June 8th, 2011


Book Review: Pandora's Star, by Peter F. Hamilton

A big epic space opera with galaxy-threatening aliens. I almost gave a shit.

Pandora's Star

Tor, 2005, 1152 pages

In AD 2329, humanity has colonised over four hundred planets, all of them interlinked by wormholes. With Earth at its centre, the Intersolar Commonwealth now occupies a sphere of space approximately four hundred light years across.

When an astronomer on the outermost world of Gralmond, observes a star 2000 light years distant - and then a neighbouring one - vanish, it is time for the Commonwealth to discover what happened to them. For what if their disappearance indicates some kind of galactic conflict? Since a conventional wormhole cannot be used to reach these vanished stars, for the first time humans need to build a faster-than-light star ship, the Second Chance. But it arrives to find each 'vanished' star encased in a giant force field -- and within one of them resides a massive alien civilisation.

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Verdict: This is science fiction for science fiction fans (especially of the pale male persuasion). It's got all your essential sci-fi ingredients: interstellar civilizations, advanced technology, nasty aliens, hot chicks, space battles, a complicated plot, and a universe that is still unthreateningly like ours. Like a tasty burger and fries, you'll enjoy it but ten years later you aren't going to think, "Yes, that burger and fries was really remarkable." Read it if space opera is your thing. If not, there are space epics that are just as good and half the length.