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? Also, I should mention that everyone in the fantasy world has psychic powers; however, this set up doesn't allow for the technological creativity and exploration of ideas Hamilton displays in his sci-fi work. Second, the fantasy storyline is told as a dream experienced through only one character's perspective. The result is that we don't see the blending of story lines and well-developed characters that is Hamilton's trademark. Instead, outside of the main protagonist (who is too squeaky clean to be interesting), the characters are two-dimensional because we never really enter their perspectives. For example, the chief villain is a master of the gangs who operates out of a brothel. Those of you who are familiar with Al Swearengen from Deadwood know how a well-developed character of this type can be the most compelling part of a story. Sadly, we gain no similar insights into Hamilton's villain. These factors combined with stilted dialogue and needlessly meandering narrative makes the fantasy storyline flop.
I am still waiting for the details of the fantasy storyline to become relevant to the sci-fi storyline, beyond the basic revelation that a character from the sci-fi world dreamt the fantasy one, leading to a nonsensical religious movement. Overall, I give the sci-fi portions 4 out of 5. The fantasy portions get 1 out of 5. And because in this book the fantasy portions are longer than the sci-fi ones, the overall work receives 2 out of 5.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com
In this Hamilton epic, the Commonwealth has expanded and evolved, circumnavigating the galaxy, discovering many new sentient species AND a phenomenon referred to as The Void, a micro-universe, protected by an event horizon. One human has managed to pass into The Void and return, setting off a religious awakening called The Living Dream. The adherents of this religion wish to undertake a mass pilgrimage into the Void, potentially setting off a chain of events which could lead to destruction of the known universe. Mayhem predictably ensues as different human and alien factions position themselves in an attempt at self-preservation and in some cases evolution.
In this continuation of the action introduced by The Dreaming Void, the author does a good job of advancing the story through numerous interrelated threads, not the least of which are frequent dream sequences derived from historical events from within the Void. Previous Hamilton works, in my experience, have tended to lose steam and bog down around 2/3 of the way through the story, but this work has maintained my interest level through roughly 1250 pages. Inasmuch as this installment is more heavily weighted toward the dream sequence, which accounts for roughly 40% of the book, and I find that thread to be the least satisfying and actually quite poorly written, I have rated this book slightly below the first.
Before you begin The Temporal Void (TV), I very strongly urge you to read Pandora's Star (PS), Judas Unchained (JU), and DV in that order, because you will be lost in JU if you haven't read PS, lost in DV if you haven't read both PS and JU, and lost in TV if you haven't read PS, JU, and DV; and I doubt not that you will be lost in The Evolutionary Void (EV) if you haven't read all four of the above.
For the most part the story is compelling, albeit it drags occasionally, and some of the `science' seems like an attempt to sound `scientific' by one largely ignorant of science. I would have to classify this as science-fantasy, rather than science-fiction. By comparison, L. E. Modesitt, in his mostly excellent fantasy saga of Recluce*, seems much more conversant with real science! But if you can suspend disbelief, you can enjoy a pretty good tale, with interesting aliens, and two hitherto (as far as I know) unheard-of methods of interstellar travel: Most everyone takes the railroad train thru wormholes, but some walk the Silfen paths (distant cousin, perhaps, of the Egger Route^) between the stars.
Other reviewers have adequately discussed the events of TV, so why repeat here what they wrote, or add spoilers?
Readers would be greatly aided if each book contained a listing of the cast of characters, and a map of the galaxy showing the locations of the action, and local maps of those locations.
* See Magi'i of Cyador (The Saga of Recluce) and 15 sequels.
^ See The Sorceress of Karres