Pandora's Star Prime –

I have very mixed feelings about this book, and of the experience of having read it As a result, I m not sure I can say that I truly enjoyed it it s well crafted, overall, but at the same time not without its frustrations.First, the good stuff there s a hugely epic plot here, ultimately concerned with ensuring the continued survival of the human race bold, three dimensional characters who are intriguing, and draw you into their story plot twists that you truly never see coming, and which are revealed with a subtle mastery that forces you to rethink everything you ve read up until that point and a fascinating, amazingly thought out world that all of this is set in.On the other hand, however, the book has its problems, chief of which is its length and pacing This is a book that is almost one thousand pages long, which by itself I don t have a problem with Some of my favourite novels and novel series feature lengths like that While the length isn t a problem, the way the plot develops within that length was a problem for me I remember at one point thinking to myself oh, the action is starting to pick up and the plot s finally moving forward , and then looking at the page number and seeing something in the three hundreds Then, after another four hundred pages of exciting outer space action, things slow down again for another couple of hundred pages, once again getting exciting for the last hundred pages before finally ending on a cliffhanger Add to this chapters that were routinely over fifty pages long, and which didn t seem to have any strong internal structure to them, and you re left with a book that I strongly considered giving up on several times during the process of reading it And yet, at the end, I was left with a strong desire to check out the sequel, which is another thousand page book and will no doubt have many of the same issues. Some time in the not far future humanity suddenly decided it isfun to go to Mars than have endless wars in the Middle East hard to believe this sudden break of a common sense, is not it In any way NASA got enough funding to organize a flight to the Red Planet After a long flight with a trained crew everything was ready for landing with all the appropriate fanfares and direct video translation to Earth The moment US flag was about to be proudly planted in Martian soil something very comical happened Two students working in a garage discovered how to create a wormhole and stepped from sunny California right into the middle of the landing crew asking the flag bearer, Dude, do you need help with it Needless to say the timing of the revelation of their discovery was so perfect it instantly killed the spaceflight and NASA itself.Fast forward several hundred years Using the wormhole technology humans colonized countless planets with majority of them still accepting a central authority this collection became known as Commonwealth Somewhere on the edge of Commonwealth a second rated astronomer made an astounding discovery a double star vanished It did not go supernova, this did not appear to be a natural phenomena, so artificial nature was strongly suspected Also the level of technology to do something like this was not anywhere in the foreseeable future of humanity The next andalarming question was, what was the civilization capable of creating such technology afraid ofOf cause the humans decided to investigate if only to prepare for this super threat Giving a very mild spoiler I can tell they discovered sentient race whose motto was Nuke first, ask questions later and let God sort them out Hard times for our side, lots of battles on different scales, and other grim events followed At this I just barely scratched the surface of what was going on in the book I will just mention that it also has galactic level conspiracy theories, again galactic level politics, some murders that did not make any sense, soul searching, interesting characters, mysterious happenings, lots of alien worlds, terrorism, smuggling, crazy cults in short everything and a kitchen sink.I can never stop being impressed by Peter F Hamilton s imagination The guy can effortlessly describe dozens of different planets with their landscape, geology, and climate making it easy to imagine being there Some of the POVs and plot lines connected to them are very interesting and always leave you wanted to knowabout the development I already mentioned some interesting characters On the negative side I had the impression that Hamilton likes to show off his great imagination Some of the descriptions were way too long Sadly I failed to get excited about some of POVs and their subplots For example I could not care less about Jastine until almost the last page and it took a lot of time for Ozzie to become interesting If some kind soul I mean editor cuts off these unexciting parts reducing the length of the book by half I would rate the remaining part with 6 stars, no questions asked As it is now my rating is only 4 stars I will read the next book soon, but I need to take a little break before reading another 900 page mammoth. From the other ratings, there are lots of people who like this a lot, so it may be unfair to review this book in comparison with the best hard science fiction Thus, this is a warning for the other people who don t know what space opera is and are looking for the next Asimov or OS Card He s not here.Space opera According to Wikipedia, New space opera proponents claim that the genre centers on character development, fine writing, high literary standards, verisimilitude, and a moral exploration of contemporary social issues That all sounds great but Pandora s Star is a drawn out affair with tons of useless details, many intertwining sub plots, and many less than engaging characters The main problem is the feeling of being in a mediocre TV series that jumps the shark in the first episode The story is dragged out unnecessarily with plot devices that come off as cheap tricks or cliches unexplained mystery cliffhanger, detectives staking out arms dealers, etc For a book about faster than light space travel, things move very ponderously. 