Peter F. Hamilton: Pandora's Star. Don't know the author, and haven't read any of his books. I chose it as a speculator at the local mall while wanting something sci-fi to read. The cover has a pretty awesome oil painting of a space ship on the cover. Money shot - and reason for purchase.
Awesome tech in this. Several technological innovations drive the society.
- Human rejuvenation. Humanity is essentially immortal. Murders are pretty much unknown, as people can just load their memories up into a new body which is grown for them.
- Wormholes. These can carry matter including humans, trains, goods, spaceships, energy fluctuations and even nuclear missiles.
- Unitary species. Which happens to be instantaneously warlike as it can only view the universe in a unitary manner ie one species, one universe, hence no room for others.
The best part of this book was how the wormholes were used for warfare by the unitary species. There was some very cool passages which described how the unitary species opened up huge numbers of workholes directly over targets and then sent nuclear missiles through.
Others contained descriptions of how Faster than Light drives were used to confuse the creation of wormholes. In another spate of warfare, energy pulses were sent up the unitary species wormholes to destroy the generators powering the wormholes.
In a final case, a human spaceship suicided up a wormhole and destroyed a significant amount of the unitary species capability. Suicide is not a big deal when you can grow a new body and have your memories inserted into with only the loss of a few minutes of contiguous memory.
The Alien species in the book are strong and have different twists to previous sci-fi stereotypes of aliens. It was good to see that some aliens did not mirror the human experience of social and group behaviour.
- Silfen. Interesting take on a species whose main talent seems to be inter-planetary and (muddled) time travel. Ozzie's trek in discovering their way of life is a worthwhile thread in the book.
- High Angel. Probably the most interesting species in the book. It is a kind of mixed sociologist and biologist.
- Car manufacturers did not suffer any economic darwinism between 2005 and 2380. Ford, Chevrolet, Ferrari etc all still exist in car transportation.
- Every woman's clothing was described in great detail with much tanned skin, long legs and cleavage. Men's clothing was not mentioned.
- Ozzie's trek along with Silfen paths did not wrap up. This was dreadful. It was obvious he had become a key as he worked out how to communicate with one of the unitary species, but his thread suffered a discworld type ending with a to be continued. Bad, bad, bad.
- StarFlyer was fingered as the bad guy, but, another to be continued was given. In 950 pages, the book should complete itself, not introduce a new plot point to the reader after that much slog.
- Paula Myo's court case was an utter waste of time. Worse it had a Matlock type leap in which the defendant confessed while giving evidence. It was a bullshit case, with a plot leap in extracting the confession that defied the suspension of disbelief. This was the worst part of the book.
Heavy middle sections. The weight of the book is wrong, it got me to focus on the Dyson Spheres as the main component of the book, but it is really a conspiracy (thriller?) book with the Dyson Spheres as just one event that is used to display the level of conspiracy.
The book was also heavy in some places and too light in others. This doesn't make it a bad book, just a little unbalanced. The political dialogue was Beverly Hills 90210-ish. There was also too many characters. I would forget who was who at times, and ones that had big roles in the beginning dropped off at the end. I have a suspicion that this was written to be a mini-series for sci-fi channel.
If the book cut much of the exposition and trimmed itself to 400 pages, this would probably be a thumping, action-filled, plot driven sci-fi ride. Especially if the book ened with the battle between humanity and the unitary species with the SI providing the intelligence that disrupts the weak point of the unitary species. The book already had the sacrifice ship which could have taken out the prime of the unitary species and fragmented them.
Not badly written, just has many directions that really lead nowhere. There are about 400 pages of expositions, that aren't really character development. They are the action style development of introduction, and often seem trite for it.
It is an OK book, I read most of it, and only skip-read the big political swathe in the middle, as well as Paula Myo's trial. But, and the big but is, the book wasn't finished, too many threads left open, and the StarFlyer was fingered as the true baddie in a leap that was intuitive to the characters but not to the reader.
Strong in tech, but poor in entwining the characters to the plot. It was also too long IMNSHO.
|< Movie Mini-Review: Serenity opened this weekend | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >|