February 20th, 2006, 08:42 AM
Peter F. Hamilton...where to start?
I've never read any Peter F. Hamilton.
Which do you all recommend starting with? I would assume either Pandora's Star or The Reality Dysfunction.
February 20th, 2006, 08:51 AM
I preferred The Reality Dysfunction to Pandora's Star, as I've just posted in the book club I've yet to make it through PS even though it is a well written book, I have found it difficult to connect with.
The Reality Dysfunction, however was stunning in my opinion, at times Heavy Sci-Fi, at times Horror and at times Political Intrigue. The books have a style more similar to recent fantasy efforts like Erikson and Martin with the large variety of viewpoints and large amount of sub plots, but I found it rarely confusing as each plot and character is fleshed out properly and all are totally memorable. So I would advise The Reality Dysfunction but you might fancy Pandora's Star since it is being currently discussed in the book club.
February 20th, 2006, 10:03 AM
Either the Reality Dysfunction or the Greg Mandel books. Greg Mandel will give a feel for Hamilton's writing, whereas the Night's Dawn trilogy is just flat out from the start
February 20th, 2006, 12:52 PM
I started with the Greg Mandel books (first one is Mindstar Rising), and Pandora's Star quickly became one of my all-time favorite SF books. But personally, I couldn't even get through the first third of Reality Disfunction. It absolutely didn't work for me. Now, given what everyone else is saying, I'm beginning to think that maybe I was in a bad frame of mind or got something in the wrong order or something. Maybe I'll eventually try it again. But that was my experience.
February 20th, 2006, 06:42 PM
I am with you on that one, Archren. I really disliked the first half of Reality Dysfunction, and never went any farther with the Night's Dawn Trilogy. "Many characters are introduced, most are killed off quickly; I wish the rest had been too" was how I reviewed it at the time. But clearly this is a minority opinion. I still intend to pick up Pandora's Star, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
Last edited by clong; February 20th, 2006 at 06:49 PM.
February 20th, 2006, 06:48 PM
I agree with Fuxxy Elf. PS took some time to get into with all the sub plots running from page 1. RD took the time to get you to identify with the one character before setting up all the sub plots. Having said that, I found PS "unputdownable" over the last 100 pages.
Pehaps try the anthology called (I think) "A second chance at Eden" to get a good general knowledge of Hamilton's style.
February 21st, 2006, 10:05 AM
I guess I should elaborate.
The reason I wanted to start some Hamilton stuff is because I LOVED:
The Hyperion Canton
The Culture books
Mike Resnick's stuff
In that order.
Loads of other books, but those are my favorites.
I'm not worried about Night's Dawn being too long, as long as it is engaging. I'm just more interested in which one you consider as being a better story.
February 21st, 2006, 10:45 AM
In which case read Night's Dawn trilogy, that is imo his best work. Then Pandora Star and Judas Unchained
February 21st, 2006, 12:21 PM
\m/ BEER \m/
Exactly my sentiments. I was very happy I gave Hamilton a second chance, though, because I loved Fallen Dragon, Pandora's Star and so far, Judas Unchained.
Originally Posted by clong
February 21st, 2006, 12:30 PM
Give me liberty!
I agree that the 'Night's Dawn' trilogy are probably the best place to start reading Hamilton, especially if you're a fan of epic space opera. The Commonwealth novels are also well thought of on the forums, though I have more of a soft-spot for the sheer scale of the carnage in 'Night's Dawn'.
The Greg Mandel novels are seriously underrated, and quite interesting in that they're markedly different to the kind of thing Hamilton is really best known for now. His shambolic future britain, rebuilding itself after a disastrous period of extreme socialism, is compelling and believable.
'Fallen Dragon' is actually among my favourite work by Hamilton, an excellent stand-alone and often unfairly overlooked, I've though. 'Misspent Youth' is also interesting, but not for everyone.
February 26th, 2006, 04:13 AM
FALLEN DRAGON is probably the most accessible starting point for Hamilton.
I recently re-read PANDORA'S STAR and slogged through much of JUDAS UNCHAINED, but gave up when I realized that the book would have been half a novella if Hamilton's editor had cut out the adverbs.
Hmmmm. Maybe it should have been called "ADVERBS UNCHAINED" instead?
Last edited by Mathain; February 26th, 2006 at 04:14 AM.
Reason: uhhhh... messed up title of book
March 2nd, 2006, 05:15 AM
I'd start with Reality Dysfunction. He mainly writes big epic space opera these days, and this one is stunningly good. If you don't like this one then you probably won't like the others. His earlier, Greg Mandel novels, are formulaic crime-near-future SF, and decidedly average.
September 25th, 2006, 12:03 PM
Just finished my first Peter F. Hamilton book, Fallen Dragon. I'd almost quit after a 100 pages, because nothing had happened till then, but Fate am I glad I persisted. It turned out to be a mindblowing book, pretty much the best thing I read in SF for a long while.
Now I already got Pandora's Star but also can get my mitts on Misspent Youth. Consensus seems to be MY is Hamilton's worst offering, so should I read it (since it starts the worldbuilding) or skip it?
September 27th, 2006, 10:38 AM
Give me liberty!
'Misspent Youth' is far from a bad novel. It was comparatively poorly received because it was such a departure from the kind of epic space-opera that Hamilton built much of his fanbase on. It's a very different novel to the 'Nights Dawn' series, or even the Greg Mandel books (although they're closer in tone).
If you're looking for spaceships and cyborgs, then give it a skip. If you have any interest in Hamilton's politics, or good UK-based speculative fiction, then check it out.
Fans of the latest two novels might also want to read it simply because it is set in the same universe.
October 11th, 2006, 06:15 PM
Hamilton is my favourite SF author around at the moment, simply because he can combine complex ideas with good characters and good storylines. Many SF writers outstrip him in individual fields (Reynolds has better atmosphere; Banks has better characters etc), but Hamilton is a good 'all-rounder'.
The Reality Dysfunction is, IMO, his best book by far. The pacing is excellent, the characters memorable and the plot compelling. I find it strange that several people found TRD slow but carried on with Pandora's Star, as PS is arguably far slower to get going, as Hamilton does the worldbuilding and plot-advancement in seperate sweeps, whilst TRD does both simultaneously. Pandora's Star is an excellent book, but I found Judas Unchained to be slightly underwhelming. It was good, but I think it left too many unanswered questions for the sequel trilogy.
Speaking of which, The Void Trilogy starts in 2007 with The Dreaming Void and will be followed by Life of Dreams and Evolution's Dream. Hamilton has put up a timeline filling in the 1200 years between the two series on his website.
The Greg Mandel Trilogy is a fine series and I found it surprising he rounded off the storyline so quickly in the third book (although I suppose any number of stories could be fitted in between the second and third novels), as he had good potential for an ongoing series about Mandel. The imagery of a tropical Britain ruined by global warming and political chaos, with London destroyed and Peterborough as the new capital (the US equivalent would be Cleveland becoming the new US capital) is impressive. However, given the relative near-future setting, some of the technology is a bit implausible.
Fallen Dragon is a solid single novel. Misspent Youth has some very interesting commentary on the threats to filmmaking, novel-writing and music-making by the Unisphere (the updated Internet) and introduces many technologies key to the later Commonwealth books. However, the unnecessary number of sex scenes and dislikable characters may be unpalatable to some.
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