The Dreaming Void (Void Trilogy Series #1)

The Dreaming Void (Void Trilogy Series #1)

by Peter F. Hamilton

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Overview

Reviewers exhaust superlatives when it comes to the science fiction of Peter F. Hamilton. His complex and engaging novels, which span thousands of years–and light-years–are as intellectually stimulating as they are emotionally fulfilling. Now, with The Dreaming Void, the first volume in a trilogy set in the same far-future as his acclaimed Commonwealth saga, Hamilton has created another ambitious and gripping space epic.

The year is 3589, fifteen hundred years after Commonwealth forces barely staved off human extinction in a war against the alien Prime. Now an even greater danger has surfaced: a threat to the existence of the universe itself.

At the very heart of the galaxy is the Void, a self-contained microuniverse that cannot be breached, cannot be destroyed, and cannot be stopped as it steadily expands in all directions, consuming everything in its path: planets, stars, civilizations. The Void has existed for untold millions of years. Even the oldest and most technologically advanced of the galaxy’s sentient races, the Raiel, do not know its origin, its makers, or its purpose.

But then Inigo, an astrophysicist studying the Void, begins dreaming of human beings who live within it. Inigo’s dreams reveal a world in which thoughts become actions and dreams become reality. Inside the Void, Inigo sees paradise. Thanks to the gaiafield, a neural entanglement wired into most humans, Inigo’s dreams are shared by hundreds of millions–and a religion, the Living Dream, is born, with Inigo as its prophet. But then he vanishes.

Suddenly there is a new wave of dreams. Dreams broadcast by an unknown Second Dreamer serve as the inspiration for a massive Pilgrimage into the Void. But there is a chance that by attempting to enter the Void, the pilgrims will trigger a catastrophic expansion, an accelerated devourment phase that will swallow up thousands of worlds.

And thus begins a desperate race to find Inigo and the mysterious Second Dreamer. Some seek to prevent the Pilgrimage; others to speed its progress–while within the Void, a supreme entity has turned its gaze, for the first time, outward. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345496546
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/24/2009
Series: Void Trilogy Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 156,487
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Peter F. Hamilton is the author of numerous short stories and novels, including Judas Unchained, Pandora’s Star, Fallen Dragon, and the acclaimed epic Night’s Dawn trilogy (The Reality Dysfunction, The Neutronium Alchemist, and The Naked God). He lives with his family in England.

Read an Excerpt

ONE

Aaron spent the whole day mingling with the faithful of the Living Dream movement in Golden Park’s vast plaza, eavesdropping on their restless talk about the succession, drinking water from the mobile catering stalls, trying to find some shade from the searing sun as the heat and coastal humidity rose relentlessly. He thought he remembered arriving at daybreak; certainly the expanse of marble cobbles had been virtually empty as he had walked across it. The tips of the splendid white metal pillars surrounding the area had been crowned with rose-gold light as the local star rose above the horizon. He had smiled appreciatively at the outline of the replica city, matching the topography surrounding Golden Park with the dreams he had gathered from the gaiafield over the last . . . well, for quite some time. Golden Park had started to fill up rapidly after that, with the faithful arriving from the other districts of Makkathran2 across the canal bridges, ferried in by a fleet of gondolas. By midday there must have been close to a hundred thousand of them. All faced the Orchard Palace, which sprawled possessively like a huddle of high dunes over the Anemone district on the other side of the Outer Circle Canal. There they waited with badly disguised impatience for the Cleric Council to come to a decision—any sort of decision. The Council had been in conclave for three days now. How long could they possibly take to elect a new Conservator?

At one point that morning he had edged his way right up to the Outer Circle Canal, close to the central wire-and-wood bridge that arched over to Anemone. It was closed, of course, as were the other two bridges in that section. Although in ordinary times anyone from the ultradevout to curious tourist could cross over and wander around the vast Orchard Palace, this day it had been sealed off by fit-looking junior Clerics who had undergone a lot of muscle enrichment. Camped out to one side of the temporarily forbidden bridge were hundreds of journalists from all over the Greater Commonwealth, most of them outraged by the stubborn refusal of Living Dream to leak information their way. They were easily identifiable by their chic modern clothes and by faces that obviously were maintained at peak gloss by a membrane of cosmetic scales. Not even Advancer DNA produced complexions that good.

