The Temporal Void Mass Market Paperback – Mar 23 2010
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“A gripping story, with the fates of two universes at stake.”—SF Site
“Fusing elements of hard SF with adventure fantasy tropes, Hamilton has singlehandedly raised the bar for grand-scale speculative storytelling.”—Publishers Weekly
“A great, sprawling, ripping yarn reminiscent of Golden Age Science Fiction.”—SF Crowsnest
About the Author
Peter F. Hamilton is the author of numerous novels, including The Dreaming Void, Judas Unchained, Pandora’s Star, Fallen Dragon, and the acclaimed epic Night’s Dawn trilogy (The Reality Dysfunction, The Neutronium Alchemist, and The Naked God). He lives with his family in England.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Here's how I imagine his concept meeting with his editor at Del Rey going before writing the Void trilogy:
Hamilton: I want to try writing a fantasy novel.
Editor: <long pause> Ah, Peter, you're a great sci-fi novelist, and people love your work. Why not stick to what you know?
Hamilton: But, I just finished reading Harry Potter, and....
Editor: Why not write a sequel to the Commonwealth Saga! Judas Unchained ' now that was great stuff.
Undeterred and unwilling to give up his dream of writing fantasy, the cunning Hamilton devises the Void trilogy, and what we are left with is a series of books that alternative every chapter between fantasy and sci-fi. Now, the sci-fi portions of the trilogy are well conceived and would be up to Hamilton's usual standard if he took the time to flush them out ' love it or hate it, Hamilton's style is such that he requires many words to develop his stories. However, the fantasy portion of this series is predictable and misfires badly.
First, the fantasy storyline lacks Hamilton's characteristic originality. It takes the form of a coming-of-age-story where a super-powerful apprentice loses everything and travels to the capital of his world where, through his aforementioned powers and incorruptible character, he changes society. Sound familiar?Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I do not like fantasy, however I did enjoyed the parts of the book that play inside the Void more. The reader knows that ultimately there will be an explanation for the way time and space behave inside the Void, and the fast paced story and well developed characters make it a joy to suspend disbelieve - for another 700 pages.
I wanted so much to give this 5 stars, in the end I rated it a 4 since the Commonwealth parts are well written and exciting, but it's barely a 4 and if I weren't such a fan of Hamilton's myriad of Commonwealth characters I'd have given it a 3.
My main issue is that the Void dreams of Edeards adventures are just far too long, as I recall at least two of them are about a hundred pages. I found myself reading the first dozen pages of each dream and counting the pages to the end of the chapter, seriously considering skipping them, I had to force myself the read these, a tragedy for a Hamilton fan. The dreams seem pedestrian compared to events outside the void, and are very slow at building the Waterwalker character in a rather predictable coming of age type of way.
Several things could have been incorporated in to the Commonwealth arcs of the story but seem to have been sacrificed for the dream arc to make this book about the same size as Dreaming Void. For example the greater population of the Commonwealth seem to be strangely unconcerned about an impending alien invasion to stop the Pilgrimage, and I would loved to have read more about how the Commonwealth has evolved since the Prime war.
I really like Hamilton's work, and hope Evolutionary Void is more satisfying then this. Of course, I'll still buy the book whatever.
If you're a science fiction fan, do not be bigoted against fantasy. If you're a fantasy fan, do not be bigoted against science fiction. You don't have to be a country bumpkin to appreciate fantasy, and you don't have to be a physics major to appreciate science fiction.
If you follow the exploits of Thor, Superman, Captain America, Batman, et al, you should be pleased that THE TEMPORAL VOID has a superhero. He goes by the name "Waterwalker." Though he may not be as powerful as the water walker that Christians allegedly believe in, he can be mighty impressive. I don't want to spoil things by revealing exactly what those powers are and when and how they appear, but rest assured, the powers are there.
If you like other books from Mr. Hamilton then you will love this book. The grand scope of most of his books is continued. The Waterwalker story is by far the most interesting part for me.
The book jacket describes the Void as an idyllic paradise, but it's not even close. If it were, the premise of the book would work beautifully. Everyone would want to go there to escape the pressure of the modern world. But as Hamilton paints it, it's a world that has ancient technology, where petty thugs rule, and violence and social inequality are the norm. It's feudal. Why would anyone want that life you ask? Beats me. I was willing to go with it in the first book. In fact, since the dream sequences were so short, I just started skimming them in a few minutes, reading the first page and the last few pages and eventually not even reading them at all. You know what? The book really moved after that! Because the world outside the world was so fascinating, I was willing to accept the absurd premise that a whole faction of humans wanted to move to the Void, which would trigger a war with a powerful alien race and the Void's expansion, which would slowly ear the galaxy.
Unfortunately, the second book is full of dream sequences that eat up half of the book. Guess what? The suck even worse, but now they're longer and skipping them meant I skipped half the book. I also started to notice something about half way through: I was no longer willing to suspend my disbelief that anyone would want to go to that backwards world and it started to ruin everything. I kept hoping this paradise would show itself, that the Void world would transform from a world of petty rivalries and thugs to something wonderful. It never did. Because I could no longer suspend my disbelief, I started reading it with a much more critical eye and its flaws became more and more apparent. Two problems become immensely clear when you start looking closely.
The first is that there is really not a single new character in the book, if you read the far superior Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained, you know most of them. Since I loved those books, I automagically transferred my love of those characters to the new books, but as this second book started to fall apart for me, I realized that the new books really don't really add anything to those characters, or at least not much to them. So basically they are just comfortable and familiar, but they bring nothing new to the table. The second dreamer character and her boyfriend are fascinating, but they're not on stage enough and eventually she jettisons her boyfriend to run from living dream and with that, jettisons most of what made her interesting, which is her near conversion to Multiplism, a surgery that makes a single personality into a group of people. What a fascinating concept! But sadly, it is abandoned in this book and she never makes the conversion to join her multiple boyfriend.
The second problem is that nothing happens in this book. The plot doesn't move forward much. The Living dream movement hunts the second dreamer and the aliens "prepare" to attack for hundreds of pages. Oh and the surprise allies of the hostile aliens are obvious from the jump, so there is no mystery or surprise when they are revealed. Nobody really attacks, which makes me wonder why I shouldn't have just skipped this book and gotten to the action in last one, which will hopefully move the plot along. Oh yeah and Paula "discovers" that the Cat is loose again. So what? We already knew that, since Hamilton shows us a scene with the Cat in the last book. That means Paula spends about 100 pages uncovering a "mystery" that we already know the answer to. Horrible.
At his best Hamilton is a fantastic world builder. He gives us fascinating concepts and big galaxy spanning space opera. Unfortunately, at his worst, his plots just don't work. The Night's Dawn trilogy almost ruined Hamilton for me. It started off fantastic and then the horrible plot of the dead coming back to life comes out. I threw it down in disgust. Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained redeemed him for me. Those books, while slow at times, made me keep coming back and finished with a satisfying crescendo. The Void trilogy, so far, is somewhere in the middle. The first books was great, if you skip the stupid dream sequences, the second one is middling at best, but you'll probably finish it anyway, like I did. Hopefully the last one lifts it back up where it belongs. And here's hoping they just obliterate the stupid Void and all of it's petty little inhabitants with some super secret galaxy buster bomb! Go Raiel! Stop that lame Void! While they're at it they can throw Jar Jar Binks in there first and then blow it all up, single handedly wiping out two series killing abominations in one foul swoop. A man can dream can't he?!? :)