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Pandora's Star

(Commonwealth Saga #1)

by
4.24  ·  Rating details ·  38,459 ratings  ·  1,948 reviews
The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some four hundred light-years in diameter, contains more than six hundred worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over one thousand light-years away, a star... vanishes. It does not go ...more
Hardcover, 768 pages
Published March 2nd 2005 by Del Rey (first published March 2nd 2004)
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Gerard Ditch it immediately! Don't waste another minute on this overblown, badly written nonsense.
My god it was a terribly long march to the end and it just…more
Ditch it immediately! Don't waste another minute on this overblown, badly written nonsense.
My god it was a terribly long march to the end and it just got worse page by page. There were whole plot lines that went nowhere and characters who did nothing and added less.(less)
Amber Dunten Yes, it is an allusion to Pandora's Box. Pandora was given a jar as a gift and told never to open it. Naturally, being a human being, she was curious…moreYes, it is an allusion to Pandora's Box. Pandora was given a jar as a gift and told never to open it. Naturally, being a human being, she was curious and she opened it anyway, and as a result, unleashed evil into the world.

In this story, the metaphorical "box" is a star, and the title of the book is a pretty strong foreshadowing that something bad is going to happen when curious humans explore the star and start messing around with what they find there.(less)

Community Reviews

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4.24  · 
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 ·  38,459 ratings  ·  1,948 reviews


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Ben Babcock
We begin at the beginning, because the beginning is awesome and foreshadows the epic quality of Pandora's Star, as well as the sense of humour, levity, and gravity that Peter F. Hamilton uses to create an incredibly compelling and vast narrative.

Wilson Kime is the pilot of the first manned Mars lander. The mission crew steps onto the surface and raises the United States flag, only to be interrupted by a stranger in a home-made space suit. That suit is attached to a pressure hose providing a brea
...more
Ryan
Apr 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I have very mixed feelings about this book, and of the experience of having read it. As a result, I'm not sure I can say that I truly 'enjoyed' it; it's well-crafted, overall, but at the same time not without its frustrations.

First, the good stuff: there's a hugely epic plot here, ultimately concerned with ensuring the continued survival of the human race; bold, three-dimensional characters who are intriguing, and draw you into their story; plot twists that you truly never see coming, and which
...more
Andy
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
From the other ratings, there are lots of people who like this a lot, so it may be unfair to review this book in comparison with the best "hard science fiction." Thus, this is a warning for the other people who don't know what "space opera" is and are looking for the next Asimov or OS Card. He's not here.

Space opera. According to Wikipedia, "New space opera proponents claim that the genre centers on character development, fine writing, high literary standards, verisimilitude, and a moral explora
...more
Stephen
6.0 stars. This one may make it onto my list of "All Time Favorites" but I am going to wait until I finish Judas Unchained as the two books should really be treated as one VERY LONG novel. This was an amazing read filled with mind blowing ideas and superb (and I really mean superb) world-building. Do not let the length of the book keep you from giving it a try. It is incredibly well-written throughout and I think the length is warranted given how much is going on. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Evgeny
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
Some time in the not far future humanity suddenly decided it is more fun to go to Mars than have endless wars in the Middle East (hard to believe this sudden break of a common sense, is not it?) In any way NASA got enough funding to organize a flight to the Red Planet. After a long flight with a trained crew everything was ready for landing with all the appropriate fanfares and direct video translation to Earth. The moment US flag was about to be proudly planted in Martian soil something very co ...more
Bradley
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 *

In a lot of ways, this ambitious novel, like all of the Peter F. Hamilton novels I can think of, should be put on a higher rung than all the other SF out there. Why? Because it's LONG.

Throw in an enormous cast of characters who won't die because they can be uploaded and put back in new bodies, complete with full rejuvenation treatments that sometimes go wrong, space travel, wormhole technologies, and a huge Commonwealth of systems fully colonized.

Add characters of all stripes: from reporter
...more
Kat Heatherington
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
What a mediocre attempt. I somehow managed to slog through all 989 pages of this, and it never completely lost its narrative thread, in spite of an astonishing redundancy in unnecessary description. It is also significantly hampered by a lack of imagination; my suspension of disbelief cannot withstand the idea of the year 2380 basically looking *just like* the year 2010, only with extra planets, and a small handful of cool new tech. By the end of this tome, Hamilton has *almost* managed to put t ...more
Michael
This is up there with the best of the best for sci-fi space opera extravaganzas. It’s got world-building par excellance, brilliant projections of technology, and a great cast of characters. Set in 2380, Hamilton poses for us a Commonwealth of hundreds of planets colonized by different styles of humanity, made possible by wormhole technology. Immortalizing rejuvenation, artificial intelligence, and computer storage of human memories are standard fare woven into the saga in fresh ways. The few ali ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
3.5 stars, rounding up

Quick pros: complex story, huge cast of characters, and it was cool to see how people crossed paths. I love that it's very, very hard SF. With huge stakes!

