 words

So -- good story, ties up all the loose ends -- but moves a bit quickly in places, especially towards the end. Overall: decent effort, but didn't enjoy it as much as the first trilogy (where's my interplanetary train network, dammit).

Peter F. Hamilton, "The Temporal Void"

2012-04-01 · in Books, Commonwealth · 32 words

Much like the previous book -- the fantasy bits (which are sort of like Discworld meets Star Wars) are probably the best bit.

Peter F. Hamilton, "The Dreaming Void"

2012-03-02 · in Books, Commonwealth · 33 words

The continuation of the Commonwealth Saga, 1,200 years later. Much the same in style and inventiveness, and now in slightly more sensibly-sized paperbacks.

Peter F. Hamilton, "Judas Unchained"

2011-04-04 · in Books, Commonwealth · 243 words

Yes, it really is called that. At 1235 pages, the sequel to Pandora's Star is straining the limits of paperback technology — my copy began to disintegrate around the time the Starflyer was finally vanquished — and is every bit as much a triumph of awesomely creative worldbuilding over terrifyingly poor editing as the first book was. For example:

There was no problem with erosion on the wet desert, total saturation bestowed the sand with a fantastic degree of cohesion, locking every grain and grit particle into place like an epoxy. It provided a remarkably stable base to drive on, albeit one with very poor traction had they needed to brake sharply.

And later:

They were halfway down the slope now, ranged at four hundred and seventeen metres from the MANN truck. Thick clouds of diesel gushed up out of its vertical exhaust pipes behind the cab, and it started to rumble forwards.

If you're wondering, the climax of the book involves large amounts of long-distance lorrydriving, and a fairly uninspiring whodunnit. Given all the fuss about shortwave radio during the final chase, I was disappointed that the effects of solar flares on the ionosphere didn't turn out to be a major plot point. There's plenty more I could complain about here, but it's probably not going to stop me from buying the next book just to see what on earth he does next. Grr.

Peter F. Hamilton, "Pandora's Star"

2009-09-01 · in Books, Commonwealth · 211 words

This is not revolution, Adam, this is my crusade. I am going to fling the corrupter of humanity into the depths of right beyond hell, where even the devil fears to tread. And that will be the least it deserves. I will avenge myself and all the others who have been consumed by the Starflyer's evil.


You have your beliefs and convictions, Adam, I have mine. Please don't mock them, I find it unpleasant. [...]

I'm in two minds about this one.

On one hand, much of the writing here is pretty awful, and the author's habit of comma-splicing random sentences together never stopped grating for me. A decent copyediting would have helped — but judging by the number of remaining errors and typos, this book never got one.

On the other hand, this is an intricate, ambitious story set in a neatly-crafted and fairly unusual world (an interplanetary railway system!), and it has the odd moment of sheer brilliance — I particularly liked the landing on Mars, and the first description of the Prime aliens. I might not be convinced by Ozzie or Paula's voices, but they're certainly interesting characters.

The next book in the series is now waiting in my in-pile...