Behind them the bulk of the crowd buzzed about, discussing their favorite candidates. If Aaron was judging the mood correctly, just about ninety-five percent of them were rooting for Ethan. They wanted him because they were done with waiting, with patience, with the status quo preached by all the other lackluster caretakers since the Dreamer himself, Inigo, had slipped away from public life. They wanted someone who would bring their whole movement to that blissful moment of fulfillment they had been promised from the moment they had tasted Inigo’s first dream.

Some time in the afternoon Aaron realized that the woman was watching him. Instinct smoothly clicked his awareness to her location—which was an interesting trait to know he had. From then on he was conscious of her: how she casually wandered in order to keep an easy distance between them, how she never had her eyes in his direction when he glanced at her. She wore a simple short-sleeved rusty-orange top and knee-length blue trousers of some modern fabric. A little different from the faithful—who tended to wear the more primitive rustic clothes of wool, cotton, and leather favored by Makkathran’s citizens, but not contemporary enough to be obvious. Nor did her looks make her stand out, though she had a flattish face and a cute button nose; some of the time her slim copper shades were across her eyes, but often she had them perched in her short dark hair. Her age was unknowable; her appearance was locked into the biological mid-twenties like that of everyone in the Greater Commonwealth. He was certain, with no tangible proof, that she was well past her first couple of centuries.

After they had played the orbiting-satellites game for forty minutes, he walked over, keeping his smile pleasant. There were no pings coming off her that his macrocellular clusters could detect, no active links to the unisphere or any active sensor activity. Electronically, she was as stone age as the city.

“Hello,” he said.

She pushed her shades up with the tip of a finger and gave him a playful grin. “Hello yourself. So what brings you here?”

“This is a historic event.”

“Quite.”

“Do I know you?” His instinct had been right, he saw; she was nothing like the placid faithful shuffling around them. Her body language was all wrong; she could keep tight control of herself, enough to fool anyone without his training—training?—but he could sense the attitude coiled up inside.

“Should you know me?”

He hesitated. There was something familiar about her face, something he should know about her. He could not think what for the simple reason that he did not have any memories to pull up and examine. Not of anything, now that he thought about it. He didn’t seem to have had a life prior to this day. He knew that was all wrong, yet that did not bother him, either. “I don’t recall.”

“How curious. What’s your name?”

“Aaron.”

Her laughter surprised him.

“What?” he asked.

“Number one, eh? How lovely.”

Aaron’s answering grin was forced. “I don’t understand.”

“If you wanted to list terrestrial animals, where would you start?”

“Now you’ve really lost me.”

“You’d start with the aardvark. Double A; it’s the top of the list.”

“Oh,” he mumbled. “Yeah, I get it.”

“Aaron.” She chuckled. “Someone had a sense of humor when they sent you here.”

“Nobody sent me.”

“Really?” She arched a thick eyebrow. “So you just sort of found yourself at this historic event, did you?”

“That’s about it, yes.”

She dropped the copper band back down over her eyes and shook her head in mock dismay. “There are several of us here, you know. I don’t believe that’s an accident, do you?”

“Us?”

Her hand gestured around at the crowd. “You don’t count yourself as one of these sheep, do you? A believer? Someone who thinks they can find a life at the end of these dreams Inigo so generously gifted to the Commonwealth?”

“I suppose not, no.”

“There’s a lot of people watching what happens here. It’s important, after all, and not just for the Greater Commonwealth. If there’s a Pilgrimage into the Void, some species claim it could trigger a devourment phase which will bring about the end of the galaxy. Would you want that to happen, Aaron?”

She was giving him a very intent stare. “That would be a bad thing,” he temporized. “Obviously.” In truth he had no opinion. It was not something he thought about.

“Obvious to some, an opportunity to others.”

“If you say so.”

“I do.” She licked her lips with mischievous amusement. “So, are you going to try for my unisphere code? Ask me out for a drink?”

“Not today.”

She pouted fulsomely. “How about unconditional sex, then, any way you like it?”

“I’ll bank that one, too, thanks.” He laughed.

“You do that.” Her shoulders moved up in a slight shrug. “Goodbye, Aaron.”

“Wait,” he said as she turned away. “What’s your name?”

“You don’t want to know me,” she called out. “I’m bad news.”

“Goodbye, Bad News.”

