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The Reality Dysfunction (Night's Dawn, #1)
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The Reality Dysfunction (Night's Dawn #1)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  17,438 ratings  ·  588 reviews
In AD 2600 the human race is finally beginning to realize its full potential. Hundreds of colonized planets scattered across the galaxy host a multitude of prosperous and wildly diverse cultures. Genetic engineering has pushed evolution far beyond nature's boundaries, defeating disease and producing extraordinary spaceborn creatures. Huge fleets of sentient trader starship ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 1223 pages
Published March 1997 by Pan Books (first published January 26th 1996)
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William Most of Hamilton's super-long books (broken into pieces for sale) start slowly with the introduction of many characters and sub-plots, whom you cannot…moreMost of Hamilton's super-long books (broken into pieces for sale) start slowly with the introduction of many characters and sub-plots, whom you cannot related to each other until sometimes near the end of the books.

When I first read Pandora's Star, I almost gave up, but it turns out superbly well by the end of the 2nd book (Judas Unchained), and many of the main characters appear again in his The Void trilogy.

... in my rarely humble opinion ... this book is only 2/3 as good as those, and you can often skim some of the excessive scenes and descriptions.(less)
William No. Some technical elements are the same, but this one is very long-winded. I VERY highly recommend "A Second Chance at Eden" which is set in the…moreNo. Some technical elements are the same, but this one is very long-winded. I VERY highly recommend "A Second Chance at Eden" which is set in the Night's Dawn universe, earlier on. Superb.(less)
Old Man's War by John ScalziStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinPandora's Star by Peter F. HamiltonOn Basilisk Station by David WeberRevelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Excellent Space Opera
11th out of 291 books — 1,726 voters
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank Herbert1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
153rd out of 4,960 books — 17,187 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
A bit of investment required to finish this. The Reality Dysfunction is a monster of a book, boasting more than 1200 pages. It is also a somewhat distressing read. By the time the book hits one third there has been a multitude of uneasy things for the reader to digest. Rape; exploitation; satanic rituals; torture; murder and mutilation (where, in some cases, the victims are children); genocide; injuries inflicted to protagonists that will make the squeamish light-headed; demonic possession… to n ...more
Jan 17, 2011 Kane rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of New Space Opera

When I went through law school and then bar school I was forced to eject many vital tidbits of information that were taking up valuable space in my brain: my address, my year of birth, etc. I have no idea how Peter F. Hamilton holds all of this massive universe, its technology and characters in one noggin. He clearly does not remember his wife's birthday or his underwear size. We all have to make sacrifices.

The Reality Dysfunction is fun. Lots of fun. I flew through this book and forgav
Wow, what to say about this book. It is NOT EASY READING, that's for sure. The first 1/4 almost is like running through a valley of quicksand, but I swear the momentum is worth it. I felt my interest waning sometimes because it is SO DENSE, but then, rather than stopping, I'd skim a bit forward over all the meticulous details of the worlds etc and get back on track with some of the characters. This book requires stamina but if you're into sci-fi is worth the effort. All the thought and imaginati ...more
"TL,DR. There are very few SF stories that justify more than 120,000 words."
- Jo Walton's blog on Hugo Nominees: 1998
Jo Walton is the best sf books reviewer extant (IMO), as an author she is no slouch either. Unfortunately for her The Reality Dysfunction is the exception that proves the rule, this is one of the "very few SF stories" that she is talking about. Certainly a book this magnitude, clocking on at over 1,200 pages, is dissuasive for many people. If you are interested in reading this
Ah, the Night’s Dawn Trilogy. One of the most amazing, wild space opera’s ever written. In the UK it is 3 massive books, while here in the US they nickel-and-dimed us by splitting them up into 6. It doesn’t really matter though, because it is not so much a trilogy as it is one gigantic continuous story, regardless of where they are split. One book ends at whatever chapter, and the following book simply begins at the next.

Peter Hamilton is probably my favorite SF writer when it comes to world bu
Nov 08, 2009 Emily rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
It took a hell of a long time, but I've made it through The Reality Dysfunction, the first volume in a trilogy recommended to me by Ennis. It's a "space opera" about a futuristic society plagued by an evil force that "sequestrates," or maybe just possesses, people.

The story takes place in the Confederation in the 2600s. The set-up is quite detailed and interesting. One group, the Adamists, lives on a failing planet Earth and various other planets. The Adamists are mostly like the people of today
The word "epic" was created for books like this. Clocking in at 1100 pages, this is only part 1 of a trilogy that consists of two more similarly sized volumes. I thought at first that the author might just need a really good editor, especially since the first half dozen chapters kept introducing entirely new settings and characters. It was difficult to get into because it didn't seem to focus on any one plot and it was hard to remember who was who. However, all the different threads slowly began ...more
Ben Seymour
Thanks to Graham loaning me a copy, I learned that many of the books I had previously enjoyed, we actually quite weak and 2 dimensional by comparison.

