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The Reality Dysfunction Part 1: Emergence [Mass Market Paperback]

Peter F. Hamilton
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1 1997 Reality Dysfunction (Book 1)
In the far future, humanity has divided into two diametrically opposed groups. The Edenists are genetically engineered space-dwellers with telepathic affinity for their biotechnological homes and ships. The Adamists, effectively the Luddites of the future, are willing to pioneer new worlds, much as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. The two groups, peopled by fascinating characters, clash on a primitive world called Lalonde, setting in motion a tale of adventure unparalleled in this universe.

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From Amazon

This is space opera on an epic scale, with dozens of characters, hundreds of planets, universe-spanning plots, and settings that range from wooden huts and muddy villages to sentient starships and newborn suns. It's also the first part of a two-volume book that is itself the first book of a series. There's no question that there's a lot going on here (too much to even begin to detail the plot), but Hamilton handles it all with an ease reminiscent of E. E. "Doc" Smith. The best way to describe it: it's big, it's good, and luckily there's plenty more on the way.

About the Author

Peter F. Hamilton was born in Rutland in 1960, and still lives near Rutland Water with his wife and daughter. He began writing in 1987, and sold his first short story to Fear magazine in 1988. He has also been published in Interzone and the In Dreams and New Worlds anthologies, and several small-press publications. His previous novels include the Greg Mandel series: Mindstar Rising, A Quantum Murder and The Nano Flower and the 'Night's Dawn' trilogy: The Reality Dysfunction, The Neutronium Alchemist and The Naked God, which established him as Britain's bestselling writer of science fiction and a major name in global science fiction writing. His ten novels and one handbook (a vital guide to the 'Night's Dawn' trilogy) have sold almost two million copies worldwide.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All Start and No Finish Oct. 20 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I waited until I had read all six vols. of this marathon. Thus what I'm going to say relates to the entire series, not just this first part. As to the first part, it will suck you in with the hope that all of the following five long, long, long episodes are as good; they are not. Nothing about the final books is as good as the first, or even the second.
Marion Zimmer Bradley says (Why Stories Get Rejected) that one of the fatal errors of science fiction is resorting to some outside power to resolve the story rather than having the main character(s) do it on their own. This series has outside forces to spare. One is introduced in the first installment, but seems to be put in hibernation. But in each subsequent book more and more unexplainable outside forces, omipotent, all-intelligent, supra-normal, beings or forces come on the scene. And the end. . .well, let's just say the main characters DO NOT resolve the issues by themselves.
Another thing about this series that got my goat was the disappearance of primary characters at the drop of a word processor. The first two books and the middle two books (The Neutronium Alchemist) introduce a plot and characters that simply disappear on a single page toward the end of the fourth installment (oh, one of them comes back as a crew-member, but of no signifigance). This disregard for plot line and point-of-view really drove me crazy. I kept expecting them to come back right up to the end. For example, the main character has a brother suddenly show up and present a nice plot twist. Is the twist resolved? No, the brother just disappears into the background (as another crew member).
I realize that long, long, long series are all the rage in SF these days, but the last couple of books in this series don't make any sense.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great idea.. disappointing execution July 29 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first part of a 6 book (3 2-part books) series spanning over 3500 pages. It is not actually 6 books or even 3, but one incredibly long novel. The breaks at the end of each book are strictly for purposes of publishing and binding, and have little or nothing to do with natural break points in the story. None of the books stands on its own, so don't even think about starting this one unless you intend to read all 3500+ pages.
I cannot fathom why the book is so long. I seems to me that it could have been shortened by at least 50% with absolutely no loss of content or style. But this is consistent with what appears to be an overall complete lack of editorial input throughout all the volumes. There are tons of grammatical errors and typos that could have been fixed by a decent editor but weren't. But these aside Hamilton is still only a mediocre writer who lacks the ability possessed in spades by colleagues like Bear, Brin and Benford.
The main plot idea is great - souls of dead people returning from the "beyond" to "possess" living humans. The universe that Hamilton constructs, with nanobiotech playing a central role is also fascinating.
However, although sounding like a hard sf novel, there is actually very little in the way of mechanistic explanations for any of the really cool stuff like "affinity bonding", a form of telepathy, or the "neural nanonic" implants that lots of folks have. Instead we are supposed to basically take all these things and more on faith.
The last 100 pages of the last book wrap things up in a nice neat little package, but in a way that is ultimately not very satisfying.
