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If at First . . . (Short Story)

3.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  942 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Peter F. Hamilton has proven himself a modern master of epic space opera, carrying the tradition of far-future empire building begun by Heinlein and Asimov into the new millennium. But Hamilton is also a master of the short story, and when he tackles one of science fiction’s most enduring themes—time travel—the result is as provocative as it is entertaining. It starts in 2 ...more
Kindle Edition, 32 pages
Published (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,770)
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Oct 02, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
A time-travel short story with a jab at the end. I've never read anything by this author, but the story-telling was solid and characters were believable.
Apr 13, 2014 Scott rated it liked it
Hamilton does a fine job here of balancing the detective procedural with that of a futurist time travel tale, and while I have not yet read his Mandel series (Mindstar Rising etc.), I have read Great North Road, and this has the feel of that sub-genre of Sf. David Lanson is chief detective of the Richmond Metropolitan Police Department when he gets involved in a peculiar case involving Toby Jenson, who is being held for the break- in of media /computer mogul Marcus Orthew's research center, "Ort ...more
Mar 24, 2016 Claudia rated it really liked it
Looks like Mr. Hamilton is as good in writing short stories as he is in creating epic space operas.

This particular one is a detective / time travel mix story.
Detective Lanson takes in custody a stalker of one of the most riches men in universe. But when the stalker' story begins to unfold, he finds himself on his side and starts to investigate the so-called victim. What he discovers will change his life forever...

Oct 02, 2014 Olethros rated it liked it
-Aunque actual en estilos, aires de otras épocas.-

Género. Relato.

Lo que nos cuenta. David Lanson es un detective de la policía metropolitana al que se le asigna el caso de Toby Jenson, sorprendido sin autorización dentro de unas instalaciones de la empresa Orthanics, líder industrial, comercial y tecnológico del sector informático y todo gracias a su fundador y alma mater, Marcus Orthew. Durante el interrogatorio de Lanson, los policías descubren que ambos hombres se conocen desde la niñez y que
First - this is primarily a marketing device for one of Hamilton's other books, Mindstar Rising, an excerpt from which constitutes about 2/3 of the book.

If at First
Gene Wolfe introduces one of his stories (in The Best of Gene Wolfe) by suggesting that aspiring authors rewrite it in their own words. I haven't read the The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction that this Hamilton story is drawn from, but I hope that rewriting stories by SF masters is its theme. The story is decent, but it is very rem
Cathy (cathepsut)
“Peter F. Hamilton has proven himself a modern master of epic space opera, carrying the tradition of far-future empire building begun by Heinlein and Asimov into the new millennium. But Hamilton is also a master of the short story, and when he tackles one of science fiction's most enduring themes--time travel--the result is as provocative as it is entertaining.”

I started off the new year with a short story, so my book challenge page doesn't look so empty. Alternate realities are always fun, but
Oct 06, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it
A Crime Story with a Twist

When tech genius Marcus Orthew’s Richmond research center is broken into by longtime stalker Toby Jensen, the case lands on the desk of Metropolitan Police Chief Detective David Lanson. Long since disillusioned by his job – which seems to be little more than filling out paperwork and verifying insurance claims – the Jensen case promises to be a career-changer. Literally.

In the interrogation room, Jensen makes some rather outlandish claims. Chief among them: that his bo
A Reader's Heaven
Short stories are interesting creatures - they can be either spot on or a long way off the mark. Strangely, this one was neither.

It starts with Detective David Lanson investigating a break-in at the home of tech-guru Marcus Orthew. The bring in the suspect who admits the crime, claiming he was looking for a time machine. Slowly but surely, the detective believes the story and is accidentally sent back in time...where the story really finishes nicely.

The problem for me, and why I didn't rate it h
Jun 18, 2014 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-i-read
Maybe I should take a break from reading short stories cause as of late all the ones I read make me frustrated because they aren't longer. But maybe that's the gimmick. I read an interesting short story and it makes me wanna go on to read more by said author and the same has happened with If At First by Peter F. Hamilton.

This story is told from the POV of David Lanson, a Detective who for all tense and purposes seems to be going through the motions, unfulfilled with his current situation when he
Sep 18, 2011 Elva rated it really liked it
This is really good story with wry twists.

David Lanson is an experienced detective with good instincts. When he and his team arrest Toby Jenson...well they think he's a nut job. But Lanson knows when someone is lying. And Jenson isn't - despite the wild story.

This is a very cool story full of irony and **** SPOILER BELOW ****

time travel.
JoAnn Jordan
Jun 25, 2011 JoAnn Jordan rated it liked it
This short story is interesting, but not very well developed. Perhaps the author should have taken the story further.

I liked what there was, but did not think it at all complete. If you like short stories maybe you would find it interesting.
Beverly Warembourg
Jun 29, 2011 Beverly Warembourg rated it liked it
WAY TOO SHORT!!!!!! Granted it's a short story, but it was only 24% of the whole book, the other 76% was the beginning of one of his other stories. Definitely could have been longer, but it was still good. Just glad it was free.
Dayle Lynne
"If at First . . . " only takes up about 25% of the free download. The other 75% is an excerpt from an unrelated novel (which I did not read because if I liked it then I'd have to buy the full book and I still have trouble spending $10 on a book without pages).

