Peter F. Hamilton

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Peter F. Hamilton
Peter F Hamilton 20090315 Salon du livre 1.jpg
Peter F. Hamilton at a book fair in Paris, France, in March 2009.
Born (1960-03-02) 2 March 1960 (age 54)
Rutland, England
Occupation Novelist
Nationality British
Period 1987–
Genre Science fiction, Space opera

www.peterfhamilton.co.uk

Peter F. Hamilton (born 2 March 1960) is a British 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.

Biography[edit]

Peter F. Hamilton was born in Rutland, England on 2 March 1960. He didn't attend university. He said in an interview, "I did science at school up to age eighteen, I stopped doing English, English literature, writing at sixteen, I just wasn't interested in those days."[1]

After he started writing in 1987 he sold his first short story to Fear Magazine in 1988. His first novel, Mindstar Rising, was published in 1993, followed by A Quantum Murder and The Nano Flower. After this he wrote a massive space opera, called The Night's Dawn Trilogy. His latest work is Great North Road – released September 2012. As of 2008 he still lives in Rutland, near Rutland Water, with his wife Kate, daughter Sophie, and son Felix.

Writing style[edit]

Peter F. Hamilton generally uses a clean, prosaic style. His space opera is characterised by the way it switches between several characters—often there are three or more main characters, whose paths begin separated but eventually cross. Common themes in his books are sexually precocious teenagers, politics, religion, and armed conflict.

Critically, Hamilton is often grouped with Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, Ken MacLeod, and other writers of new space opera in the United Kingdom. However, a fundamental difference is that while Reynolds and Baxter try hard to keep their books essentially grounded in solid science, Hamilton uses an abundance of fantasy-themed analogues (gaiafield, skylords, unisphere, etc.), which are extrapolated with solid astronomy and physics background, including many elements from classic horror writing.

Prominent books[edit]

Greg Mandel trilogy (1993–1995)[edit]

Hamilton first came to prominence in the mid-1990s with three novels featuring the psychic detective Greg Mandel. Set in a near-future Britain which has been run into the ground by global warming and an authoritarian left-wing government, the books describe a society beginning to rebuild itself through the production of advanced technology. The books are a blend of lively scientific, political and social speculation mixed with elements of detective story.

The Night's Dawn Trilogy (1996–1999)[edit]

After the Greg Mandel novels, Hamilton wrote a space opera in three volumes, known collectively as The Night's Dawn Trilogy. The three books are each well over a thousand pages long and are not standalone novels, totalling 1.2 million words. The trilogy is set in a universe with a wealth of worlds and artificial orbiting colonies. The plot is centred on the souls of the dead coming back from a hellish "beyond" to possess the living, and the latter fighting back. It was followed by a companion to the series, The Confederation Handbook, an informational book containing data about the universe of the Night's Dawn trilogy. Hamilton re-set several earlier short stories in the Confederation timeline, published as the collection A Second Chance at Eden, including the newly written title novella.

Fallen Dragon (2001)[edit]

Main article: Fallen Dragon

His next full length novel, Fallen Dragon, is in many ways a condensation of the ideas and styles (and even characters) of the Night's Dawn trilogy, if rather darker in tone. The stand-alone book describes a bleak corporatist society dominated by five mega-corporations which wield almost unlimited power. It describes the troubled military campaign by one of these companies to "realise assets" from a minor colony, through the eyes of a veteran mercenary. One of the more interesting aspects of the book was its unconventional description of a spacefaring society which had not been able to develop an affordable method of interstellar travel, and where mankind does not easily adjust to zero gravity/free-fall conditions.

Misspent Youth / Commonwealth Saga (2002–2005)[edit]

Misspent Youth is much shorter than either the Night's Dawn novels or Fallen Dragon, and again depicts a near-future version of Britain (but different from that in the Greg Mandel trilogy). It combines a rejuvenation theme with a growing preoccupation with the phenomenon of European integration from the Eurosceptic point of view. This was his least well received book critically, perhaps because it was Hamilton's first attempt at an in-depth character study or perhaps because much of the book was taken up with descriptions of sex which did not allow many of the characters (the women in particular) to be developed.[citation needed] In addition, most of the protagonists had severe character flaws which added a more uncomfortable tone to the novel than much of his other work. The author Graham Joyce has a cameo part in the book.

