The Reality Dysfunction Part 1: Emergence Mass Market Paperback – Jul 1 1997
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
I will not outline what this series is about - many other reviewers have done that more adroitly than I could possibly manage, but the journeys of Captain Joshua Calvert, intertwined with the people that he meets along the way, as well as the struggles of people such as Ione & Louise are incredibly detailed and offer you a realistic view of how the universe may unfold in 5-600 years time.
This, combined with Hamiltons insightful (& sometimes downright violent) views of human nature leave you wanting more.
You come out the other end of this series with a different perspective on "life, the universe & everything" to borrow a well known phrase.
Buy, Read & Enjoy. Just be prepared for many sleepless nights!
Most recent customer reviews
Impossible to read only one of this series - you must read all 6 books and you will be hooked after this first one. Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2008 by Susan W
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 morePublished on June 26 2004
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
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 morePublished on March 13 2004 by luc warm
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 morePublished on Jan. 15 2004 by A. Marrero
In a future where humans are successfully colonizing the galaxy, something terrible begins to stir on the otherwise insignificant jungle planet Lalonde. Read morePublished on Dec 28 2003 by David Bonesteel
"....the first part of a two-volume book that is itself the first book of a series." Amazon.com review. Read morePublished on Dec 27 2003 by Lucius
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 morePublished on Sept. 2 2003 by Blues Fan
The bookseller who handles the rather extensive science-fiction section at my local independent bookseller absolutely gushed over this series. Read morePublished on July 15 2003