Sunday, November 04, 2007

The dreaming void

Last week I finished reading a new novel (of the pulp sci-fi space opera kind) called The Dreaming Void by Peter F Hamilton. The book is set in the same universe as Hamilton's last two books that formed the Commonwealth Saga and is the start of a new trilogy. To start with if you are going to read this book then you pretty much need to have read the Commonwealth Saga books beforehand. There are several of the same characters involved (despite being set 1500 years later) and many events that are referred to, so I think you'd be quite confused if you didn't have the background from the previous books. Like Hamilton's other major sagas the story has many threads that are jumped between at quite a pace, which takes a bit of getting used to as you try to absorb all the characters and events. There are a couple of threads which seem to flow better and held my focus far more than other areas, but none of it is high literature. The reason I enjoy reading Hamilton's stuff as that it's generally pure pulp fun. There's enough action and high-technology stuff going on to keep you going through the less absorbing parts of the story. One thing that does start to grate, as in previous books, is Hamilton's sex scenes. He does like his sex scenes and almost all the people in his books are outrageously attractive and randy, but largely they'll just make you cringe. It's not that I'm prudish about literary sex, it's just that he can't write it without it coming across a bit pubescent-teenage-boy-style. There's one particular scene that almost made me stop reading the book completely! If I disregard certain scenes though I did enjoy the book. It's not as good as parts of the Nights Dawn trilogy, which provided some great moments of pure space opera fun, but it seems on a level with the Commonwealth Saga. I'll keep on with it as it has left me wanting to know what happens next.