6.0 stars This one may make it onto my list of All Time Favorites but I am going to wait until I finish Judas Unchained as the two books should really be treated as one VERY LONG novel This was an amazing read filled with mind blowing ideas and superb and I really mean superb world building Do not let the length of the book keep you from giving it a try It is incredibly well written throughout and I think the length is warranted given how much is going on HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 3.5 In a lot of ways, this ambitious novel, like all of the Peter F Hamilton novels I can think of, should be put on a higher rung than all the other SF out there Why Because it s LONG.Throw in an enormous cast of characters who won t die because they can be uploaded and put back in new bodies, complete with full rejuvenation treatments that sometimes go wrong, space travel, wormhole technologies, and a huge Commonwealth of systems fully colonized.Add characters of all stripes from reporters to police to politicians to terrorists to technologists, throw them into a slowly boiling cauldron of scientific intrigue with a few Dyson spheres locking away an alien species, leave evento deal with the political consequences back home You know, like the detail that someone who could lock away an alien species is already super powerful, or the question as to why the species was locked away, to begin with Good stuff all around.So why do I have a bit of an issue with this Well, for the same reason I think it should be put on a higher rung than most SF It s super ambitious, leading in and through whole lives as if we were reading a classic novel on the level of Les Miserables, giving us a very clear picture of the future worlds that are very much like our own except for a few heaping handfuls of world changing techs We have social commentary that would be welcome in any shorter soft SF, mysteries that would be fine in any techno thriller, big scoops for the expose crowd, and decades of spy intrigue WITH the big alien threat Any piece of this would be great, or even two Or even three I need to face it I find some parts slightly boring and others fantastic I find myself dreading another novel long subject I d rather skip in favor of the other stories I loveThis is sometimes a problem with super long novels My attention wants to wander if it s not super fantastic And then I keep wondering if this might have been better served with a HUGE edit Or cut them up into a lot of side novels My appetite had been whetted with the big story I just wanted to stick with the big story And yet, most of the threads DID tie back in, eventually It just took a novel s length of time for each to get there.I AM very impressed with the whole book, and evenso that Hamilton keeps pulling off these HUGE works, but I m worried that I m bouncing off of them.Even so, I ve made a commitment to continue with Judas Unchained and I ve been accepted for a Netgalley ARC for Salvation, so maybe I ll just grit my teeth and enjoy what I do enjoy in them There s plenty to point at. What a mediocre attempt I somehow managed to slog through all 989 pages of this, and it never completely lost its narrative thread, in spite of an astonishing redundancy in unnecessary description It is also significantly hampered by a lack of imagination my suspension of disbelief cannot withstand the idea of the year 2380 basically looking just like the year 2010, only with extra planets, and a small handful of cool new tech By the end of this tome, Hamilton has almost managed to put together enough plot elements to sucker you into picking up the equally hefty second volume Except I can already tell it s not worth it So what if the alien Starflyer really exists I have better things to do than wade through 300pages of irrelevant description that does nothing to move the plot forward, does nothing to shape or contextualize any characters, and does nothing to enhance the reader s experience It has moments of clarity, and moments of being a good story, but not enough to justify the page count. The Year IsThe Intersolar Commonwealth, A Sphere Of Stars Some Four Hundred Light Years In Diameter, Contains 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 This is up there with the best of the best for sci fi space opera extravaganzas It s got world building par excellance, brilliant projections of technology, and a great cast of characters Set in 2380, Hamilton poses for us a Commonwealth of hundreds of planets colonized by different styles of humanity, made possible by wormhole technology Immortalizing rejuvenation, artificial intelligence, and computer storage of human memories are standard fare woven into the saga in fresh ways The few aliens encountered so far appear benign but mystifying For example, the Silfen are friendly but boring to most humans in their simple hunter gatherer lifestyle and hippie like mystical outlook But suddenly a dorky astronomer s discovery of the disappearance of two stars 100 