Kane's Reviews > The Reality Dysfunction

The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F. Hamilton
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's review
Dec 28, 2010

really liked it
Recommended for: fans of New Space Opera
Read in July, 2010


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 forgave its flaws (there are some useless digressions but heck, I even enjoyed those). The action is incredible, the ideas are grand and the universe is relatively plausible. Hamilton's prose is not necessarily eloquent and sharp, but it is good. The story just powers through that.

I'll address most people's two biggest critiques of Reality Dysfunction. First, yes it's long. The edition sold in Canada is over 1200 pages. Second, some people are disappointed with what the spooky threat ends up being (hereinafter: the "Spolier Bit"). With respect to the length, I'm no editor, but I'm sure this could have been clipped a bit with only a positive result. However, a good story is a good story. I'm over that. With respect to the Spoiler Bit, it's a matter of personal choice. Some like it, some don’t. I know those two comments are not entirely helpful, but my point is that they should not detract from what is a kickass book.

In a nutshell, this is the first book in a huge space opera trilogy. It qualifies as "New Space Opera" with all the verisimilitude in the science that goes along with that relatively new term. The novel is set in the 26th and 27th centuries with much of the story happening in 2610 and 2611 within a group named the Confederation. A handy timeline at the start of the book is not only useful to following during your reading but gives you some background when you start. Humans have split into two groups: Edenists embrace the introduction of biotechnology into the human genome and all the wacky consequences and Adamists stick to mechanical and cybernetic technology. Adamists are less well off to Edenists, a group with is comparable to Iain M. Banks' Culture on some levels. There is a whole chunk of religious, political and technological interest in the book, but the real story comes in the form of an unknown invader that is threatening first a planet in the Confederation and then perhaps even beyond.

I'm very excited to continue onto the next volume, The Neutronium Alchemist.
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01/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Kane So far the Neutronium Alchemist has the same feel, and I'm enjoying it.

message 2: by TK421 (new)

TK421 Starting to read this one now. I agree with you, as you've read in my reviews, a good story can mask whatever flaws a book may have. I'll let you know what I think of this when I finish.

Cathy (cathepsut) I have to confess I enjoeyed this a lot, but gave up a few hundred pages into the next book. My brain was starting to explode...

Kane Yeah, every time a new character is introed I groan a bit but I'm hanging in there and still liking it!

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