Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Peter F. Hamilton”

Fofo’s #CBR4 Reivew #43: The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton

Target: Peter F. Hamilton’s The Evolutionary Void

Profile: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Science Fantasy

Okay, I’m not sure if I wasn’t paying attention to book two, but The Evolutionary Voiddefinitely jumped the tracks a bit and careened off into the nebulous science fantasy genre.  Not that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with science fantasy, but the effect is sort of like going to a Star Trek convention, passing out on the last day and waking up to the cosplay contest of an anime con.  Not unpleasant per se, but definitely disconcerting.

Where book two, The Temporal Void, was mostly about the events within the Void, and by extension Edeard’s story, book three takes us back outside to resolve the ongoing problem of the Living Dream pilgrimage.  The majority of the narrative is spent picking up plot threads from the first book that were left withering to make room for the copious number of dream chapters in book two.  I should note that I started Evolutionary Void almost two full years after reading the first two books, and spent a substantial amount of time trying to remember who the hell everyone was with mixed success.  Most of the protagonist groups have finally aligned against the forces of the Living Dream or the Accelerator Faction, but haven’t necessarily teamed up.  All that aligning means less in the way of Ludlum-esque chases and more pseudo-scientific technobabble along with a fair portion of posthumanist philosophy.

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Read Fofo’s reviews of the Void Trilogy

Fofo’s #CBR4 Review #19: Mindstar Rising by Peter F. Hamilton

Target: Peter F. Hamilton’s Mindstar Rising(The Mandel Files #1)

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Mystery

I haven’t read a lot of Peter F. Hamilton’s work.  He’s generally considered to be one of the better New Space Opera writers out of the U.K.  I enjoyed his Void trilogy when I read them in Cannonball 3, but they didn’t really inspire me to pick up the rest of his cannon.  Rather, it was my commentary on Space Operas itself that spurred me to check out both Hamilton and his contemporary, Ken MacLeod, in a little more depth; particularly their early novels, which I knew almost nothing about.

It is somewhat interesting that we segment out science fiction from regular fiction, when there is really no such thing as a ‘science fiction novel.’  More accurately, science fiction isn’t a real genre, just a setting in which other stories are told.  Mindstar Rising is very much a detective/mystery novel that utilizes a semi-apocalyptic future earth to create unique conflicts.  In the wake of global warming induced ecological collapse and multiple wars, the communist leadership of England is forced from power and the monarchy reinstated.  The country is in shambles and its revitalization lies almost entirely in the hands of the megacorporation Event Horizon and its ailing chairman, Philip Evans.  The company was one of the critical factors in the downfall of the communist regime, and has taken it upon itself to rebuild Great Britain’s failing infrastructure.

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[NOT A REVIEW] Fofo’s thoughts on Mass Effect and Space Operas

I wouldn’t normally indulge in posting a non-review here, but this turned out really well and I’d love some feedback from a community with a broader perspective than my own.

First, read this.  Or skim it.  Or take in the title.  Whatever.

I caught wind of this via (here).

Now, I’ll start out by saying that, yes, for all the reasons above and a few more, Mass Effect is a compelling and fascinating piece of sci-fi literature.  At its core, it is the natural progression, and the shiniest of the new-series space operas.

However, (and here comes the kicker) anyone who is foolish enough to hail Mass Effect as the most important SF Setting of our generation hasn’t been getting out enough.  Mass Effect is fundamentally built upon the foundations laid by the current generation of Space Opera writers.  Authors like Iain M. Banks, Alistair Reynolds, and to lesser extents, Peter F. Hamilton and Ken MacLeod have been toying with the ideas present in Mass Effect for more than two decades.  But if Mass Effect was simply reaching great heights by standing on the shoulders of giants, I wouldn’t have a problem.  The flaw of any media is that in order for it to be successful, it must appeal to its audience.  Mass Effect has had to dull the edges of its social commentary, its science, it’s very philosophical message in order to be a marketable version of its predecessors.  It may hold up to the even more popularized television and film worlds, but to hold it up as superior, simply because it is closer to the goal than its ugly cousins is an affront to the literature and to our intelligence.

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