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  1. #1
    Lord Of Mejik Vooloc's Avatar
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    Pandoras Star & Judas Unchained [spoilers]

    finished this series the other day.
    loved it in its entirety but gotta say the ending was a letdown.
    not how it ended just the way Hamilton went about it.
    we never even heard again from Morninglightmountain after the hells gate wormhole was destroyed.
    never got a pov from the starflyer at all or any of his agents, never understood his motivation at all, not really anyway.
    there were a few other tiny bits i had problems but they are the main ones.
    dont get me wrong i really liked and enjoyed the books overall but i kept waiting for these pov's that never happened.

    i also have a question, maybe i missed it in the book or didnt understand it properly but when Ozzie went to the dark fortress to re-establish it and figure out how it came down, what had made it come down when the second chance was there?
    from my understanding at the end of the book it seemed that there was a flaring quantum buster in the centre??
    how the hell did that get there and when?
    i probably misread so some clarification would be good.
    Last edited by Vooloc; November 29th, 2012 at 06:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Vooloc View Post
    we never even heard again from Morninglightmountain after the hells gate wormhole was destroyed.
    never got a pov from the starflyer at all or any of his agents, never understood his motivation at all, not really anyway.
    i think it's motivation was to eliminate anything it saw as competition because it saw the universe as being there only for itself and no one else; that's why it killed off all it's fellow species.

    You are right i don't remember hearing from it after hells gate was destroyed. If anyone else wants to chime in and help out, my memory is a little fuzzy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vooloc View Post
    i also have a question, maybe i missed it in the book or didnt understand it properly but when Ozzie went to the dark fortress to re-establish it and figure out how it came down, what had made it come down when the second chance was there?
    I believe that the starflyer planted something on the second chance that was inserted (??) into the fortress by a starflyer agent (when they got there) to bring it down. Maybe someone can clarify this a little more.


    Hope this triggered something for you... sorry i couldn't be more help, it's been about 6 years since I've read these, but i loved them as well.

  3. #3
    Lord Of Mejik Vooloc's Avatar
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    bloody good books. apart from what i have already stated.
    i liked the style as soon as i started reading.
    i read the reality dysfunction a few years back but lost interest in the neutronium alchemist. im not gonna go back to them but i am gonna read the void trilogy soon. got some other stand alones to read first.

  4. #4
    Registered User livens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vooloc View Post
    finished this series the other day.
    loved it in its entirety but gotta say the ending was a letdown.
    not how it ended just the way Hamilton went about it.
    we never even heard again from Morninglightmountain after the hells gate wormhole was destroyed.
    ...
    The last 10 or so paragraphs have Ozzie and the Bose motile going down a path and ending up on MLM's home planet. No thoughts from MLM itself, I think Hamilton wanted to keep that story line closed. But yeah, I agree, the parts where we heard MLM's own thoughts were some of the best.

  5. #5
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    I started Pandora's Star recently. It started good but I was turned off by walking paths to other planets. And it is too long while not being interesting enough. The same thing happened with Reality Dysfunction.

    It is so curious that SF writers could mak good stories in 150 to 200 pages back in the 50s. It is annoying to read 300 pages of 900 and start getting tired of the story because the writer can't keep it interesting. Of course by then you've already bought the book. So people who like it give it good PR.

    psik

  6. #6
    Couch Commander Danogzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    It started good but I was turned off by walking paths to other planets.

    psik
    And that path walking goes on for hundreds of pages over the three books and serves absolutely no plot purpose. All that is accomplished is one short conversation with a silfen that gave us a small and mostly irrelevant bit of information that could have come from another source and had just a couple pages devoted to it.