There was a genuine smile on her face as she looked back at him. A finger wagged. “That’s what I remember best,” she said, and was gone.

He smiled at the rear of her rapidly departing head. She vanished quickly enough amid the throng; after a minute he couldn’t even spot her. He had seen her originally because she had wanted him to, he realized.

Us, she’d said. There are a lot like us here. That didn’t make a lot of sense. But then she’d stirred up a lot of questions. Why am I here? he wondered. There was no solid answer in his mind other than it was the right place for him to be; he wanted to see who was elected. And the memories. Why don’t I have any memories of anything else? It ought to bother him, he knew—memories were the fundamental core of human identity—yet even that emotion was lacking. Strange. Humans were emotionally complex entities, yet he didn’t appear to be. But he could live with that; something deep inside him was sure he would solve the mystery of himself eventually. There was no hurry.

Toward late afternoon the crowd began to thin out as the announcement remained obstinately unforthcoming. Aaron could see disappointment on the faces moving past him, a sentiment echoed by the whispers of emotion within the local gaiafield. He opened his mind to the surrounding thoughts, allowing them to wash in through the gateway that the gaiamotes had germinated inside his cerebellum. It was like walking through a fine mist of specters, bestowing the plaza with flickers of unreal color, images of times long gone yet remembered fondly; sounds were muffled, as if experienced through fog.

His recollection of when he had joined the gaiafield community was as hazy as the rest of his time before this day: it didn’t seem like the kind of thing he would do—too whimsical. Gaiafield was for adolescents who considered the multisharing of dreams and emotions to be deep and profound or fanatics like Living Dream. But he was proficient enough with the concept of voluntarily shared thoughts and memories to grasp a coherent sensation from his exposure to the raw minds in the plaza. Of course, if it could be done anywhere, it would be here in Makkathran2, which Living Dream had made the capital of the Greater Commonwealth’s gaiafield, with all the contradictions that entailed. To the faithful, the gaiafield was almost identical to the genuine telepathy the citizens of the real Makkathran possessed.

Aaron felt their sorrow firsthand as the day began to wind down, with several stronger undercurrents of anger directed at the Cleric Council. In a society where one shared thoughts and feelings, so the consensus went, an election really should not be so difficult. He also perceived their subliminal wish slithering through the gaiafield: Pilgrimage, the one true hope of the whole movement.

Despite the regret gusting around him, Aaron stayed where he was. He didn’t have anything else to do. The sun had fallen almost to the horizon when there was some movement on the broad balcony along the front of the Orchard Palace. All across the plaza, people suddenly smiled and pointed. There was a gentle yet urgent movement toward the Outer Circle Canal. Security force fields along the side of the water expanded, cushioning those shoved up against the railings as the pressure of bodies increased behind them. Various news company camera pods zoomed through the air like glitter-black festival balloons, adding to the thrill. Within seconds the mood in the plaza had lifted to fiery anticipation; the gaiafield suddenly crackled with excitement, its intensity rising until Aaron had to withdraw slightly to avoid being deluged by the clashing storms of color and ethereal shouts.

The Cleric Council marched solemnly out onto the balcony, fifteen figures wearing full-length scarlet-and-black robes. In their center was a lone figure whose robe was a dazzling white edged in gold, the hood pulled forward to obscure the face inside. The dying sun glowed against the soft cloth, creating a nimbus around him. A huge cheer went up from the crowd. Camera pods edged in as close to the balcony as their operators dared; palace force fields rippled in warning, keeping them back. As one, the Cleric Council reached out into the gaiafield with their minds; unisphere access followed swiftly, making the grand announcement available across the Greater Commonwealth to followers and nullifidians alike.

In the middle of the balcony, the white-robed figure reached up and slowly pushed back the hood. Ethan smiled beatifically out across the city and its adulating faithful. There was a kindness about his thin solemn face that suggested he was attuned to all their fears; he sympathized and understood. Everyone could see the dark bags under his eyes that could come only from the burden of accepting such a terribly high office, of carrying the expectations of every Dreamer. As his face was exposed to the rich sunlight, the cheering down in the plaza increased. Now the other members of the Cleric Council turned toward the new Cleric Conservator and applauded contentedly.

