Manhattan in Reverse by Peter F Hamilton
This is Peter F Hamilton’s second collection of short stories. This book contains seven stories that he has written since 1998. The shortest of these stories is very short under 1,000 words, with the longest Watching Trees Grow, which is around 25,000 words.
The blurb on the cover of the book says that: This is a collection of short stories from the master of space opera. Peter F Hamilton takes us on a journey from a murder mystery in an alternative Oxford in the 1800s to a brand new story featuring Paula Mayo, Deputy Director of the Intersolar Commonwealth's Serious Crimes Directorate. Dealing with intricate themes and topical subject this top ten bestselling author is at the top of his game.
You can find out more about Peters books, and the different universes his characters inhabit on his website www.peterfhamilton.co.uk
Now, on to the stories themselves; the first story is the longest; ‘Watching Trees grow’. This is a very unusual story tracing a murder investigation over a 200 year period, set in Britain based on an alternate history where the Romans did not lose their powerbase, and as a result technology has developed and is continuing to develop at a much accelerate rate. We meet Edward Raleigh based in Oxford, an investigator for one of the “old” families who will not give up and does everything including invading people’s memories to find out who murdered a junior member of his family who was studying at Oxford. We follow him through the Solar System as he takes every opportunity given by new technology to stop at nothing to find the killer.
Secondly we have ‘Footvote’. In the introduction to the book Peter says that his has been updated to bring it up to date. In this book we look at how England copes or fails to cope with a wormhole being opened to a new planet, and the owner of the Wormhole has given those that want to 2 years to move through the wormhole before he closes it. Being Peter this of course isn’t quite that simple and it’s a quick fun read, following one family and their different attitudes to the wormhole.
Next comes ‘If at first...’ We follow Chief Detective David Lanson as he first gets to grip with a stalkers tale that he is stalking a time traveller. Chasing the traveller he ends up going back in time himself, and tweaks history, but he’s not quite as clever as he thought...
The fourth story is the very short story ‘The Forever Kitten’ that Peter says in the introduction was written for a magazine and he was limited to 1,000 words. These days I am used to reading long novels from Peter so the idea of squeezing a whole story into 1,000 words is interesting. It feels like it’s based on a similar level of technology as his full length book Misspent Youth. It’s got a nasty sting in the tale.
I don’t want to say much about the next story ‘Blessed by an Angel’ as it’s difficult to talk about this without giving away any spoilers, it’s a nice little story about the history of Inigo. You can read this as a standalone story, but it has added depth when you know Inigo’s story from the Void Trilogy.
We finish with two Paula Mayo stories, which is a pleasant surprise. I enjoy reading about her and her very single minded attitude to solving crimes. In the first, ‘The Demon Trap’ we see how utterly remorseless she is in carrying out her duties. In anyone else, what she does may be considered cruel, but in her it’s just the desire to execute the letter of the law. At times I do feel pity for the criminals who try to take on Paula Mayo.
The book concludes with the title story ‘Manhattan in Reverse’ - the one story written especially for this collection. In ‘Manhattan in Reverse’ we find Paula recently rejuvenated and having to live with the fallout from one of the events of Judas Unchained (one of the Commonwealth Universe novels). Paula finds herself pretty much press ganged by Wilson Kime into going to a recently colonised planet known as Menard, where the native inhabitants, have started to turn on the colonists.
It’s difficult to say anything about a short story without feeling that I am giving to much of the story away so I will stop there, just giving a brief teaser about the stories. If there is a slight disappointment with this collection it is that I would have liked a couple more stories in the book, but that is probably me just being greedy as I always want to read more of Peter F Hamilton words.
So what do I think about this book. I had great fun reading these stories. I think at the moment my favourites amongst the stories are The Forever Kitten and Watching Trees Grow. When I started reading these stories I was thinking there is no overall theme for this collection, but in actual fact they just about all too some extent are related to Law enforcement, or lack of, in one way or another.
I enjoyed reading this collection. It’s quite a while since I have read any short stories. So it took me a little while to get into the flow of the stories. I have learnt one thing that I have forgotten over the last few years, and that is that I should read more short stories. The first thing I did when I finished the book was to turn back to the beginning of the book and re-read the stories. It’s a pleasure being able to dip in and out of a book, thinking I just fancy a quick read of a short story. A good fun book, its only problem is that I’d love it to be about twice as long.
This Manhattan in Reverse book review was written by Stephanie Gelder
Have you read Manhattan in Reverse?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Manhattan in Reverse reader reviews
9/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she co...
When Streaker - the first starship designed and crewed by dolphins - discovers a derelict ancient armada with evidence of the first sentient species ever, she sets off a wa...
An Ancient Peace
The centuries-long war between the Confederation and The Others, a group of violent alien species, is over. Intergalactic peace is finally restored. Torin Kerr and her crew...
The Uplift War
As galactic armadas clash in quest of the ancient fleet of the Progenitors, a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth. The various uplifted inhabitants must batt...
Old Man's War
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife's grave. Then he joined the army. The good news is that humanity finally made it into interste...
Khesh City floats above the surface of the uninhabitable planet of Vellern. Topside, it's extravagant, opulent, luxurious; the Undertow is dark, twisted and dangerous. ...
This is a follow-up to The Voyage of the Sable Keech tracing the journey of an Old Captain, Orbus - a sadist in charge of a crew of masochists - to a planetary wasteland ca...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasures are in his possession. And together with Calidus and his ally Queen Rhin, Nathair will do anything to obtain the remaining Treasures. With all seven under his command, he ...
For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the four...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...
The Creeping Shadow
Lucy has left Lockwood & Co. A freelance operative, she is hiring herself out to other agencies – agencies that might value her ever-improving skills. But now Loc...
The Burning Page
When it's your job to save the day - where do you start? Librarian spy Irene has standards to maintain, especially while on probation. And absconding from a mission via...
The Banished Lands are torn by war as the army of High King Nathair sweeps the realm challenging all who oppose his holy crusade. Allied with the manipulative Queen Rhin of...