  7. #7
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danogzilla View Post
    And that path walking goes on for hundreds of pages over the three books and serves absolutely no plot purpose. All that is accomplished is one short conversation with a silfen that gave us a small and mostly irrelevant bit of information that could have come from another source and had just a couple pages devoted to it.
    So why do so many long crappy books get rated so highly? Like Cryptonomicon. It was never bad, just never good, but just went on and on and on. I only read as far as half way because it gets such good PR but finally I could not take the pointlessness anymore.

    psik

  8. #8
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    Pandora's Star is a slow burn. There's a mystery at the heart of it that Hamilton starts unravelling fairly slowly and which you only get the answer behind about two-thirds of the way through the book, at which point the story suddenly accelerates into overdrive. The depth and extent of the worldbuilding was necessary to prepare the reader for what happens when the described society collides with the threat and give it some weight.

    Judas Unchained was a huge letdown compared to the first book, however, especially for the over-convenient ending.

  9. #9
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werthead View Post
    Pandora's Star is a slow burn. There's a mystery at the heart of it that Hamilton starts unravelling fairly slowly and which you only get the answer behind about two-thirds of the way through the book, at which point the story suddenly accelerates into overdrive.
    2/3rds of that book is 600 pages. That is the length of The Mote in God's Eye.

    It wasn't good enough to keep me going and the fantasy-science finally broke the camel's back.

    psik

  10. #10
    Registered User livens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by psikeyhackr View Post
    I started Pandora's Star recently. It started good but I was turned off by walking paths to other planets. And it is too long while not being interesting enough. The same thing happened with Reality Dysfunction.

    It is so curious that SF writers could mak good stories in 150 to 200 pages back in the 50s. It is annoying to read 300 pages of 900 and start getting tired of the story because the writer can't keep it interesting. Of course by then you've already bought the book. So people who like it give it good PR.

    psik
    Not sure what you mean by that. Are you saying I make myself like the book because I had already purchased it and dont want to feel like I wasted my money?

    I like PH's books because they are long and wandering. Yes, you could condense them down to 1/3 the size by stripping most of the side stories that are not essential to the main plot. But I dont read them for the 2-300 pages of plot moving text and then forgive the other 1k just to make myself think I like it, or rationalize the purchase.

    The Nights Dawn trilogy is my #1, with the Commonwealth Saga right behind. I also love Alastair Reynold's longish books. But its not just because they are long that I like them. If they were not such good writers I would never devote that much time into reading something that long.

  11. #11
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by livens View Post
    Not sure what you mean by that. Are you saying I make myself like the book because I had already purchased it and don't want to feel like I wasted my money?
    I am not trying to psychoanalyse people who say they like certain books.

    I am simply saying that without better explanations of books' characteristics' people who do not like this "style" cannot tell before they have spent their money.

    In the olde days I could tell if I would like a book in 20 pages. Then I had to increase that to 50. But today there are people who will say books don't get good until 300 pages. I expect to be nearly finishing a book at that point. I don't mind reading 500 or 1000 pages, but I want to enjoy most of it. I am not slogging through 300 pages of boring junk because some people claim there is some great finale beyond page 500.

    Somewhere within the 1,000 pages of this book is a very good 600 page book struggling to emerge.
    That is a comment from a 2 rating on Amazon. This reminds me of the business of Heinlein saying that the original Mote in God's Eye needed to cut down but the edited result is great. I liked the start of Pandor's Star but then it became like wading through mud that just kept getting deeper and deeper.

    psik

  12. #12
    Earthman1
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    Whilst we do not get a direct PoV from the starflyer, its motives are explained. It considers itself the superior version of MLM, and its actions are designed to cause a war of mutual annihilation between MLM and the Commonwealth. During this war it intends to get home to Dyson Beta where it can muster its forces (& release them from the DF sphere there) to seize control of the former territories of the Commonwealth and MLM. Its ultimate objective is the same as the original MLM's - to exterminate other species and spread throughout the galaxy. It is possible that it might modify its actions from the one-track view of MLM, and not totally exterminate species but enslave some after wiping out the majority (IIRC this is what it did with the sapient species on planet within Dyson Beta).

  13. #13
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    It's important to note that books back in the 1950s and 1960s were short because of post-WWII papers shortages and then basic inertia. The authors often wanted books to be longer, but couldn't. Arguably that gave us some great books but in many cases it was not out of some artistic desire to do, but exterior limitations that authors often struggled against.