Without conscious intervention, the ancillary thought routines operating inside Aaron’s macrocellular clusters animated his ocular zoom. He scanned along the faces of the Cleric Council, designating each image with an integral code as the ancillary routines slotted them into macrocellular storage lacunae ready for instant recall. Later he would study them for any betraying emotion, an indicator of how they had argued and voted.

He had not known he had the zoom function, which piqued his curiosity. At his request the secondary thought routines ran a systems check through the macrocellular clusters enriching his nervous system. Exoimages and mental icons unfolded from neutral status to standby in his peripheral vision, lines of shifting iridescence bracketing his natural sight. The exoimages were all default symbols generated by his u-shadow, the personal interface with the unisphere that instantly would connect him to any of its massive data, communication, entertainment, and commerce functions. All standard stuff.

However, the mental icons he examined represented a great deal more than the standard physiological enrichments that Advancer DNA had placed at the disposal of a human body; if he was reading their summaries correctly, he was enriched with some extremely lethal biononic field function weaponry.

I know something else about me, he thought. I have an Advancer heritage. It was hardly a revelation; eighty percent of Greater Commonwealth citizens had had similar modifications sequenced into their DNA thanks to the long-ago genetic visionaries on Far Away. But having biononics as well narrowed the scope fractionally, putting Aaron closer to his true origin.

Ethan raised his hands in an appeal for silence. The plaza fell quiet as the faithful held their breath. Even the babble from the media pack was stilled. A sensation of serenity coupled with steely resolution issued out of the new Cleric Conservator into the gaiafield. Ethan was a man who was sure of his purpose.

“I thank my fellow Councillors for this magnificent honor,” Ethan said. “As I begin my tenure, I will do what I believe our Dreamer wanted. He showed us the way—nobody can deny that. He showed us where life can be lived and changed until it is perfect, however you choose to define that as an individual. I believe he showed us this for a reason. This city he built. The devotion he engendered. It was for one purpose: to live the Dream. That is what we will now do.”

There was cheering out on the plaza.

“The Second Dream has begun! We have known it in our hearts. You have known it. I have known it. We have been shown inside the Void again. We have soared with the Skylord.”

Aaron scanned the Council again. He no longer needed to review and analyze their faces for later. Five of them already looked deeply uncomfortable. Around him the cheering was building to an inevitable climax, as was the speech.

“The Skylord awaits us. It will guide us to our destiny. We will Pilgrimage!”

Cheering turned to a naked, violent roar of adulation. Inside the gaiafield it was as though someone were setting off fireworks fueled by pleasure narcotics. The burst of euphoria surging through the artificial neural universe was awesome in its brightness.

Ethan waved victoriously to the faithful, then gave a last smile and went back inside Orchard Palace.

Aaron waited as the crowd wound down. So many cried with joy as they departed, he had to shake his head in dismay at their simplicity. Happiness here was universal, obligatory. The sun crept down below the horizon, revealing a city where every window glowed with warm tangerine light, just as they did in the true city. Songs drifted along the canals as the gondoliers gave voice to their delight in traditional fashion. Eventually even the reporters began to drift away, chattering among themselves; those with doubts were keeping their voices low. Out in the unisphere, news anchors and political commentators on hundreds of worlds were beginning their somber doomsday predictions.

None of it bothered Aaron. He was still standing in the plaza as the civic bots emerged into the starlight and began clearing away the rubbish the excitable crowd had left behind. He now knew what he had to do next; the certainty had struck him as soon as he had heard Ethan speak. Find Inigo. That was why he was here.

Aaron smiled contentedly around the dark plaza, but there was no sign of the woman. “Now who’s bad news?” he asked, and walked back into the jubilant city.

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"A real spellbinder from a master storyteller." —-Kirkus Starred Review