Misspent Youth is placed in the same universe as the Commonwealth Saga, though it is not integral to the storyline of those novels. Much of the technology used in those novels (rejuvenation and low-cost/high-capacity memory storage) is established within this book.

The Commonwealth Saga is published in two-halves, Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained. Set approximately 300 years later in the same universe as Misspent Youth, it explores the social effects of the almost complete elimination of the experience of death following widespread use of the rejuvenation technique described in Misspent Youth. In somewhat similar style to Night's Dawn, Hamilton also outlines, in detail, a universe with a small number of distinct alien species interacting essentially peacefully and who suddenly become faced with an increasingly ominous external threat.

Void Trilogy (2007–2010)[edit]

Main article: Void Trilogy

Set in the same universe as the Commonwealth Saga, the Void Trilogy is set 1200 years after the end of Judas Unchained. The release date for the first book, The Dreaming Void, was 3 August 2007. A time line that links the Commonwealth Saga with the Void Trilogy, filling in the 1200-year gap, has been written by Hamilton.[1]

The second book in the trilogy, The Temporal Void, was published in 2008. The third book in the trilogy, The Evolutionary Void, was published in August 2010.

Manhattan in Reverse (2011)[edit]

A collection of previously released and unreleased short stories was released in October 2011 to positive reviews.[2]

Great North Road (2012)[edit]

Set in 2143, the Great North Road is a futuristic murder-mystery.[3]

Upcoming works[edit]

The Books of the Realms[edit]

Hamilton recently announced a three book series intended for children.[4] The first has appeared as Queen of Dreams_(book) (2014), and the second is announced as The Hunting of the Princes, both as by Peter Hamilton.

The Chronicle of the Fallers[edit]

Hamilton announced in 2011 that he is developing a new trilogy.[5] He later cut this down to two books[6] titled The Chronicle of the Fallers. It is a return to his Commonwealth Universe, set in the time before the Void Trilogy, and will tell the story of Nigel Sheldon and what happened when he broke into the Void. The first book will be ready for publication in 2014.[7][8] Preliminary titles for the two books are The Abyss Beyond Dreams and The Night Without Stars.[9][10] Cover art, together with the release date, for The Abyss Beyond Dreams was unveiled on 19th March 2014. The book will be published on 21 October 2014. [11]

Bibliography[edit]

Greg Mandel Trilogy[edit]

  1. Mindstar Rising (1993), ISBN 0-330-32376-8
  2. A Quantum Murder (1994), ISBN 0-330-33045-4
  3. The Nano Flower (1995), ISBN 0-330-33044-6

The Web Series[edit]

See The Web

The Books of the Realms[edit]

  1. The Queen of Dreams (2014, as by Peter Hamilton) ISBN 978-0-857-53381-4
  2. The Hunting of the Princes (forthcoming)

Confederation Universe[edit]

The Night's Dawn Trilogy[edit]

  1. The Reality Dysfunction (1996, published in two volumes in the US: Emergence and Expansion), ISBN 0-330-34032-8
  2. The Neutronium Alchemist (1997, published in two volumes in the US: Consolidation and Conflict), ISBN 0-330-35143-5
  3. The Naked God (1999, published in two volumes in paperback in the US: Flight and Faith; the US hardback was one volume), ISBN 0-330-35145-1

Others in the Confederation Universe[edit]

Commonwealth Universe[edit]

The Commonwealth Saga[edit]

  1. Pandora's Star (2004), ISBN 0-330-49331-0
  2. Judas Unchained (2005), ISBN 0-330-49353-1

The Void Trilogy[edit]

  1. The Dreaming Void (2007), ISBN 978-1-4050-8880-0
  2. The Temporal Void (2008), ISBN 978-1-4050-8883-1
  3. The Evolutionary Void (2010), ISBN 978-0-345-49657-7

Other novels[edit]

Short fiction[edit]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]