Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Night's Dawn Trilogy

Just finished the Night's Dawn Trilogy by Peter F Hamilton.

At 3000 pages, this monster of an epic stands as one of the longer trilogies I've ever had the chance to read. The Night's Dawn Trilogy consists of The Reality Dysfunction, The Neutronium Alchemist, and The Naked God. All are well over a thousand pages, and all pursue a topic no less than the fate of sentience in the universe.

It has been hailed as British sci-fi's seminal masterwork, the product of genius that puts it on the level of classics such as Clarke's Odyssey series and Herbert's Dune. It is no less than a complex taprestry of action, metaphysics, relationships, politics, economics, and spirituality, all wound together into one massively faceted embodiment of the quintessential masterpiece. It is also one of the few successful cross-genre tomes; its links to horror and military fiction are not to be denied, and this remains as one of the trilogy's strong points.

Hamilton has shown a strong prediliction to extreme graphicity in his novels, and Night's Dawn is no exception. Existing beside his intricate descriptions of a culture in all its minute aspects are depictions of graphic violence, sex, depravity, and cruelty. While it is debatable whether Hamilton seeks to portray a balanced view of human civilization, or whether it is intended to add spice to what is already a gripping story, I must say that this unfortunate aspect of the series is not appreciated by many, including myself.

It is unlikely that a complete copy of the series may be found in the major bookstores. As of last inspection there remains one intact copy, and it is not in prime condition.

Hamilton's Commonwealth saga, his latest offering, has just ended with the release of Judas Unchained in bookstores around the island. Procurement is being considered.

P.S. It seems that Hamilton's saga has inspired, other, lesser, offerings. Elements in Night's Dawn are especially present in Anderson's Saga of Seven Suns, mainly in the form of Edenists, a subbranch of humanity who live in habitats circling gas giants, and who mine essential elements from their skies, enabling ships to use their FTL engines. It is also noted that the Edenists mantain a stranglehold and a virtual monopoly over this fuel; without it interstellar ecnonomies would collapse. The lone Edenist planet is a waterworld.


Mythical said...

More manageable (or at least in shorter doses), is James Alan Garner's 'Expendables' series. Of the same style as the big fat trilogy, but perhaps a little heavier on the hard SF and lighter on the metaphysics, is Alastair Reynolds's stuff. Latest instalment read was 'Absolution Gap'. Peter Hamilton himself is a lot better in short doses. 'Mindstar Rising' for example.

Nova said...

Alastair Reynolds' stuff wasn't bad, though I've yet to try Peter F Hamilton. Colin will hopefully oblige me by lending it to me one day, given that it's not available in full in good condition anywhere and my wallet is empty.

Anderson does appear to have been greatly "inspired" by Hamilton. Edenists sound suspiciously like Roamers.

The Arbiter said...

I've read the Inhibitors series, but its rather too gothic-dystopian, although I quite enjoyed it. Hamilton's futures are a tad more optimistic.