Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The best science fiction author you probably aren't reading

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton"]The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton[/caption]On the plane coming home from Denver this weekend, I polished off The Evolutionary Void
by Peter F. Hamilton. It's the third and final (duh) story in the The Void Trilogy... and now I have to wait for new stuff. Dammit.

Peter is, by far, my favorite science fiction author. He weaves intricate plots and complex narratives to not just world-build, but to universe build. His books are long. He isn't big on exposition. And you need a fair understanding of real science and physics to get a full appreciation of his inferred science and physics.

And that's why I think I enjoy his work so. You have to think about it. Sure, it's science fiction, and you might consider scifi writing throw-away fiction. I get that. And I won't try and convince you otherwise. But the many works of Peter F. Hamilton are anything but throw-away for me. They delve deeply into what it means to be human. They explore connectivity and personal networks in expansive ways I can only hope we one day achieve. He takes on religion and "spirituality" without wavering one bit, weaving together the promise of both along with origin stories that are all-too believable. Much of his work causes me to go "Oh yeah, now I see the sort of events that could lead to some strange beliefs in a few thousand years..."

Murder. Mystery. Intrigue. Action. Love. Romance. It's all in there. In a science fiction novel. Yeah.

These are the type of stories where the word epic just isn't big enough to describe. These are stories that aren't for everyone. Heck, they probably aren't for most people, because many of the fiction book-readers I've met prefer fluff over substance. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And not that I don't occasionally enjoy the hell out of that type of story.

This ain't it. But if you think you'd like to try something a bit more challenging than the norm, I highly endorse PFH's work. All of his series can and do stand on their own, so you can start at the first book of any trilogy. Forget the idea of "linear" storytelling. This is much more fun!


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  2. I, too, am a PFH fan. Haven't read the Void series yet... think I'll give it a shot after reading this post.

    You might try Alistair Reynolds, too - his stories aren't as strong as Hamilton's - not consistently, at least - but his universes and the concepts which frame them are just as robust, though quite a bit more gothic.

  3. Thanks for the suggestion, Edward. I'll load up on Mr. Reynolds work!

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