Good old-fashioned space-opera
I don’t normally review science fiction books for the simple reason that I prefer to keep my sci-fi reading for myself, rather than having to read with a frame of mind to later review. However, sometimes I make an exception, and for one of the planet’s premiere sci-fi writers, Peter F Hamilton, it was a no brainer.
Hamilton’s new book, Salvation, starts off an entirely new world, and let me just say to all of you fantasy readers who look askance at sci-fi, this book is worth the shot.
The book (essentially) starts out in 2204 – so it’s not too far into the future and doesn’t require too much mental legwork to imagine the world in which we find ourselves. The relevant future-technology is not too hard to grasp and explains and allows for a lot of fantastical and exciting adventures around the universe.
Peter F Hamilton is known as one of the world’s greatest sci-fi writers for a reason. His sci-fi is hard but it’s not so intricate and technical that you need a science degree to grasp it; The stories are not so wacky and “out there” that you need to re-read the series, twice, in order to understand what is happening; And his characters are vibrant and alive.
Salvation is not inherently like other Hamilton books, however, as in many ways it could be considered more of an anthology – although, a closely linked and intertwined anthology. There are two primary storylines – one in the ‘present’ and one in the future – but the ‘present’ storyline exists simply as a framework from which to tell ‘past’ short stories that highlight several of the main characters – main characters which are important to the characters in the future.
That might sound confusing, and it might even sound like a bit of a cop-out on the part of the author – for a while there I certainly thought it was. However, by the end of the book I realised that I had actually loved every moment. Even though there was a lot of time and POV jumping, the reader is never left confused or baffled as to what is happening. Hamilton focuses more on story than on chapters, so while you feel a bit more like you’re reading a collection of short stories, they are so beautifully threaded together that, by the end of the book, the whole has read as perfectly seamless.
I’m not going to go out on a limb and say that Salvation is for every reader out there. There are always going to be some people immune to the charms of a well-written sci-fi book, whatever the reason. But if you’ve ever felt like getting into sci-fi, or already like sci-fi but have never read Peter F Hamilton before, then Salvation is going to be a great chance to get in on the hype train. Coming out in September, Salvation is well worth the effort and a great introduction to some good old-fashioned space-opera.
Review by Joshua S Hill
Chris from United Kingdom
While I can see why other reviewers took exception with this book, I personally really enjoyed it. It won't be ousting Pandora's Star from that special place in my heart, but it was still very enjoyable. If you like lots of detail, then this book won't disappoint; that's why we read Peter F. Hamilton after all. The AA chapters promise some extremely hardcore tech porn, which I certainly wait to get my teeth into, and I'm very interested to see how it all ties together. The negative reviews on this page serve to prove the utopials right: People don't like change! :)
Ben from NZ
I think this is probably the best book that Peter F Hamilton has written. I really enjoyed it. Really good universe building. Good characters and interesting storylines.
Elijah from USA
Feels like the first Hyperion book (Dan Simmons) which is based off the Canterbury Tales format. If this is the case the sequels will be more of what PFH fans are accustomed (and I have the feeling that will be the case). Anyone else get a Great North Road vibe in some of these stories? I liked GNR and was happy to see the detective element in this one. Can’t wait for the next book to see how this universe expands!
8.8/10 from 4 reviews