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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Peter Hamilton's Commonwealth/Void Series - SF at its Best


Official Peter F. Hamilton Site
Timeline of Events Between Judas Unchained and The Dreaming Void
Read FBC Review of The Dreaming Void
Read FBC Review of The Temporal Void

About ten days ago I have received a review copy of
The Evolutionary Void which concludes the Void trilogy of Peter F. Hamilton. After three days of intense reading I have to say that I was so impressed by this novel that instead of reading some of the interesting books I have in my pile, I spent the last week on a careful re-read of The Dreaming Void, The Temporal Void, The Evolutionary Void (again) and then a somewhat faster reread of Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained which take place some 1200 years earlier and form the Commonwealth Saga.

While we know from the first two
Void volumes that many characters from the Commonwealth Saga appear in the Void trilogy - some as cameos but some like Justine Burnelli, Gore Burnelli, Paula Myo, The Cat and Oscar Monroe as main characters - The Evolutionary Void ties the Void trilogy even deeper into the Commonwealth Saga and the two can be considered one extended series that forms another pinnacle of contemporary sf alongside the author' superb The Night's Dawn trilogy; these two series: Commonwealth/Void and The Night's Dawn are my co-#1 finished series in science fiction and fantasy and they represent modern sff at its best - "extreme" sense of wonder, multi-threaded panoramic epics with great characters, optimistic and believing in human ingenuity while not avoiding the darker sides of humanity and post-humanity in the Void case.

In my reread of the three
Void novels one after another and *knowing* how things end, I realized once again what a masterful plotter Mr. Hamilton is. While The Dreaming Void is still mostly a setup novel both in the Greater Commonwealth thread and in the Edeard/Void thread, there is a lot of foreshadowing that will not be full appreciated till the end. The Temporal Void kicks events into high gear in both threads and The Evolutionary Void finishes with panache in an ending that is among the best of any series I have ever read. While they stand together at over 2000 pages, the three Void novels can be considered one huge book since the events flow from one into another and there is no lag between the novels, each picking up after the other ends.

I will review
The Evolutionary Void closer to its August US publication date but in the meantime I want to urge any sf lover to take a look at the series until now so you are ready to appreciate the magnificent achievement of the author when the concluding Void novel appears on bookshelves everywhere!

6 comments:

D-man said...

Great post. I picked up a copy of The Dreaming Void last week, but read online that Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained should be read first, as their impact is lessened if I read the Void Trilogy beforehand. I've since picked up a copy of Pandora's Star, and will be jumping into it as soon as I'm finished reading Rollback by Robert Sawyer.

I've never read anything by Peter Hamilton, so I'm looking forward to seeing what he's all about.

Mark Vidov said...

Having not read any Peter Hamilton books, they look daunting. Where should I start?

Liviu said...

Pandora's Star is not a bad place to start since it's one of the best PFH novels and very representative of both his style and the sense of wonder of his novels.

Reality Dysfunction is the other good starting place since after all it's always to first try the best and those two are there.

Cassie said...

I just got my brother to pick up Pandora's Star. I absolutely love the Commonwealth Series, and I seriously can't wait until the Evolutionary Void comes out in the US!

Joar said...

I would highly recommend the "Greg Mandel" series by PFH ("Mindstar Rising", "A Quantum Murder" and "The Nano Flower"). These are the first novels from this author, and has a earth/mystery-based setting in complete contrast to his other later novels.

Liviu said...

I liked the Greg Mandel novels too, especially the first and the second - I think I discovered PFH through Mindstar Rising in the mid 90's -

Nano Flower I thought weaker - kind of repetitive with Mindstar Rising in structure though set some decades later, but still worth reading and the ending was great

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