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The Dreaming Void 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 113 reviews.
LibrNet More than 1 year ago
The book is great, and he is a great author, but this is not a trilogy in the sense that each book is a complete story. I am now waiting for the paperback version of book 2 to continue reading what is probably just a very long single book. So, if you like an ending, wait till all 3 have been published in your desired format, then read away - you will enjoy !!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Fifteen hundred years have passed since the Commonwealth conspiracy occurred (see PANDORA¿S STAR AND JUDAS UNCHAINED). Mankind ha prospered, but now humanity is divided once again. This time it is over the Void at the core of galaxy. A powerful sect the Living Dream has formed around Inigo the human who insists he dreams of the paradise world inside the Void. The star of his dreams is Edeard who Inigo believes lives inside the Void and is contacting him. ---------------------- Inigo¿s followers become the most powerful political and social force in the galaxy. Meanwhile the human clamor to enter the Void frightens the ancient species who somewhat understands and fears the unintentional consequences of entering the Void will trigger the Void¿s concentric expansion until the galaxy is destroyed. When Inigo vanishes without a trace, Ethan takes over and announces a pilgrimage into the Void.------------ As expected, Peter Hamilton provides an extremely complex very entertaining futuristic science fiction that in some ways is quite simple as the story line focuses on two prime subplots. First there are Inigo¿s dreams of Edeard¿s young life as a teen member of the Eggshaper¿s Guild to his rookie days as a junior constable in Makkathran second there is the various reactions across the galaxy when Ethan announces the pilgrimage into the Void. Each holds up quite well as the key players, Edeard and Ethan seem real, which in turn makes the Void feel genuine. This is a great opening of the second act as fans return to the Hamilton galaxy fifteen or so centuries since we left following the events of PANDORA¿S STAR AND JUDAS UNCHAINED.----------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall, I liked it, but it's just part 1 of a three-part story, and if I want to see how it turns out I have to read two more books.
v_k_ More than 1 year ago
Ambitious, wide ranging plot incorporating elements from many genres--western, corporate drama, thriller, & fantasy, not to mention space opera--limited by prosaic writing and odd lapses in taste; enjoyable nonetheless
PaulLizer More than 1 year ago
This series spans three novels and takes you on a wonderful journy through the universe that Hamilton created. I really enjoyed this series. Space opera and drama at its finest. Even after 1200+ pages across the three books Hamilton ties up all loose ends and finishes the trilogy in a satisfying manner.
Godswork More than 1 year ago
Peter F. Hamilton has a style of writing like no other. He is crazy, nasty, disgusting, amazing and more. His stories are never dry and always attractive to any sci fi reader. He is the only reader that has the ability of making a sci fi book seem possible and real in the distant future. Even the far fetched ideas seem plausible because of how he uses them in his books.
Howler More than 1 year ago
Time after time, I pick this book up, hoping it's not as bad as I remember, and time after time I throw it down out of sheer frustration at reading such an annoying book. It's not that the writer can't tell a story - he's pretty good at moving the action along - but, what he has to say, the characters in the story, the ways they interact - it's all so disappointing. The female characters are two-dimensional. The hero character is so over-the-top full of special skills, he can beat anything!!! Action happens simply to move the plot along, the actions themselves make no coherent sense, there's no logic to people's decisions. If you're the kind of reader who doesn't place any demands on plot, character development, or intelligent action, and instead revels in what is really the equivalent of a masculine Harlequin Romance in Space, you'll love this book. However, if you have any brain at all, you'll find something better. I recommend Neal Stephenson.
bkwrmSC More than 1 year ago
This book is very like Peter Hamilton's previous work in it's complexity and character developement. It's very long, but also very readable. I was able to get very involved with the story.I am looking forward to the next installment.
ErlendSkjelten on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Dreaming Void takes us back to the Intersolar Commonwealth from Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained. Well over a millennium has passed, and much is different. The monocultural Commonwealth we knew is no more, it has shattered into a myriad of worlds, many of which are only loosely affiliated with each other. On one of these worlds, a movement known as Living Dream is planning a pilgrimage to the mysterious Void, an artificial universe at the centre of the galaxy, which is slowly eating the surrounding stars. Living Dream believes the Void contains paradise, most others believe touching it is certain death. What's worse, the pilgrimage might set of a massive expansion phase, devouring the whole galaxy. It took me a chapter or so to get into this story. Hamilton mercilessly throws us into the middle of his world, and often takes a long, long time to explain exactly what all these acronyms and technologies and organisations actually are. As a result I felt quite disorientated for a while. Once I started getting my bearings however, there was nothing but enjoyment ahead. Hamilton is a superb writer who crafts an intriguing world filled with interesting characters, whose stories run parallel, interweaving and complimenting each other. We even get to see some of the characters from Pandora's Star again, with a few glaring omissions. Ozzie is missed, but he is at least mentioned, unlike the SI, which is alluded to only in a single sentence in the appendix. Apparently, we will get to see more of it in the sequel though. Interspersed with the main storyline we are also told the story from Inigo's dreams. I enjoyed this story almost more than the main storyline, it was more reminiscent of a classic fantasy story than the science fiction which is so prevalent in the rest. This story is apparently also getting more focus in the sequel, a fact which has me salivating in anticipation. The only thing that really bothers me is the ending. Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained didn't feel like two books in a series, it felt like one book split into two volumes. This might be Hamilton's M.O., as The Dreaming Void ends on a cliffhanger as well. Nothing is really resolved. I strongly suspect that when the entire trilogy is out, it can be read as one work to great enjoyment, but reaching the end of the first third leaves mostly frustration. There is a pay-off of sorts for one of the books main plot lines, but it barely has time to register, and certainly no time to explain itself, before something explodes and the book ends. Despite this, the book is very enjoyable. Hamilton has conjured up not just one, but two deep and interesting worlds to immerse yourself in, filled with people you want to see more of. Frequent references are made to the events of Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained, but I think you could still follow the story fine without having read them. It is a book I enjoyed immensely, and I am greatly looking forward to the sequels.
kd9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Peter F. Hamilton is an acquired taste. You have to be prepared to spend a long time reading him, because each of his books are long (better than 600 pages) and they usually comes in sets of three. You have to pay attention because there are hundreds of different characters and dozens of different societies at almost every level of civilization from medieval to galaxy spanning mercantile to almost post-physical downloaded personalities. This book is almost more complex than previous books because although it is a stand alone story that takes place a thousand years after the events of Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained, there are several characters from those novels either present or invoked by the current characters.As a voluminous reader I greatly enjoy books that I can sink into. And with dozens of characters to follow, if some are not your favorites, well then, wait a bit and someone you like better will come along. I appreciate the description of all these varied societies. I appreciate his intricate plotting. I appreciate his galaxy spanning action. If you love straight forward adventure, Peter F. Hamilton delivers it better than anyone else.
jc74 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
PFH writes with his usual cunning style; From cover to cover there are numerous independant plot threads that are tied together with a deft hand, some of which I'd correctly anticipated, and other subtle twists meaning that I hadn't. All of which supported with well described and carefully considered universe, as you'd expect from this author. Ultimately they make The Dreaming Void an installment of an epic Space Opera.If I had only one regret, it's that I'd re-read Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained before picking up this weighty tome. I'm going to go back and re-read them before I start on the next in the sequence (The Temporal Void) simply to help with previous events. I don't believe this really should be tagged as Book 1 of "The Void Trilogy", as it's truly a continuation of a story from Judas Unchained. Regardless of that, thoroughly enjoyable, suitably complex, adult Sci Fi of the finest calibre! More Please PFH
closedmouth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(Reviewed July 30, 2009)Wow, disappointing. Almost nothing happens. Really, amazingly lacklustre, hopefully the sequels will shift up a gear.
Tiberiusbox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Interesting initial book. It had been a few years since I read Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained so some of the characters and events that were referred to in TDV were confusing to me. However once getting into it, this book is a good start to what I hope is an entertaining trilogy. Reading someone's opinion on what advanced high-tech looks like is always an interesting exercise. Hamilton does it better than almost anyone.
Jvstin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The 36th century is a good time to be a human. No, really. Wormhole technology and rapid technological advancement has made humans a pretty big player on the galactic stage. Sure, there are post-singularity beings floating about here and there, and a few species which do things that we humans don't understand, and some pugnacious species as well. Still, its been 1200 years since a threat capable of taking on the whole of the human race has emerged. But when a retired and missing dream-fueled religious prophet's followers decide to conduct a pilgrimage toward the mysterious center of the galaxy, where one of those powerful alien races have been keeping a vigil over a threat capable of devouring everything and everyone, the quiet peace that the human race is bound to end. Just what IS the Void in the center of the Galaxy, and what do the dreams suggesting that it is inhabited--by humans, mean? And what does it mean that an uncrowned successor to that prophet is now broadcasting more dreams of that strange realm? And with new fractures and fissures in the increasing divergent branches of humanity, how can the Commonwealth possibly coordinate a response this time?It looks like Interesting Times are in store for the Human Race once more...The Dreaming Void is set 