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Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton
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Pandora's Star (2004)

by Peter F. Hamilton

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2,489502,453 (4)1 / 101
  1. 31
    A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge (orange_epsilon)
    orange_epsilon: If you like reading about space travel and alien cultures, then this is the book for you.
  2. 10
    The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton (jannis)
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My reactions to reading this novel in 2005.

As with his Night's Dawn trilogy and Fallen Dragon, Hamilton's exhibits his characteristic strengths of worldbuilding -- the technology, politics, science, topography, geography, and most especially (and rarely -- and least in a credible sense -- for sf writers) the economics of his worlds.

In a certain sense this is a fond, sf version of the British Empire in the Belle Epoque era, a Commonwealth of worlds literally bound together by trains that travel through wormholes, the only fly in the ointment being (as with troubles in the Balkans pre-World War One) some terrorists who are convinced that the government has been infiltrated by a vast alien conspiracy. This rather utopian world is then suddenly propelled into a war with aliens.

Despite the absence of a schism in the human ranks as represented by the Adamists and Edenists in the Night's Dawn trilogy, the flavor of the Interstellar Commonwealth is quite similar to that series' Confederation. The world of both features mysterious aliens and alien ruins. In Night's Dawn it was the Kulu and their ruins. Here it is High Angel and the mysterious, rather moronic seeming Silfen. People put aside money for their physical regenerations like we put aside money for retirements and "first lifers" are regarded sexually, psychologically, and socially as something special by those who have lived long enough to undergo rejuvenation therapy. The resulting long lived characters are reminiscent of the longed lived characters in Hamilton's stand alone novella "Watching Trees Grow". (Those whose physical bodies are actually destroyed and who find their edited and recorded memories loaded into cloned bodies have a traumatic time of it.)

The novel is not only reminiscent of early Hamilton works, but in several points seemed a takeoff of other sf works. The ice whales Ozzie finds on the world of the Ice Citadel seemed a sort of mirror image of the sandworms in Frank Herbert's Dune. The fast evolving, very smart and adaptive (and ecologically destructive) Primes breaking out of their world -- and gaining the knowledge of interstellar travel -- is quite reminiscent of the human fears about the Moties in Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye and The Gripping Hand. The conspiratorial linking and media manipulation practiced by the software version of Mellanie's great-great-grandfather (along with Sheldon and Ozzie, one of the inventor's of wormhole technology), implanted in Mellanie, and Mellanie reminded me of Algis Budry's Michealmas.

I particularly liked the ongoing plot, with it espionage/crime aspects that Hamilton does so well, with socialist and terrorist for hire Adam. He still resents the economic disparities in the Commonwealth's population and refuses to see the Commonwealth as good though its the most prosperous human society ever created. I also liked Bradley, ex-curator the alien Starflyer ship and now purveyor of the notion a vast alien conspiracy is rotting away at the Commonwealth. And, at least in this first half of the story, there's evidence he may be right. I wonder if Hamilton, still smarting at the silly criticism about making a socialist government the bad guys in his first works, the Greg Mandel series, decided to create a socialist hero. Though, if so, he's a peculiar hero -- he's definitely guilty of killing women and children and doesn't try to deny it. ( )
  RandyStafford | Apr 27, 2014 |
Part One of a great read -- Judas Unchained is Part Two. Loved it. ( )
  patriciamoss | May 28, 2013 |
Good enough that after 800 pages I started reading the concluding novel (another 900 pages) right away! ( )
  cynrwiecko | May 3, 2013 |
Read and reviewed in 2007.

Overview of my thoughts: Pandora's Star is an amazing, sweeping - almost epic - version of the space opera that so many of us know and love. Covering a critical juncture in the history of the Commonwealth (taking place approximately 400 years in the future), which is a grouping of star systems linked by wormholes, Pandora's Star is intricately plotted, giving us a rich array of characters, all of whom are fleshed out and complete.

My Synopsis: Two stars, some distance from the farthest outpost, were somehow covered by a barrier hundreds - if not thousands - of years ago. When an astronomer discovers that the barriers went up almost instantaneously and close to the same time, the Commonwealth decides to build the first starship in hundreds of years to go out and take a look. While examining the barrier, it suddenly goes down, exposing a strongly technological - and very aggressive - society of a hive-mind type creature that calls themselves Prime. The Prime immediately set out creating their own wormholes, so they can eradicate the humans and take over their worlds. But is this the only enemy? A cult group calling itself the Guardians of Selfhood have been claiming for decades that another alien, whom they call the Starflyer, is set to destroy the Commonwealth and they believe that the Starflyer is itself responsible for releasing the Prime. For what reason?

Characters: This is the very bare-bones of the ideas covered in this book. Every character that is introduced, no matter how minor, is fleshed out and real. Nigel and Ozzie, who created the wormholes - Paula Myo, who is obsessed with shutting down the Guardians - Mark Vernon, who lives on a distant world in a settlement dedicated to a clean, fairly simple life after dropping out of the fast lane . . . these are just a few of the many characters that Hamilton brings to glowing life.

My Recommendation: This book receives a strong recommend from me for anyone who likes sci fi in general; space opera in particular; or just a book with a gripping plot and strong characters. Terrific!! ( )
1 vote Katyas | Apr 19, 2013 |
Ugh. This went on forever without coming to any kind of a conclusion, there were multiple sub plots many of which interested me not at all. The prose was clunky the world building was uneven and at times just silly. There were very few female characters I didn't want to drown in a bucket for being useless and unbelievably annoying. There were some cool aliens and a bit of nifty tech. But the rest of it was a steaming pile of oh just get on with it already.

According to this, the future is going to be pretty much like the mid 80's only with more and better gadgets. Despite the fact that this one ended on a literal cliffhanger, I have zero interest in reading on to find out what happened. I will just make it up in my head. In my version there are going to be some revolutions. ( )
3 vote bunwat | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Mars completely dominated space outside the Ulysses, the bloated dirty-ginger crescent of a planet that never quite made it as a world.
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Haiku summary
Wormholes expand life

To other planets until

Enemy wakens.

(legallypuzzled)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345479211, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

Could it be that Johansson was right?



From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:50 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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 starshipb7ss 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. Could it be that Johansson was right?… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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