    If we also look at the period in question, are there really that many 'great' SF books of that length? For every Tiger! Tiger! there were a dozen horrible books with naked women on the cover being menaced by tentacle monsters. The period in question was bloody awful once you moved outside of a relative few acknowledged classics. And it's interesting that several of the most acclaimed SF novels of that period were indeed quite long (Dune and Stand on Zanzibar in particular) or part of series, or both.

    It wasn't good enough to keep me going and the fantasy-science finally broke the camel's back.
    The Mote in God's Eye also has some fantasy science in it. I'm also not sure what fantasy science you are referring to in Pandora's Star. Pretty much everything (even the Silfen paths, if of a different variety) is done via wormholes, which are a very well-established SF trope (and theoretical scientific idea).

  14. #14
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werthead View Post
    It's important to note that books back in the 1950s and 1960s were short because of post-WWII papers shortages and then basic inertia. The authors often wanted books to be longer, but couldn't.
    I am not aware of a paper shortage in the US for long after the war. I presume the major problem was typewriters. Did authors think about their stories more before writing because it was so much work?

    If we also look at the period in question, are there really that many 'great' SF books of that length? For every Tiger! Tiger! there were a dozen horrible books with naked women on the cover being menaced by tentacle monsters.
    Theodore Sturgeon said, "90% of everything is crud." back in the 50s in reference to science fiction but 50 years of 10% still adds up to a lot so now we have a filtering problem. And in the 50s and 60s psychic phenomenon was more acceptable as SF.

    The Mote in God's Eye also has some fantasy science in it. I'm also not sure what fantasy science you are referring to in Pandora's Star. Pretty much everything (even the Silfen paths, if of a different variety) is done via wormholes, which are a very well-established SF trope (and theoretical scientific idea).
    What do you regard as fantasy science in The Mote in God's Eye? It and Pandora's Star leave out important details at points. Like not worrying about bio-hazards in dealing with the moties is one issue. But that would have added lots of details and slowed down the story and not contributed anything to make it better. In creating the worm hole to Mars at the beginning of Pandora's Star there is no mention of the air pressure differential but the obvious solution is to open the wormhole inside a pressure chamber on the Earth end.

    But the paths that people could walk at any time would require constantly open wormholes allowing air and biological contamination to be continuous. Sorry, but that goes over my limit of credibility. Everybody has to decide for themselves where they draw the line. I will tolerate it if the story is enjoyable enough but if it ain't fun and it doesn't make sense then I give up.

    psik

  15. #15
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    What do you regard as fantasy science in The Mote in God's Eye?
    The FTL system was somewhat unconvincing (requiring pre-existing, naturally-occurring wormholes rather than artificially-created ones IIRC), even by the normally fudgeable standards of SF.

    But the paths that people could walk at any time would require constantly open wormholes allowing air and biological contamination to be continuous. Sorry, but that goes over my limit of credibility. Everybody has to decide for themselves where they draw the line.
    The wormhole paths are the creation of an immeasurably superior alien race, millions of years in advance of humanity, however. The rationale there is that once something is proven to be possible - such as wormhole technology in the first place - then it can be refined considerably. With millions of years of further refinement available, the issues you describe have been taken care of.

    'Enjoyable' and 'fun' are of course in the eye of the beholder, but 'making sense' is an objective qualification. In terms of story and science, Pandora's Star makes a reasonable amount of sense. Sure, Hamilton uses fudges and glosses over some things, but then so has every other SF author since the dawn of time: including Mote's own co-author Larry Niven, who created an impressive SF gigastructure Big Dumb Object and didn't actually think about how it would work in RL, leading to escalatingly ludicrous explanations in subsequent books. Though that's still not as awesome as my favourite big SF mistake, namely Frank Herbert not actually twigging that Arrakis, as a planet devoid of surface vegetation, would not have a breathable atmosphere.

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