Saturday, December 17, 2005

Science Fiction Book Review: The Reality Dysfunction (Part 2)

The Reality Dysfunction Part 2: Expansion
In his first book, The Reality Dysfunction Part 1: Emergence, Peter F. Hamilton unleashed something huge, and in Part 2: Expansion, which I am reviewing today, carried his creation even further.

The scope of this work is kinda hard to explain. It’s on an equal footing with Dune or Foundation when it comes to fully realized universe. We get some very interesting projections of the future in fully changed, and barely human, combat mercenaries. Living ships and habitats and an ancient civilization, which was wiped out centuries ago (mysteriously but has a bearing on the now), are only the splendid backdrop for the unfolding drama.

And what an epic drama so far. It could be labeled a vast space opera, but I will stick with epic drama.

In this, the second of six books (in the US and Canada - but only 3 huge books in the UK), what hit the fan at the end of part one is now causing widespread mayhem throughout the known universe. Despite Lalonde’s best militia efforts to stem the tide, they are hopelessly overrun by the menace we see forming in book 1.

So, mercenaries are sent for to come and get the situation under control. Yah, right. You can tell without me even saying where that is heading - straight to hell. The menace is not to be trifled with and you will find out in this book exactly what it is - but I’m not saying. All I will tell is the conflict is strange, but engrossing and lots of firepower is exchanged on both sides. Epic battles and epic heros. It doesn’t get much better than this.

There are many colorful characters in this episode, and some shocking and larger-than-life sacrifices and not one explosive climax at the end - but four!

This book has it all if you like huge (I know find another word, but this one fits so well) sweeping science fiction epics. Recommended for sure and I will definitely read the next, and the next and the next and the conclusion. Peter Hamilton has sucked me into his universe and it’s a place I’m more than happy to visit on occasion.

It does clock in at almost 600 pages, so it’s not a one day read (unless you are one of those freaks that can read 600 pages in a day - Oye!) But I don’t think this is a kind of book you want to just burn through anyhow. There is so much going on, it should be savored.

But you may get totally sucked in and burn through it as fast as you can - that’s okay and after this there are still another couple thousand pages left in the story. I didn’t even mention the various alien races, what the "real" menace is or what their capabilities are. I try, during my reviews, not to give much of the plot away because, for me at least, it’s the getting there and the details and discoveries which make the journey fun.

And if nothing else, this is an entertaining tale spun well.

So, go out and find your copy of all six books (in the US and Canada) or all three books (in the UK) and get set for a grand science fiction adventure. I don’t know how this ride ends, but the journey so far has been great.

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