It's easier to spew about the cons than pros with this one, honestly. I just really enjoyed the story and the worldbuilding and really need to know how it ends!

Quick cons: Um. The sexism. Yeah. Paula is the only main female character who doesn't get a sex kitten moment. Probably because she's written as a man. And just -
...more
Jason
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2012
5 Super big stars

A new favorite read of mine. This massive tome has everything that a sci-fi lover would ever want...

Review to come


What a total waste...I never came back and wrote a review for this book which is now among my very favorite novels. This is probably the longest novel that I have ever read, but I never felt it. Hamilton creates a massive cast, places them in an epic adventure, and has it cover vast distances of space. This is truly space opera at its finest.

I wish that I had taken t
...more
David Sven
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, favourites
It’s been a while since I’ve read Sci fi this good. I’ve probably been making poor reading choices in this genre for a bit. But finally, I’ve hit pay dirt with an author who has hit the sweet spot with great concepts, epic landscape/world building, excellent plot, AND , very importantly, excellent CHARACTERISATION. The story is set some 300 years in the future where wormhole technology has allowed humanity to spread out to begin colonising other star systems.

This was a big book and a lot denser
...more
Sandi
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, audiobooks, 2011
90% of Pandora's Star irked the crap out of me. First, it just goes on and on and on. It's seems like a bunch of stories pieced together with no real connection. Many of the storylines never even go anywhere. Hamilton does a phenomenal job of over-describing everything. It gets mind-numbing.

Second, the sexism really annoyed the heck out of me. I'm not usually one to scream "sexism", but Hamilton can't resist talking about any female character's looks and about how some male character would like
...more
William
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Superb, Awesome! The first-half of The Commonwealth Saga is 988 pages. The second half "Judas Unchained" is 1,236 pages and completes the "2,200 page single book". Don't be scared off! This is an incredible value!

This is very Good, hard sci-fi, many many characters, so it takes a while to get into the book. When I started the first book, I felt there were far too many, too wordy descriptions of the local scene. Creative often, but perhaps the whole saga could lose 100 pages.

The evolution of the
...more
Apatt
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-top-20, top-20
This book is fat!

That was my first thought upon picking up this book. Still with all the recommendations I have been getting from the good people at Reddit's science fiction books community ("r/Print SF") and other reviews I wanted to give it a go. With a book this long I would end up either rating it one star for wasting so many hours of my time or five stars for entertaining me for those many hours. I think I'll be magnanimous once again and go for the 5 stars option! This is not to say the bo
...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
First of all, let's get all the bad things about this book out of the way. Um... let's see. It's really, really thick. Oh, and it has a cliffhanger ending, because of the sequel. Um... surely there must be something else I can come up with?

Now, the good: and, boy, there is a lot of that. This novel reads like a greatest hits of everything that is cool about science fiction. Yes, it is a massive book, but that's because it's filled with all kinds of goodies. You want it? It's probably here. It a
...more
Michael
Sep 05, 2008 rated it liked it
At the end of the day, I liked Pandora's Star enough to finish it and continue with the second half of the story (Judas Unchained). However, this book took a loooong time to get going, and there were quite a few times when I was about ready to give up on it. There were also so many subplots that didn't seem to start connecting until near the end of the book, and were then finally realized in the sequel. I found it very easy to put down and forget about for a while, but I also found myself still ...more
Radu Stanculescu
Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: SciFi fans
Shelves: sf, space-opera, cluj, 2010
Don't be fooled by the separation of the "Commonwealth Saga" into two books (this one and "Judas Unchained"). It's just a big-big book, so know that if you're starting this one you'll have a total of about 2000 pages to read. :)

More "mature" and with a more refined style than the "Night's Dawn" trilogy, the "Commonwealth Saga" is still a mix of a good number of different story lines that flow towards a (very distant) convergence point. It's got some pretty "alien" aliens, good humour and interes
...more
Kaitlin
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-2016
This book was my first forray into the work of Hamilton, a very well-established Science Fiction writer. Sadly, although I think some of Hamilton's ideas are super interesting and would make for a hugely complex and exciting Universe, these good ideas are so few and far between in amongst the 1,000+ page length that with the time it took to get to the next 'moment' I had already lost my excitement for the last one. I am definitely not afraid of a big book, in fact big books are some of my favour ...more
Terry
Awesome book. This moves to the top of my favorites. I enjoyed all aspects of this book, including the characters, story and technology. I am very much looking forward to starting the second book.

On reread, I agree with my original assessment that this was very good! It presents a fascinating idea of what our future could be if certain breakthroughs in wormhole technology really could be harnessed, and how that would allow human expansion into our galaxy.

