Peter F. Hamilton
(born 2 March 1960) is a British science fiction 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, making him Britain's biggest-selling science fiction author.
Peter F. Hamilton was born in Rutland, England on 2 March 1960. 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 The Night's Dawn Trilogy. His latest work is the The Dreaming Void. As of 2008 he still lives in Rutland, near Rutland Water, with his wife Kate, daughter Sophie, and son Felix.
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 politics, religion, and armed conflict. Though far between, there are sex scenes in his books, and some of them quite explicit.
Critically, Hamilton is often grouped with Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, Ken MacLeod, and other writers of new space opera in the United Kingdom.
Greg Mandel trilogy (1993-1995)
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 a communist 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 fiction. The books, and Hamilton himself, took some amount of criticism in British science fiction literary circles for his less than positive portrayal of an authoritarian left-wing British government.
Hamilton stated in SFX Magazine that he chose this route for his books in order to make people think and challenge their preconceptions, stating that it would be too easy to make the bad ex-government a fascist one.
The Night's Dawn Trilogy (1996-1999)
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. The trilogy is set in a universe with a wealth of worlds and artificial orbiting colonies. The plot is centered around 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)
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 ultra-capitalist society dominated by five mega-corporations which wield almost unlimited power. It describes the troubled military campaign by one of these companies to pacify 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)
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 (particularly the females) to be developed. 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.
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 lengthy 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 (2007-2011)
Set in the same universe as the Commonwealth Saga
, the Void Trilogy
is set 1500 years after the end of Judas Unchained
. Announced in August 2005, it has been revealed that the contract calls for the series to be completed by 2011. 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 1500-year gap, has been written by Hamilton.
The second book in the trilogy The Temporal Void
was released on 3 October 2008. The third book in the trilogy has been titled The Evolutionary Void
- Mindstar Rising (1993), ISBN 0-330-32376-8
- A Quantum Murder (1994), ISBN 0-330-33045-4
- The Nano Flower (1995), ISBN 0-330-33044-6
The Web Series
See The Web (series)
- The Reality Dysfunction (1996, published in two volumes in the US, Emergence and Expansion), ISBN 0-330-34032-8
- The Neutronium Alchemist (1997, published in two volumes in the US, Consolidation and Conflict), ISBN 0-330-35143-5
- 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
- *"Sonnie’s Edge" (1991)
- *"A Second Chance at Eden" (1998)
- *"New Days Old Times" (1997)
- *"Candy Buds" (1992)
- *"Deathday" (1991)
- *"The Lives and Loves of Tiarella Rosa" (1997)
- *"Escape Route" (1997, published in Interzone)
- Pandora's Star (2004), ISBN 0-330-49331-0
- Judas Unchained (2005), ISBN 0-330-49353-1
- The Dreaming Void (2007), ISBN 9781405088800
- The Temporal Void (released in the UK on October 3 2008), ISBN 9781405088831
- The Evolutionary Void (forthcoming, 2010)