A much longer book than I would normally read (especially considering the whole trilogy is around 4500 pages) but I would would been happy if it had continued to be twice the length.

Character development is great, and a good background is even given to people whose play only a small role in the plot. The technology is interesting and creative, but
Epoch of Entropy
If you trying to decipher a bunch of techno-babble, without any initial explanation, that may or may not get clarified chapters into the book... This book may be for you.

This is what grandparents must feel like when hearing a casual discussion about how VOIP TCP/IP packets are prioritized with next generation networks using IPv6, and the potential social ramifications of packet filtering from ISPs who are owned by content providers.

I would like to add that the story does seem interesting, b
mark monday
I like trash and Hamilton writes the best trash. so elaborate. the dead are coming back to possess the living except it's all science fictional! great world-building. I love world-building when the world being built gets destroyed. in this book, that's a bunch of worlds. plus some cool but corny but still cool sex scenes. Hamilton sure likes his sex scenes. I guess we have that in common.
I really wanted to like this novel a lot. I wanted to get invested from the sheer length of the novel and come out the other side, saying, "Wow, that was fantastic." Just because I'm not doesn't mean that the novel wasn't worthwhile, it just means that the negative qualities of it managed to outweigh what was good.

Let's face it. A novel that is almost 1500 pages is either full of characters, full of story, or full of meandering and inconsequential shit that didn't really serve the final solid ta
Fred Hughes
Peter F Hamilton paints vivid images with his stories. The characters are engaging, imaginative, and relatable. His worlds are logical (Spock would expect no less) and other worldly. The situations that the main characters find them selves in, and his story arcs are believable and entertaining. All his books are massive in concept and page count with this story coming in at 1200+ pages.

But reading his books are a pure escape and time just flies. Hamilton also combines science fiction with fantas
This is the worst-written book I've ever read twice. Hamilton is not just a bad writer but a bad writer in a hurry--superabundantly verbose, careless about style and tone, overdescriptive, flaccidly repetitive, malapropistic when he isn't spouting tired old cliches. He's a lousy scene-painter, too, careless about details and how they fit together and given to commencing every descriptive paragraph with the physical dimensions of whatever is being described--twenty kilometers long and weighing ni ...more
I had never read anything by Peter Hamilton, and I actually picked this up because I liked the cover art on the third book in the trilogy. I had glanced at the back cover and it sounded good. I was blown away. Hamilton clearly knows his science and writes with an integrity to the future he's imagined. He pulls off a fantastically-advanced future without making our technology invincible; his aliens are infinitely more robust than simple biped mirrors of some aspect of humanity (for all that I DO ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Hugo rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
Unfortunately The Night's Dawn trilogy is a huge, festering shamble where a few nuggets of interesting story is drowned in a horribly over-long stream of irrelevant and meandering side- and subplots. It starts off ok, focusing on just one plotline, which leads up to a rather nice "?" moment, but then it seems like Hamilton lost all his marbles because the story loses all focus and coherence, and the only thing that kept me painfully reading the last 4000 pages was to find out how in the world he ...more
Megan Baxter

I wanted to like this. I did. And I liked parts of it a lot, many of the ideas were fascinating, several of the characters I really dug. But there were other issues that hampered my overall enjoyment, and they can't be ignored.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Nathan Hurst
This is the first book I read by Peter F Hamilton and it got me hooked. It's not the best book in the series, I think the Neutronium Alchemist gets that vote, but this book certainly lays down the foundation for an exciting, detailed and complex universe for the reader. I was totally enthralled.

I really enjoy books that draw you in and create such a picture of in depth detail that you really feel as if you could be there. The Reality Dysfunction is one of those books. It conveys the scope of th
Gav Thorpe

I found it hard to rate this book but opted for four stars on the grounds that despite some issues I did enjoy the read. When it was good the story flowed, the characters were interesting and the setting was impressive. These factors outweighed the problems I had with the writing style and approach in places.

A lot of what I didn't like I have set aside as simply things I would write differently. There are two things that I would still highlight though. Firstly, this story is really slow in plac
I had mixed feeling about this book. Most of my feelings are positive, but a few are negative. First, the negative.

Sexual politics

At some point early on an Edenist character references the liberation of women that occurred at some point in the past. Apparently, many of the Adamists didn’t get that memo. (The two big factions of humans are the Edenists, who are telepathic and use a lot of biotechnology, and the Adamists, who generally refuse these things for religious reasons.)