light years away raises the spectre of incredibly advanced aliens in the galaxy who can put up a spherical barrier around a whole solar system Does the event imply a civilization wanting to protect itself from other dangerous aliens, or does it instead reflect a fencing in of a dangerous species by apowerful but beneficient alien race Hamilton orchestrates an array of stories that evolve in parallel before eventually linking up with each other That takes some patience, and trust, from the reader Fortunately, there are four colorful characters to bring life to the advancing threads of the epic Nigel Sheldon, inventor of the wormhole, gets tapped to adapt the technology to propel an interstellar ship, using clues from a starship left behind with a space station by an elusive alien race, the Starflyers, apparently motivated to help and study other species Wilson Kime, an early astronaut on his fourth rejuvenation, is engaged to manage the massive development project and captain the expedition to the cloaked star systems Ozzie Isaac, the super wealthy, pragmatic partner for Nigel s science, makes a personal quest to draw out the Silfen on anything useful they may know about the star cloaking event and ends up on an epic journey on foot with a boy that mysteriously takes him to unknown worlds and survival challenge without the benefit of technology Finally, we have the brilliant Commonwealth crime fighter Paula Myo, who for over a century has been obsessively pursuing the leader of a seeming cult dedicated to countering the evil and hidden designs of the Starflyer species Her investigations of their terrorist activities eventually aligns with the narratives of the other characters when the group, the Guardians of Selfhood, make a well orchestrated assault on the nearly complete starship and base.The expedition gets underway and some exiting discoveries are made about the alien threat to humans and other sentients of the galaxy, as masterfully revealed in the thrilling orchestrations of the diverse plot elements Hamilton deserves kudos for a side story from the mind a really alien alien, MorningLightMountain, and its successful directing of evolution of its sessile, hive mind species with dumb motile elements into a one super organism The author terrified me with the fate of captured humans from the expedition and the amplification of the alien s powers with the technology secrets it extracts The idea that humans and all other species are a threat and must be eliminated fulfills well the paranoia that lurks at the back of our minds when we try to imagine the wonders of learning we are not alone in the universe This book was fabulous entertainment for me, reviving the same pleasures that led me to hard science fiction in my youth and satisfied in recent years by the likes of Alastair Reynolds, Iaian Banks, and Vernor Vinge Before you consider taking on this epic, you should be aware that is not the beginning of a series of relatively independent stories but rather a 2,000 page plus novel that is split into two I am not sure when I will pursue the second half sitting heavy on my shelf, Judas Unchained That is because I got the gist of its events from a recent sequel set several hundred years later, A Night Without Stars, which I found to provide a wonderful and thrilling closure Sincere thanks to Apatt for recommending this book Very different from other works of this author I read awhile back, The Night s Dawn Trilogy and The Nano Flower. 3.5 stars, rounding upQuick pros complex story, huge cast of characters, and it was cool to see how people crossed paths I love that it s very, very hard SF With huge stakes It s easier to spew about the cons than pros with this one, honestly I just really enjoyed the story and the worldbuilding and really need to know how it ends Quick cons Um The sexism Yeah Paula is the only main female character who doesn t get a sex kitten moment Probably because she s written as a man And just wow Hamilton s portrayal of women constantly using sex to manipulate men was gross And if they re not having sex and in a position of power, they re a ballcrusher I don t want to dig into this further there s a lot Good god, harems The only other con is the sheer length Hamilton describes a lot of stuff planetary geography, city layouts, every single thinv a character does, etc in excruciating detail when it s really not necessary I likebalance between description and actually moving the story along at less than a ponderous pace.I want to finish the story, so I ll be checking out Judas Unchained soon Hopefully Hamilton ditches the harems and sex nymphets and angry men calling their wives whores I can take the verbosity but the perpetuated sexist slant Not so much. 5 Super big starsA new favorite read of mine This massive tome has everything that a sci fi lover would ever wantReview to comeWhat a total wasteI never came back and wrote a review for this book which is now among my very favorite novels This is probably the longest novel that I have ever read, but I never felt it Hamilton creates a massive cast, places them in an epic adventure, and has it cover vast distances of space This is truly space opera at its finest.I wish that I had taken the time to write a real review on this book as it deserves massive praise I can only say that this is one of my favorite science fiction novels of all time Fans of the genre should not miss out on this epic ride It is not a hard science novel and really would appeal to a vast crowd There is a great mystery and adventure in this space opera..A MUST READ