I listened to the audiobook version this
...more
Anirudh
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pandora's Star, being my first serious venture into science fiction was a lucky pick and did not disappoint. This is truly an epic space opera having a vast amount of characters, grand design, drama, action and of course science beyond imagination. I do not know if what the author explains is scientifically possible, but it is definitely thoroughly entertaining.

1. Plot Without giving away too many spoilers, the story revolves around man's discovery of worm holes, a method to travel vast distanc
...more
Dara
At 1,144 pages, Pandora's Star by Peter F. Hamilton is not a casual read. Hamilton uses all of those pages to create a rich and detailed future of the human race. Entertaining, frustrating, and exhilarating, Pandora's Star slowly pulls the reader into it's grasp and doesn't let go.

Pandora's Star has a lot of characters and plenty of points-of-view, making it a little daunting at first. That said, Hamilton does a great job of making each character distinct and interesting. Even characters I initi
...more
Megan Baxter
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed Pandora's Star, and the vast universe Peter F. Hamilton creates. Where many science fiction writers take one significant technological advance and write about how their world would change around that, Hamilton has explored numerous game-changing advances all at once, and tried to see what wormhole travel/body rejuvenation/memory download would together do to a rapidly expanding human Commonwealth of planets.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Go
...more
Daniel Roy
May 03, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Being a huge fan of the 'Night's Dawn' trilogy, I was naturally very happy to get my hands on this book. If you liked 'Night's Dawn', there's a chance you will find something to your liking in here - but don't expect anything approaching the quality of 'The Neutronium Alchemist'.

In this series (completed by 'Judas Unchained' next year), Hamilton seems to set out to do something similar to what he did in 'Night's Dawn': present a riveting, complex world and then take a sledgehammer to it. The uni
...more
spikeINflorida
Dec 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Five stars for the perilous wormhole jouneys of Captain Kime and his good ship and crew. And for the Prime aliens and their war mongering leader Morning-LightMountain. THIS is why I read SF. Unfortunately this engrossing part of the story played second fiddle to a whole lotta soapy space opera.
Four stars for Ozzie's dream-like trek across multiple worlds via the Silfen paths, man.
Three stars for ultra-uber Detective Myo and her perpetual investigation of radical kilt-wearin' terrorists and the
...more
Kate
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Without doubt, this has been one of my favourite reading weeks in years. Pandora's Star is the first book by Peter F Hamilton that I have read and I will not rest until I have read every other one of his novels, beginning with the conclusion of this unbelievably rewarding, complex and spellbinding story, Judas Unchained. A massive brick of a book but every page is golden.

Jim
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book is almost 1,000 pages long and is only Part 1 of a 2 part series. If you throw out 2/3 of it, you have one whopping good story.

This is "book bloat" at its worst. There is so much non-essential garbage in this book that I could not wait to finish. It is filled with non-essential details of people you wind up not caring about and who, in effect, are not all that germane to the story or even worth caring about.

A reviewer listed on the cover warns us that we will not be able to put this do
...more
Chris
Well then. I hope that book reviews don't need to be a length that's proportional to the size of the book being reviewed. Actually, I can safely say that this one definitely won't be.

Damn, that was a big tome. And as much as I like John Lee, I need a new reader in my next book. Between this and Revelation Space, I've heard John Lee's voice more this year than any member of my family's voice. My wife does say I can tune her out, and unfortunately I think this happened with Mr. Lee as well for lar
...more
Rob
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: space opera fans
Recommended to Rob by: David Sven
Executive Summary: A really enjoyable hard sci-fi space opera, with only a few minor complaints to prevent it from a 5 star rating.

Audio book: This is the first book I've listened to narrated my Mr. Lee. He does an excellent job. He does a few voices, but I sometimes had a hard time determining who they were at first. It felt like he was using the same voices for multiple characters at time. Overall I was happy with the narration though.

Full Review
Is Epic Sci-Fi a thing? If not it should be. O
...more
Claudia
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The imagination this man has is astounding! The numerous planets, their different environments, the inhabitants, technology, the multi-layer plot - all blend in an amazing universe so well created. Space opera at its highest.
Margret
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
DNF at 30%. Something's just missing here, I can't concentrate on this book. Things are just flat and the characters aren't complex enough
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6,386 followers
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.

Other books in the series

Commonwealth Saga (2 books)
  • Judas Unchained
“How you humans survive so much experience is something I shall never understand. To do so much and react to it all in the way you do is as much a curse as a blessing. You never take time to digest and appreciate what happens to you.” 14 likes
“I believe that intelligence and rationality will always be primary no matter what shape sentient creatures take. To not think that would be to doubt the value of life itself.” 7 likes
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