I’m completely fine
A portmanteau of space opera and gothic horror involving the adventures of dashing pilot Joshua Calvert and his redoubtable craft Lady Macbeth, who (with a cast of thousands) get embroiled in a galactic farrago in which a kink in space-time on the remote planet Lalonde allows dead souls to emerge into reality, whereupon they prey on the living. Overstuffed with characters (the ghost of Al Capone? I mean, really), subplots, asides, exotic aliens and interplanetary locations, it is very easy to lo ...more
The trilogy itself consists of:

* The Reality Dysfunction
* The Neutronium Alchemist
* The Naked God

There are also two ancillary volumes:

* A Second Chance at Eden – short story collection
* The Confederation Handbook – reference volume

In the USA, each volume of the trilogy was published in two parts, as evidenced by the thumbnails.

The Night’s Dawn trilogy is a huge story spanning over 4000 pages, in truth one massive multi-volume novel. It tells of a great evil that befalls the otherwise mostly
Bruno Manning
I stumbled across this book when I, aged 29, asked my 17 year old cousin to recommend some really "bad" sci-fi. (I was looking to return to my acne-riddled teenage years.) I specifically asked that whatever book he chose be chock-a-block full of sex and violence. Without hesitating he handed me this, enormous comic book. Over a thousand pages. Swollen members at every turn. Distasteful, thinly disguised rape fantasies relayed in striking detail. G-r-a-p-h-i-c violence. Garbled religio ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
After the initial shock with the hundreds of consensual sex and rape scenes and with the absurdity of an empty universe where the sinners' souls go, it was a very enjoyable read. I've read it immediately after A Dance With Dragons so the comparison was inevitable. There are so many common things between Night's Dawn series and A Song of Ice and Fire series, beginning with the main plot and ending with the number of pages. ASOFAI has much more interesting and lively characters but (and I never th ...more
I loved this.

I think the only problem was that there were so many story lines that I occasionally lost track of who was who and who was doing what where. It took a long time to get into the action, too, though I think in retrospect I appreciate the buildup and the mystery, wondering what was going on. I will admit to having to reference a Wikipedia page when I set the book down for a day or two to remember exactly what had happened and where I was in the book.

On that note, WOW, is Hamilton good
Fantastic book! This book stats out pretty hum drum, and with a number of seemingly throwaway characters that make it a little slow going at first. Keep going, cause things will get a little creepy and then really crazy. You can read the books synopsis for a description of it. What I can say is this: Its unlike anything else I've ever read. Highly intelligent sci-fi, with excellent plot and a vivid setting, that also has a satanic cult, possession, horror like violence, sexy sex, beauty, smuggli ...more
This doesn't read so much as a novel as a story. What I mean is that it reads as someone talking about a life not a novel with a beginning middle and end. The book is epic, really very long. It also reads not so much as a space opera as it claims to be. It ends up being about zombies and satanism and seems like it could have been written with boats instead of spaceships if the author had felt inclined. I think this book is fantastic, but on the off chance that you read it I will keep the review ...more
If you could only bring with one series to a lonely island, then Night`s dawn is that series. What a marvel of a series. It is categorized as soap opera... but is so much more than that. The sheer size of the series could scare some away. For me it was the totally opposite. I wanted more more and a then some more….
Steve Rippington
A true space opera. At over a thousand pages for just the first part of the story, the Nights Dawn Trilogy is hefty to say the least. Peter F. Hamilton weaves a complex thread of narratives, introducing more characters than you can possibly hope to keep up with, but all the time you'll find yourself turning the page and reading on. The Reality Dysfunction spends 500 plus pages setting the scene for what ends up being a very thought provoking, gruesome and interesting story about human colonisati ...more
The one word review of The Reality Dysfunction would be: ambitious. This work falls in the neighborhood of fantasy authors like R. Jordan and G. Martin with the sheer population of characters involved. The question is: Does it make the book a chore? I would say for the most part not but the vastness of the world involved did hurt the story’s momentum. Or I should say stories’ momentum because there were several stories going on within the book but if you found one of them compelling you might ha ...more
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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.
More about Peter F. Hamilton...

Other Books in the Series

Night's Dawn (3 books)
  • The Neutronium Alchemist (Night's Dawn, #2)
  • The Naked God (Night's Dawn, #3)
Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga, #1) Judas Unchained (Commonwealth Saga, #2) The Dreaming Void (Void, #1) The Evolutionary Void (Void, #3) The Temporal Void (Void, #2)

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“You convinced yourselves we're just a bunch of regular lads who got a bad break in life. Anything else would have cracked your dream open and made you face reality. Illusion is easy. Illusion is the loser's way out. Your way. ” 25 likes
“The balance is the penalty of being human: the danger of allowing yourself to feel. For this we walk a narrow path high above rocky ground. On one side we have the descent into animalism, on the other a godhead delusion. Both pulling at us, both tempting. But without these forces tugging at your psyche, stirring it into conflict, you can never love. They awaken us, you see, these warring sides, they arouse our passion.” 2 likes
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