Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Reality Dysfunction (Night's Dawn, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Reality Dysfunction (Night's Dawn, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Reality Dysfunction

(Night's Dawn #1)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  33,428 ratings  ·  1,176 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Reality Dysfunction, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Nik Nikolai For Reality Dysfunction? Around page 400. The other books are on rapid fire after that. (And don't take William's advice, a lot of the little details …moreFor Reality Dysfunction? Around page 400. The other books are on rapid fire after that. (And don't take William's advice, a lot of the little details in RD come back in NA and NG.)(less)
Adam Lawrence I’d say probably not less than 18 on the basis that many of the events and occurrences come densely loaded with scientific terminology and statistical…moreI’d say probably not less than 18 on the basis that many of the events and occurrences come densely loaded with scientific terminology and statistical information. It required some patience but, once I got used to it, I found this added an interesting layer of realism to Hamilton’s universe and I eventually came to appreciate the physical scale of his space-world, which wouldn’t have been possible without all those measurements, weights, speeds, etc.

Should even younger readers wish to tackle this behemoth of a book, they’ll be pleased to know that there are loads of sex scenes. So there’s some motivation!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,428 ratings  ·  1,176 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Reality Dysfunction (Night's Dawn, #1)
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hamilton-peter-f
This is one of the best Sci-Fi series ever written, comparable with the old classics and The Expanse, Reynolds, Banks, Scalzi, Stephenson, Simmons,… and I can´t say how much I love this novel. I was still really young when I read it the first time and Hamilton was the one who opened my mind for the immense possibilities of Sci-Fi. And the endless love story began,... I should consider rereading all he wrote again.

He is the Stephen King of Sci-Fi, other genre authors might write less stereotypic
Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
Mix space battles, zombies, interplanetary smugglers, space pirates, living spaceships, mysterious highly advanced alien race vanished without a trace for no apparent reason, a very lucky guy with a dream, struggling colonists on a newly discovered planet, devil worshiper cults, sentient planets, mercenaries with some serious high-tech body modifications that would make any cyborg in science fiction die of envy, and a lost doomsday device. Basically anything you can think of probably with except ...more
Sep 09, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dirk Grobbelaar
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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
Megan Baxter
Feb 19, 2013 rated it liked it

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
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
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
"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
mark monday
Oct 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi-modern
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. ...more
Part of my 2020 Social Distancing Read-a-thon

Well, that was a lot of reading for very little joy. This is the second book by this author that I've read and both of them in my opinion were way too long and had rather ridiculous plot elements. This novel had so many characters to keep track of and so many intertwining plot lines that I couldn't set the book down for very long or I would lose the thread.

It's too bad because I thought there were tons of good ideas in the course of things. For exampl
Oct 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was ok
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
Twerking To Beethoven
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-time-favs
Re-read because I own the two following installments in the series, but couldn't remember much about "The Reality Dysfunction" (apart from the fact that I enjoyed it heaps) as I read it back in 2000...maybe 2001.

What we've got here is super-advanced technology featuring sentient starships able to give birth to other starships. The commanders of said starships grow inside/with them, and are sort of telepathically connected with them, and treat them like brothers, parents and, in general, family..
Nov 02, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
4 Stars

Reality Dysfunction by Peter Hamilton stole me from reality for quite some time. Coming in at over 1200 pages in length, this book is a massive endeavor. Fortunately for me Peter Hamilton writes hard science fiction and he specializes in his world building and imagination. Reality Dysfunction excels at both of these things. The best thing about this book was the world that he built within. The story and the characters are almost irrelevant and forgettable compared to the universe within.
Mar 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
Warning: this is NOT science fiction, it's Christian fantasy disguised as Radical Hard SF. It starts out as a fairly ripping space opera with some clever worldbuilding, but then somewhere around page 700, a Satanic ritual conjures forth the souls of the deceased from the Afterlife into our universe. YES I'M SERIOUS! One of the few books I've ever literally thrown across the room in disgust. I sold the book back to the used bookstore from whence I bought it, but in retrospect, I deeply regret not ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great world building, action packed, stunning concepts and the most beautiful creature-ships ever imagined: the Voidhawks
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction, 2011
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
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
What an marathon this book was for me, it took me almost 40 days to finish this book. The Reality Dysfunction is not for a weak hearted, it is 1223 pages long and whooping 41 hours in audio.

Hamilton goes to super detail describing anything in this book be it a species a planet or a star ship. And many times due to this attention to detail I lost regarding where we are as regards to story.

Also as I mostly hear audio to and fro from work, I used to doze off and had to start entire chapter again.
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up to 4 becuase I love space opera more than I should. This isn't as good as Judas Unchained but probably better than the Void trilogy. Since I read those first, it didn't feel as fresh or unique and since this was a very early novel in Hamilton's career, the writing wasn't as good. The dizzying caste of characters was too dizzying and I lost insight/connections to several of them. The bad guys are a bit hand wavey, their skills and motivations seem to change depending on the situati ...more
Ben Seymour
Feb 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
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
May 19, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Adults Only, with caution
I love everything that Peter has written, except this old series from 1996.

WARNING: includes very graphically described torture and rape and mutilation (sometimes of teens and children!)

Overall this was a very good book, but only half the fun and quality Commonwealth series books. Lots of characters, great sci-fi imagery and technology, and some truly magical and wonderful scenes of human-to-organic-spaceship bonding and platonic love, especially in the first chapter. Glorious.

However, very sadl
Fred Hughes
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Peter Hamilton built a really interesting space opera universe in The Reality Dysfunction with a lot of potential. He then ruined it with a rambling, juvenile, magical-spiritualistic plot that feels very out of place in said universe.

Did I mention rambling? I think the first plot point of significance is somewhere around page 400 or so. I didn't feel like there was significant plot movement until well over halfway through. I'll admit, if you overlook the absurd premise, the story telling gets i
Paul Sandu
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of SF movies but haven't really read many SF novels. Actually this might be the first big book I ever read in this genre. So having nothing better to do after purchasing my first ever e-book reader I decided to start this book at the advice of a piano player who looks like a weight lifting professional athlete (what??).

I am... so glad I mustered the patience to keep reading this book. Actually I felt that the writer is going somewhere big. How big? I don't know. Mystery of life and u
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Revelation Space (Revelation Space, #1)
  • The Algebraist
  • Consider Phlebas (Culture, #1)
  • Redemption Ark (Revelation Space, #2)
  • A Fire Upon the Deep (Zones of Thought, #1)
  • Pushing Ice
  • The Conduit (Gryphon, #1)
  • Against a Dark Background
  • House of Suns
  • Chasm City
  • The Prefect (Prefect Dreyfus Emergency, #1)
  • The Boat Builder's Bed (Wicked in Wellington, #1)
  • Absolution Gap (Revelation Space, #3)
  • Blyss (The Blyss Trilogy, #1)
  • Serendipity (Inevitable, #1)
  • Accidental Leigh (Literal Leigh Romance Diaries, #1)
  • Amaury's Hellion (Scanguards Vampires, #2)
  • Ilium (Ilium, #1)
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Night's Dawn (3 books)
  • The Neutronium Alchemist (Night's Dawn, #2)
  • The Naked God (Night's Dawn, #3)

News & Interviews

Looking for some out-of-this-world reading this summer? Then we suggest taking a peek at these highly anticipated young adult books, all...
50 likes · 7 comments
“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. ” 33 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.” 5 likes
More quotes…