All in all, a valiant effort but one that the author couldn't quite pull off.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written but obscenely long May 17 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've read all four books released to date (two Dysfunctions and two Alchemists) and I hope the next two are the end. I hate the bloatedness that has crept into science fiction. Who needs 3600 pages to tell the story of "Intergalactic Night of the Living Dead?" This is even more annoying because Hamilton is a pretty good writer and he is wasting his time and his words on this decent but extremely thinly plotted epic of space opera. Chtorr, by way of comparison, *needs* thousands of pages, but this silly adventure could have been completed in a single volume. Its punch line is not going to improve with age, nor as a result of this story's incredible bulk. I'd rather be reading more Quantum Murders, thank you very much.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read Jan. 3 2008
By Susan W
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Impossible to read only one of this series - you must read all 6 books and you will be hooked after this first one. Very complicated plot involving a huge range of characters which is a bit confusing at first but gradually all the threads draw together. The hard sci fi is very well done, some of the relationships are not as well done, but it does keep you interested. Other reviews have mentioned the graphic violence, which is at times hard to read, but Hamilton is attempting to get across the true nature of evil and the violence does indeed convey that. And lots of very creative characters such as the xenocs , as well as the sentient habitants and voidhawks. Overall, I think most sci fi fans will enjoy this immensely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Starship Theatre, Pt.III March 23 2004
By GRIZZLY
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For hard core Sci-Fi, the "Night's Dawn" Trilogy has it ALL!!!He-Man heroes, classy heroines, nasty bad guys (not to Even forget THE DEAD RETURNING!!!) New Worlds and Old;Aliens, space battles, suspense, intergalactic conflict and politics; who could ask for MORE? Starships, living space habitats, Biotech, Neurotech, Cyborgs, Genetic Engineering; it's all here; just be prepared to read nothing else for the next couple of MONTHS, 'cause this one is IT!! I originally was hooked into this Epic in the Hardcover Sci-Fi Book Club Edition, buying "The Neutronium Alchemist" first (somehow, I missed "The Reality Disfunction" when first offered; then had to wait another two weeks for that delivery rather than read the story out of sequence. THEN was forced to go through several cowhides, chewing leather and making a complete nuisance of myself until "The Naked God" was finally published and released in Nov. '99. BOTTOM LINE: If you're going to dive into this Epic, Buy the complete Trilogy as a complete set and be prepared to be enthralled by a whole new universe of the caliber of Heinlein, Asimov, or Clarke (and to stay for awhile!!!)
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars promising ideas, too long and little payoff
I liked the first part of this book, and part 2. It's too long, though. I'd say this book could be one third the size and be 10x more enjoyable. Read more
Published on June 26 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars very very surprising !!
This book is the best in SF i have ever read in my life !
It has the most beautiful writing , it is very difficult to read it in english ( when the english is not your first... Read more
Published on June 10 2004 by Shay Weiss
2.0 out of 5 stars Gimme a Break
This series is more horror than science fiction. The basic concept is that the dead are coming back to possess the living. A bit over the top, in my humble opinion. Read more
Published on March 13 2004 by luc warm
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Journey
Having just spent the best part of 6 weeks working my way through 3 volumes & the best part of 4000 pages, I can honestly say I have yet to read anything else like it in the SF... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Wayne Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff
The story develops in a very insteresting universe. It has high quality violence that includes great space battles. The main characters are interesting and likable. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2004 by A. Marrero
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!
In a future where humans are successfully colonizing the galaxy, something terrible begins to stir on the otherwise insignificant jungle planet Lalonde. Read more
Published on Dec 28 2003 by David Bonesteel
5.0 out of 5 stars Part 1 Emergence
"....the first part of a two-volume book that is itself the first book of a series." Amazon.com review. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2003 by Lucius
1.0 out of 5 stars The kind of garbage that gives science fiction a bad name...
This truly is junk. I am always on the lookout for good hard science fiction in the vein of Gregory Benford or Allen Steele, and I hoped I had found something like that when I... Read more
Published on Sept. 2 2003 by Blues Fan
1.0 out of 5 stars The bad beginning of an awful series.
The bookseller who handles the rather extensive science-fiction section at my local independent bookseller absolutely gushed over this series. Read more
Published on July 15 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars First book is slow, but Trilogy is best SF ever!
This is the best SF writing I have ever read. The first half of the first book is the slowest, it just gets you up to speed (600 years in the future), and then it slowballs... Read more
Published on April 25 2003
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