Blog Archives

#CBR4 Maneuver #43 – The Evolutionary Void

Target: Peter F. Hamilton’s The Evolutionary Void

Profile: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Science Fantasy

Summary: Taken from the back cover, “Exposed as the Second Dreamer, Araminta has become the target of a galaxywide search by others equally determined to prevent – or facilitate – the pilgrimage into the Void.  An indestructible microuniverse, the Void may contain paradise, but it is also a deadly threat.  For the reality that exists inside its boundaries demands energy drawn from planets, stars, galaxies – from everything that lives.

Meanwhile, the story of Edeard, the Waterwalker, continues to unfold.  With time running out, Inigo, the first Dreamer, must decide whether to release Edeard’s dangerous final dream.  And Araminta must choose whether to run from her responsibilities or face them down, with no guarantee of success or survival.  But all these choices may be for naught if the leader of a rival faction enters the Void.  For it is not paradise she seeks there, but domination. ”

After Action Report:

Okay, I’m not sure if I wasn’t paying attention to book two, but The Evolutionary Void definitely jumped the tracks a bit and careened off into the nebulous science fantasy genre.  Not that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with science fantasy, but the effect is sort of like going to a Star Trek convention, passing out on the last day and waking up to the cosplay contest of an anime con.  Not unpleasant per se, but definitely disconcerting.

Where book two, The Temporal Void, was mostly about the events within the Void, and by extension Edeard’s story, book three takes us back outside to resolve the ongoing problem of the Living Dream pilgrimage.  The majority of the narrative is spent picking up plot threads from the first book that were left withering to make room for the copious number of dream chapters in book two.  I should note that I started Evolutionary Void almost two full years after reading the first two books, and spent a substantial amount of time trying to remember who the hell everyone was with mixed success.  Most of the protagonist groups have finally aligned against the forces of the Living Dream or the Accelerator Faction, but haven’t necessarily teamed up.  All that aligning means less in the way of Ludlum-esque chases and more pseudo-scientific technobabble along with a fair portion of posthumanist philosophy.

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#CBR4 Maneuver #19 – Mindstar Rising

Target: Peter F. Hamilton’s Mindstar Rising (The Mandel Files #1)

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Mystery

Summary: From Goodreads.com, “Greg Mandel, late of the Mindstar Battalion, has been many things in his life. Commando. Freedom fighter. Assassin. Now he’s a freelance operative with a very special edge: telepathy.

In the high-tech, hard-edged world of computer crime, zero-gravity smuggling, and artificial intelligence, Greg Mandel is the man to call when things get rough. But when an elusive saboteur plagues a powerful organization known as Event Horizon, Mandel must cut his way through a maze of corporate intrigue and startling new scientific discoveries.

And nothing less than the future is at stake.”

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A few thoughts on Mass Effect and Space Operas

First, read this.  Or skim it.  Or take in the title.  Whatever.

http://www.popbioethics.com/2012/02/why-mass-effect-is-the-most-important-science-fiction-universe-of-our-generation/

I caught wind of this via io9.com (here).

Now, I’ll start out by saying that, yes, for all the reasons above and a few more, Mass Effect is a compelling and fascinating piece of sci-fi literature.  At its core, it is the natural progression, and the shiniest of the new-series space operas.

However, (and here comes the kicker) anyone who is foolish enough to hail Mass Effect as the most important SF Setting of our generation hasn’t been getting out enough.  Mass Effect is fundamentally built upon the foundations laid by the current generation of Space Opera writers.  Authors like Iain M. Banks, Alistair Reynolds, and to lesser extents, Peter F. Hamilton and Ken MacLeod have been toying with the ideas present in Mass Effect for more than two decades.  But if Mass Effect was simply reaching great heights by standing on the shoulders of giants, I wouldn’t have a problem.  The flaw of any media is that in order for it to be successful, it must appeal to its audience.  Mass Effect has had to dull the edges of its social commentary, its science, it’s very philosophical message in order to be a marketable version of its predecessors.  It may hold up to the even more popularized television and film worlds, but to hold it up as superior, simply because it is closer to the goal than its ugly cousins is an affront to the literature and to our intelligence. Read the rest of this entry

CBRIII Maneuver #20 – The Temporal Void

Target: Peter F. Hamilton’s The Temporal Void

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Sci-Fi, Space Opera

Summary: From the back of the book, “Long ago, the astrophysicist Inigo began dreaming scenes from the life of the remarkable Edeard, who lived within the Void, a self-contained microuniverse at the heart of the galaxy.  Inigo’s inspirational dreams, shared by hundreds of millions throughout the galaxy gave, birth to a religion: Living Dream.  But when the appearance of a Second Dreamer seems to trigger the expansion of the Void – which is devouring everything it its path – the Intersolar Commonwealth is thrown into turmoil.

With time running out, the fate of humanity hinges on a handful of people: Araminta, now awakening to the unwelcome fact that she is the mysterious Second Dreamer; Inigo, whose private dreams hint at a darker truth; and Justine, whose desperate gamble places her within the Void, where the godlike Skylords hold the power to save the universe… or destroy it.” Read the rest of this entry

CBRIII Maneuver #16 – The Dreaming Void

Target: Peter F. Hamilton’s The Dreaming Void

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Sci-Fi, Space Opera

Summary: From the back of the book, “The year is 3589.  At the very heart of the galaxy is the Void, a self-contained microuniverse that cannot be stopped as it expands in all directions, consuming everything in its path.  Even the oldest and most technologically advanced of the galaxy’s sentient races, the Raiel, do not know its origin or its purpose.  Then Inigo, an astrophysicist, begins having vivid dreams.  Inside the Void, Inigo sees paradise.  Thanks to the gaiafield, a neural entanglement wired into most humans, those dreams are shared by hundreds of millions – and a religion, the Living Dream, is born, with Inigo as its prophet.  But then he vanishes.  A new wave of dreams broadcast by an unknown Second Dreamer serves as the impetus for a massive Pilgrimage into the void which could trigger an accelerated devourment phase that will swallow up thousands of worlds.  Thus begins a desperate race to find Inigo and avert catastrophe.”

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