1200 years after Peter F Hamilton's Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained. Set in a universe where anti-aging technology, combined with wormhole technology has led to a Commonwealth of worlds and cultures, Hamilton has extrapolated the already amazing universe depicted in those previous two novels and brought new and extended concepts, ideas and characters to his rich tapestry.Even better, Hamilton has improved as a writer. Readers who have read the Pandora's Star duology, or the Reality Dysfunction trilogy knows that he writes sprawling, brawling large scale novels with lots of characters and word counts that push 1000 pages. The Dreaming Void clocked in just under 600 pages. We meet plenty of new characters, as well as some old favorites who have survived all this time. Even in a conservative society such as the Commonwealth does not allow people to remain static over such time scales and Hamilton's increasingly deft characterization makes the evolution of the characters over that time believable.It's Edeard's story, though, that is the real innovation in Hamilton's writing. An intensely personal story that could be considered magic (or at least psionics) in a quasi-medieval setting inside the Void, his story is intriguing and interesting--and very unlike anything I have read in a Hamilton novel before. I was pleasantly surprised.That said, the standard virtues of a Hamilton novel are in full force here. Aside from Edeard's story, back in the main universe readers will encounter amazing technology, strange aliens, a variety of characters and settings, a wide scale view of an entire culture as the narrative proceeds apace. Hamilton writes some of the best Space Opera in the business and those talents are in full force in this book.Hamilton has significantly and visibly improved as a writer with this series, and I look forward to picking up and reading the Temporal Void, the next book in this trilogy.A final note: Do you need to have read Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained to read this book? I think, actually, that they provide value-added goodness but are not strictly necessary. I think a practiced SF reader can start here and be perfectly happy and follow what is happening and why with minimum problems.
petercal94 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Part 3 of the Commonwealth saga (Pandora's Star and Juda's Unchanged). There are several chapters set in a sort of fairy tale medieval setting. Totally boring. I had the urge to skim if not for the fact that I thought there might be relevant plot points.
RandyStafford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Peter F. Hamilton fans won't be disappointed with this, a return to the universe of Misspent Youth and the Commonwealth Saga approximately 1,200 years after the events of the latter. Hamilton's usual themes and motifs are here: fantasy combined with science fiction (here a world in the ravening Void at the heart of the galaxy, a world where psychic powers are quite common and technology rather limited); a keen visual sense exhibited in his combat action scenes and descriptions of architecture and clothing; outre sex (here an important character coupling with a man who shares one mind across several bodies); worldbuilding that combines economics, politics, law, technology, and geography to make credible several settings; godlike technology, and a plot with elements of espionage and police thrillers.What is that plot? Well, I'm going to be lazy and leave it up to other reviewers to give you the broad outlines and dramatis personae. I will say that, at its core, the novel is about a very human tendency - even though many characters strive for a post-human, post-physical existence: the fear and belief that other humans just shouldn't be allowed to make their own lifestyle choices. Several characters take the justifiable position that sometimes those choice are threatening to outside parties. Here the argument is how much humans should modify their minds and bodies or even abandon them altogether, if man is to bootstrap himself into a Rapture or if it will be an alien god.If the Commonwealth books were sort of a science fictional belle époque complete with anarchist and trains, this series is very much concerned with some of the issues of the Singularity, the looming debates of our world.Are the Commonwealth Saga books a prerequisite for this new series? They are not strictly necessary. (It's been long enough since I've read them that I forgot a lot of details about the many characters who show up in both series and plot details. But then I frequently feel like I need a reader's guide and concordance even when I'm in the middle of a Hamilton series.) However, certain characters are going to have a lot more resonance if you know their background.As usual, Hamilton's prose pulled me through a thick book quickly. The only part I didn't care for initially was the magical world in the Void. However, after the initial set up there, those dream interludes became much more interesting though they still were sometimes annoying breaks in the action of the central plot.
Guide2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Many interesting new SF concepts that are well integrated in the story. A bit of a weird mix with the other half of the book fantasy world, but I almost liked that part better although it sounded somewhat similar to Modesitt storylines.
OneSciFiFan More than 1 year ago
The Commonwealth series and the Void Trilogy are such a treat! The very best in space opera that I have read in a long time. The multi-verse that Peter Hamilton has created is vast, complex and always interesting. The science is futuristic and believable. The characters are many and varied and complicated and intertwined like a tapestry. The story line is full of intrigue and surprises and twists & turns. All I can say is WOW and Frank Herbert is smiling down from heaven at this one!
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