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 but dangerous, 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.
Hamilton's exhilarating new opus proves that "intelligent space opera" isn't an oxymoron. By the 24th century, the vast human Commonwealth has spread from Earth via artificial wormholes. Various benign or seemingly indifferent alien races have been encountered during exploration of new planets, but an astronomer sparks curiosity by announcing that a pair of stars is enclosed by a mysterious energy barrier. Unfortunately, a space expedition discovers that the shield was created to imprison an insatiably greedy mass mind that sees any other race as a mortal threat. When the barrier somehow is lowered, the alien immediately attacks the largely unprepared Commonwealth, while humans begin wondering if yet another inhuman power has manipulated events that unleashed this threat. The author deftly juggles many characters in multiple plot lines, sometimes slowing down the action briefly, at other times racing forward. Revelations late in the book will have readers scurrying back to earlier pages to reinterpret what they initially thought. Not many SF writers are capable of tackling such a big project so confidently. In this respect, Hamilton (Fallen Dragon) resembles a less cheery but very tech-savvy-and extremely paranoid-Charles Dickens. Given the abrupt cliffhanger of an ending, some may prefer to save this massive installment until the story's conclusion, Judas Unleashed, appears next year. Anyone who begins this one, however, probably won't be able to put it down. (On sale Mar. 2) Forecast: A USA Today bestseller, Hamilton should hit a lot of lists with this one. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Outstanding !! Read it now :)
Posted January 07, 2010 by Jim , Amarillo,TXThis is the first book in a series and must be read in order. It moves fast and has good detail of characters and environments that both develop throughout all the books. A real page turner.
Peter F. Hamilton has a vision of the future that may well be accurate to a scary degree.
What a story of human future history. Books full of wonder. Being almost 50 years old a sense of wonder is hard to get. These books delivered it.
Posted January 11, 2007 by das , AZNot quite as engrossing as his Night's Dawn Trilogy but this is still a very strong story, or at least half of the story since it is continued in Judas Unchained.
December 31, 2003
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Excerpt from Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton
Mars dominated space outside the Ulysses, a bloated dirty-ginger crescent of a planet that never quite made it as a world. Small, frigid, barren, airless, it was simply the solar system's colder version of hell. Yet its glowing presence in the sky had dominated most of human history; first as a god to inspire generations of warriors, then as a goal to countless dreamers.
Now, for NASA Captain-Pilot Wilson Kime, it had become solid land. Two hundred kilometers beyond the landing craft's narrow, curving windshield he could pick out the dark gash that was the Valles Marineris. As a boy he'd accessed the technofantasies of the Aries Underground group, entranced by how one day in an unspecified future, foaming water would once again race down that vast gully as raw human ingenuity unlocked the frozen ice trapped beneath the rusting landscape. Today, he would be the first to walk through those dusty craters he'd studied in a thousand satellite photos, trickle the legendary thin red sand through his gloved fingers. Today was glorious history in the making.
Wilson automatically started a deep feedback breathing exercise, calming his heart before the reality of what was about to happen could affect his metabolism. No way was he giving those goddamn desk medics back in Houston a chance to question his fitness to pilot the landing craft. Eight years he'd spent in the USAF, including two combat duties based in Japan for Operation Deliver Peace, followed by another nine years with NASA. All that buildup and anticipation: the sacrifices, his first wife and totally alienated kid; the eternal VR training at Houston, the press conferences, the mind-rotting PR tours of factories; he'd endured it all because it led to this one moment in this most sacred place.
Mars. At last!
"Initiating VKT ranging, cross match RL acquisition data," he told the landing craft's autopilot. The colored lines of the windshield's holographic display began to change their geometrical patterns. He kept one eye on the timer: eight minutes. "Purging BGA system and vehicle interlink tunnel." His left hand flicked the switches on the console, and tiny LEDs came on to confirm the switch cycle. Some actions NASA would never entrust to voice activation software. "Commencing BGA nonpropulsive vent. Awaiting prime ship sep sequence confirmation."
"Roger that, Eagle II," Nancy Kressmire's voice said in his headset. "Telemetry analysis has you as fully functional. Prime ship power systems ready for disengagement."