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Review: Peter F. Hamilton, The Reality Dysfunction

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Dysfuntion, indeed. This is a book I picked up from the $1 clearance rack, apparently for good reason. The Reality Dysfunction seems to have all the parts for a sci-fi epicy series: shiny antimatter drivers, sentient constructed bioships, space warfare, alien lifeforms around, and planetary colonization.

What it doesn't have is a manageable cast of characters, a plot more than vaguely discernable after 314 pages, or in fact much of a reason for finishing it. (There's plenty o' sex scenes, devil worshippers, and an alcoholic priest, though.) I just gave up after holding on for 314 pages. There's 274 more, if you include the Timeline. At chapter 12, he's still introducing characters, with long background narratives and secene-setting leading right up to "John Doe stood in/at that X and felt Y, observing the Z so characteristic of blahblahblah." I wanted to like this book, honestly. It's got gushy quotes, even from a couple of actual sci-fi authors, but it's not going to set new standards for "epic" science fiction, I'm afraid. Do not purchase, unless your patience stretches a lot further than mine for Mr. Hamilton's work.

Peter F. Hamilton, The Reality Dysfunction. Warner Books, 1996.

[No ISBN here because you shouldn't want to buy it.]

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