Mjhancock's Reviews > Pandora's Star
Pandora's Star (Commonwealth Saga, #1)
by Peter F. Hamilton
by Peter F. Hamilton
In Hamilton's Pandora Star, the first mission to Mars is derailed in a fairly unique fashion, and an underrated astronomer makes a discovery that leads humankind to find two Dyson's Spheres that have been apparently constructed over night. Both of these events--as well as many others--happen within the first 60 or so pages of this 800+ book. What I mean is that this is a book chock full of big, interesting ideas. Societies based on genetic engineering and caste systems. Genetic treatments that make virtually everyone virtually immortal. Back-up systems that transcribe your memory in case of accidental death. And more, a lot more. This is a big book with a lot to keep straight, and it's entirely to Hamilton's credit that everything unfolds in a way that balances surprises with the information the reader needs to feel like they're following along. The main plot has the Commonwealth ExoProtectorate Council sending a team in to investigate the spheres, with Nigel Sheldon as one of the inventors of wormhole technology and Captain Wilson Kime, former leader of the mission to Mars and current leader of the Second Chance, serving as main POV characters. There's also two major subplots: Paula Myo, superstar detective and her attempts to curtail Bradley Johansson, leader of the Guardians of Selfhood, is trying to sabotage the mission because he believes an alien entity is using it to cripple humanity; and Ozzie Isaac, the other wormhole co-inventor, who spends most of the book trying to find out from the Selfin (elf-like aliens) what they know about the Spheres. And this just a few among many plots and characters; it's a big book. Did I say that already? It takes a lot for the plot to get going, but around when the mission to the Sphere really to starts to come together, you get a sense of the depth and scope behind Hamilton's planning. And he really does an excellent job considering some of the cultural implications behind the sci-fi innovations, whether it's the effect on society when humans become generally immortal, or the mindset of truly alien races. I guess I only have two complaints about the book: first, the pace could probably have been quickened here and there; you really feel the 800 pages at some points. And second,it is absolutely the first book in the series, which means you have to read on if you want any answers. It's not an uncommon investment for a fantasy/sci-fi book, but it does weigh on you a bit. Mostly, though, I'm just wondering how quickly I can put my hands on Book 2.
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