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The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter F. Hamilton
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I received a free galley of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a sweeping sci fi novel in the true storytelling tradition. While the characters are gritty and real, I did not for a real attachment to any of them. I tend to really enjoy stories with great characters. That being said, this was a wonderful and unique story filled with new and interesting ideas about possibilities and eventualities. If you enjoy books that sweep through time and space, you will enjoy this book. ( )
  Velmeran | Jan 26, 2019 |
There's a bit of timey-wimey stuff, and some woo-woo fantasy, but it's mostly good, solid space opera. I enjoyed it, and that's about as much review as I'm going to write. I know it seems unfair for a 600 page book I quite enjoyed, but I'm just not in the mood to say much more. I mean, it's not like anyone reads these reviews. :-) ( )
  DLMorrese | Aug 23, 2017 |
The first in a 2 book series that comes after the Void Trilogy. This features the return of Nigel Sheldon, inventor and practical founder of the Commonwealth, as well as possibly its richest human. Recruited by the alien Raiel, Nigel agrees to investigate the inscrutable Void - from the inside! As usual with Hamilton, this is well plotted, well written and the characters are fascinating. He borrows a bit from human history for this one, but it doesn't detract from the book at all. Very good, as usual. ( )
  Karlstar | Oct 31, 2016 |
Peter Hamilton writes sprawling space operas. I have a shelf filled of his thick tomes, but I've always been intimidated to begin one because of their large size. And I was hesitant to pick up "The Abyss Beyond Dreams" because I knew it took place within the Confederation universe around which most of his other books are structured. Would I be lost by plunging into the middle of it?

As it turned out, everything was fine. "The Abyss Beyond Dreams" actually takes place in something of a tributary of the Confederation, a phenomenon called the Void where all physical laws do not work exactly as they do in the universe we inhabit. For one thing, electronics do not function, so those stuck in the Void are limited to mechanical machines to accomplish anything. Furthermore, time can be warped so travel through time is possible.

Because of the time factor, this novel spans literally thousands of years. There is a large cast of characters, but they are mostly infused with unique-enough personalities that they are easy to distinguish from one another. And there is enough volume here that a lot of issues are addressed--scientific, political, social, interpersonal--to make the novel truly an epic. When the characters look like they are going to drag the reader down into too tedious a discussion centered around, say, politics, a jump-cut is made to another scene/setting to make sure everything keeps moving.

Things I liked about the book:
1. I have a preference toward "hard" science fiction, and Hamilton is really a hard sci-fi writer. Though a lot of the technical specs he comes up are completely products of his imagination, they all seem logically that they could exist.
2. During the course of the story, rebels stage a revolution against the ruling powers. Though the revolution seems like it was engineered a little too easily, Hamilton demonstrates that as a whole, politics are messy. Even heroes can have feet of clay.
3. The main characters do seem real. Though there are villains who seem pretty irredeemable, among the "good guys" there isn't a single one of them who isn't flawed. Like life.
4. In the beginning there do seem to be several disparate elements in the book. But by the end they do all come together satisfactorily.

I did have to suspend my disbelief where it came to witnessing a civilization that rose out the crash landing of a starship 3000 years before to find that after those 3 millennia, it hadn't evolved into anything much different than a civilization that looked a lot like our own. Language hadn't changed much and neither had technology nor culture. When thinking how much has changed on Earth over 3000 years, that's hard to believe.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the book and Hamilton's style, and I'm not intimidated by those books on his shelf any more. ( )
  kvrfan | Aug 19, 2016 |
I have read all of Peter Hamilton’s work, after having first been exposed to him through his magnum space opera opus, Night’s Dawn trilogy, a 3,500 page, door stop of a work. I think he is the best modern science fiction writer of this generation. His blend of originality, especially as applied to alien constructs, and hard science fiction is unmatched in my opinion. Sure, he tends to be a little long winded, but I can overlook that in the presence of excellence.

This novel is the first of a two part sequel to the Commonwealth series (Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained) and the Void trilogy. I read these five novels (about 4,000 pages worth) several years ago and it took me a little time to become re-familiar with the underlying story and landscape. Do not let anyone tell you that this novel can be appreciated as a stand-alone work; don’t even try it. The world that Hamilton has created cannot possibly be appreciated by starting in the middle of the story.

In The Abyss Beyond Dreams, Nigel Sheldon (a clone) enters the Void with the assistance of the Raiel, seeking to land on Querencia and rescue the Commonwealth citizens stranded there, destroying the Void in the process. He is stranded on a second Void world, however, Beinvenido and must devise a new plan. A secondary thread follows a cell of revolutionaries that Nigel employs to advance and accomplish his absurdly ambitious plan.

As an aside, Hamilton repeats what has become a pet peeve of mine among science fiction writers in general and Hamilton in particular; the need to create a new epithet to be used by future humans, and repeat it ad nauseam throughout the work. In earlier Commonwealth and Void novels, we were repeatedly assaulted with such terms as "Dreaming Heavens!", “TANJ” (There ain't no justice) and “TANSTAAFL” (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch). In this work, the word “crud” has replaced the perfectly functional “f” word in all its many forms. Uracus (the Bienvenido parallel to Hell) is also used ad nauseum. Far from contributing to the originality of the story, it instead is annoying and comes across as silly. ( )
  santhony | Jul 13, 2016 |
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Kysandra heard the planes of the Air Defense Force droning overhead as she walked across the gardens at the back of the manor house. (Epilogue)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345547195, Hardcover)

New York Times bestselling author and science-fiction megastar Peter F. Hamilton makes his triumphant return to the universe of his acclaimed Void Trilogy with the first novel in a brand-new two-part series.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:02 -0400)

"A clash of cultures in the Void pits humanity against a shape-changing alien species, and sees if two warring races can ever cooperate enough to free themselves from their mutual prison"--

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