I love time travel stories when they're done well (and they can so easily be awful), and I did really enjoy this one.

My biggest issue with the story was the lack of proper editing. It seemed like the writer had no concept of how to use com
Rita Monticelli
Scroll down for the English version.

Una chicca

Va detto che si tratta di un raccontino davvero piccolo. L’intero ebook nasce come strumento promozionale e il racconto ne occupa solo un terzo. L’avevo scaricato quando era gratuito. Trovo che farlo pagare, nonostante il valore dell’autore, non sia onesto. Eppure in questo momento è a pagamento, cosa che mi lascia perplessa.
A parte ciò, ci troviamo di fronte a un raccontino davvero geniale sulla possibilità di conoscere il futuro e su come questo po
Mar 26, 2014 Trevor rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this. Even if I'm only writing this review to show up a friend-that I will Write one when I want(I capitalized that because she's been having troubles with that very word). It's depressing, but funny, in the way its depressing. I liked the quirks he threw in there....... thinking back It kinda tells the reader to be prepared. Even if it is to jump into a wormhole-ish entity.
Apr 03, 2012 Corey rated it really liked it
A refreshing take on the time travel story. The only reason this story did not get five stars from me is because it just wasn't long enough!

The main character (and narrator) of this short story is David Lanson, who is an officer with the Metropolitan Police department of the city of Richmond. He and his team of detectives are called in to investigate a breakin at one of the worlds largest computer companies. The perpetrator of the breakin tells David and crew a very fanciful tale; the head of t
Mar 24, 2014 Dan rated it it was amazing
I just love the short story format for some authors. It lets a guy like Peter F. Hamilton do some things that they really can't do in a novel format.

This one has a great "hook" to bring the reader into things quickly. It is a very short little read and is quite well done.
Aug 06, 2015 Linda rated it it was ok
I'm a fan of Hamilton's books but this short story didn't do it for me. It was an interesting idea and fleshed out into a novel I bet it would be great, but the short story was too rushed to really connect with me.
Feb 02, 2016 Nandan rated it it was ok
Interesting concept of sending back information through time machine to your past, instead of whole body - and parallel universe - but not very well developed.
Jun 26, 2014 Miguel rated it liked it
Los viajes temporales y las paradojas que plantean son uno de los temas más recurrentes de la ciencia ficción y la forma en que plantea los mismos es quizás lo mas interesante de este relato. Un relato bien construido, con ciertos toques de humor y sobretodo con un final inesperado...
Nick James
Jul 16, 2015 Nick James rated it liked it
I really liked the story, I just wish the ending wasn't so abrupt, adding an 3 to 10 pages to make it better would have been worth it.
Dec 29, 2014 Gane rated it it was ok
While the short story was very good I didn't give it 3 stars because I didn't like that about 70% of the file was an ad for another book.
Thomas Texier
Aug 18, 2015 Thomas Texier rated it it was amazing
Way to short, I definitely want more!
Jon Boese
Jan 27, 2016 Jon Boese rated it it was ok
Not the authors finest hour. For that check out his Void Trilogy.
Feb 01, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it
Short but fun. Made me wish for a full length sequel.
Sep 01, 2012 Alex rated it really liked it
A very nice short story from one of my favourite authors. Set in the present it starts with a police investigation of an assumed psychopath. During the questioning the accused states that his target was building a time machine with which he'll send his knowledge back in time to when he was younger. Giving the detective some bread crumbs, he follows up the investigation and realises that the accused might be onto something.

Very nice plot and greatly executed. An extremely satisfying read.
May 01, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
An interesting take on time travel. I personally enjoyed how the traveller was able to accomplish what he did. The writing style seemed as short and clipped as the story itself. I very much would like to know more about the characters, and the predicament the main character finds himself in at the end. 4 stars with understanding of not including the disclaimer that this story is dwarfed by the first two chapters of another novel Del Rey is trying to promote.
Oct 23, 2011 Brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think they should tell it as it is. This was just a lead for his other story. They worst part was that I wanted to stop reading after the 2nd page. But I started to read a few of the reviews and decided to read the whole story. I can not say that I ever got into the story. The story telling is vague, choppy, and I felt it was done during a high school creative writting class. Mr. Hamilton thanks for wasting my time.
Feb 26, 2014 Ron rated it it was ok
Cute, but forgettable.
Dec 14, 2011 Eric rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, 2011, short-story
Is it a "short story"? I guess. It's closer to an outline of what could have been a longer story. There's no great revelations here, nothing particularly interesting. I can tell that Hamilton has some skill as a reader, and this will probably serve to make me read some of his other stuff. In the end, "If at First..." just feels like promo material put out to bring interest to newer books.
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Peter F. Hamilton is a British science fiction author. He is best known for writing space opera. As of the publication of his tenth novel in 2004, his works had sold over two million copies worldwide, making him Britain's biggest-selling science fiction author.
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