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Pandora's Star | [Peter F. Hamilton]

Pandora's Star

The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.
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Publisher's Summary

Critics have compared the engrossing space operas of Peter F. Hamilton to the classic sagas of such SF giants as Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. But Hamilton's best-selling fiction - powered by a fearless imagination and world-class storytelling skills - has also earned him comparison to Tolstoy and Dickens. Hugely ambitious, wildly entertaining, philosophically stimulating: the novels of Peter F. Hamilton will change the way you think about science fiction.

Now, with Pandora's Star, he begins a new multi-volume adventure, one that promises to be his most mind-blowing yet. The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.

Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, a faster-than-light starship, the Second Chance, is dispatched to learn what has occurred and whether it represents a threat. In command is Wilson Kime, a five-time rejuvenated ex-NASA pilot whose glory days are centuries behind him. Opposed to the mission are the Guardians of Selfhood, a cult that believes the human race is being manipulated by an alien entity they call the Starflyer.

Bradley Johansson, leader of the Guardians, warns of sabotage, fearing the Starflyer means to use the starship's mission for its own ends. Pursued by a Commonwealth special agent convinced the Guardians are crazy but dangerous, Johansson flees. But the danger is not averted. Aboard the Second Chance, Kime wonders if his crew has been infiltrated.

Soon enough, he will have other worries. A thousand light-years away, something truly incredible is waiting: a deadly discovery, the unleashing of which will threaten to destroy t...

©2004 Peter F. Hamilton; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"The depth and clarity of the future Hamilton envisions is as complex and involving as they come." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (5330 )
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4.2 (3566 )
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4.1 (3535 )
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Performance
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  •  
    BKK Marietta, GA USA 04-26-12
    BKK Marietta, GA USA 04-26-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    "Need sttict editing"
    Would you try another book from Peter F. Hamilton and/or John Lee?

    May be


    Any additional comments?

    I found Pandora's Star far too long and in dire need of some stricter editing. There are too many characters and some of these characters and sub plots do not add anything to the main story. Even the important parts could have been tightened considerably, with many paragraphs of needless detail just getting in the way and making it a labourious read. I think the story could have been told in half the number of pages than what is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephan Kim Oakland Gardens, NY USA 04-10-12
    Stephan Kim Oakland Gardens, NY USA 04-10-12 Member Since 2001

    TopGun

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Too many grounding stone, not much in building"

    The plot is too big from the beginning of the series. I find it difficult to correlate the story. Author tries to put together toward at end but it is not captivating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad Allen, TX, United States 04-03-12
    Chad Allen, TX, United States 04-03-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Book but...36 hours"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I listened to the whole book. It's good. Not great but good. I never get abridged books but this one should have been. It's Long and Long and Long. I have listened to books with as much story in a 3rd of the time. If you like long books then go for it. If not move on to something else. The story is good the idea is cool but way to long.

    The story had a long build up to not much of a climax. I would assume that the next book moves the story on but at 40 hours it's not going to be a series I come back to.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    John Lee did a great job as always.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Guilford, VT, United States 03-28-12
    Gary Guilford, VT, United States 03-28-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Abrupt Ending"
    What would have made Pandora's Star better?

    Good story, interesting characters, very creative but no closure of the plot and.or subplots


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment in the ending


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher United States 03-18-12
    Christopher United States 03-18-12 Member Since 2011

    PHC.Smith

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    "A true masterpiece of science fiction"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have recommended this to my mother, my father, my brother, and my best friend. It is what we all have wished for and so rarely receive: a complete and realistic future.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Peter Hamilton has done what few other authors have been able to achieve: a very detailed and complete version of the future. He describes a whole society, not just fragments or dismisses it out of hand. He lays out economic structure, religion, politics, changing morality...everything. I have never read a series that was so complete, so believable, and so deep, and that is just the setting.
    The plot itself is a masterstroke of storytelling. The story is never clearly laid out, instead the reader has to figure out what is going on as seen through the viewpoint of a large cast of characters experiencing their own lives. Things that seem like peripheral material included only to flesh out the universe as a whole slowly develop into crucial aspects of the main story line. It is breathtaking when seen as a whole and enjoyable while being read in its chapter long increments.


    What three words best describe John Lee’s performance?

    Bland neutral noninflected


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 03-17-12
    Tim United States 03-17-12 Member Since 2011

    I don't write book reports.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Solid Worm Hole"

    I'm not really a sci fi reader, but Pandora's Star was recommended to me from a friend and I am quickly becoming a fan to this series. I have read other titles in this genre before, and they were all okay. It was something to read... Just to kill time... Whatever...

    Pandora's Star is my first real sci fi novel and I was hooked to this saga. Unlike other titles from other authors, Peter F. Hamilton writes a complete real thick novel that doesn't leaves you hanging, asking yourself, "What just happened?"

    Hamilton's material is very detail, but also very entertaining to read. The book is entertaining because it has a little of everything, sex, romance, action, drama, aliens and geeks with their different worm holes. The story works because he doesn't stress on one topic chapter after chapters, where you feel like that the plot is going nowhere. Hamilton knows how to transition the story smoothly, keeping you interested.

    If you are new to this genre, Pandora's Star might not be your first choice just because it's very long and the story is very complex. It took me over a week to finish 37 odd hours, but I couldn't wait to listen to more and get my geek on!

    I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim In Texas! Austin, TX, United States 03-11-12
    Jim In Texas! Austin, TX, United States 03-11-12 Member Since 2009

    I'm just a big kid.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Despite flaws, I couldn't stop listening!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Pandora's Star to be better than the print version?

    I've now listened to Pandora's Star, Judas Unchained, and the full Void Trilogy. In fact, I'm now listening to Pandora's Star a second time.

    These books form a terrific epic story arc with a huge ensemble cast. The best parts are the 'hard sci-fi' portions of the books. Wormholes, FTL ships, the nice alien addicted to human memory recordings, the mysterious 'High Angel', evil alien hordes, space battles, bring them on! These elements are the best part of the book and represent about a third of the content.

    Hamilton does a wonderful job of setting up this 'Commonwealth' human society in which people live for hundreds of years on their choice of any of the hundreds of human colonized worlds. There is almost no war, and there is no military at all, just a police force who chases around a small group of fanatic, but interesting terrorists.

    The relentless unstoppable detective Paula, explicitly compared to Sherlock Holmes is an interesting character with a large part. Her 'Moriarty', a someone tired and jaded terrorist named Adam was also well developed. You just know the two will get together at some point.

    Just when the Commonwealth is really fat, dumb, and happy along comes 'the Prime', who are not the least bit interested in holding hands and singing Kumbaya with humans. Not only do they make HG Well's martians seem like slightly disturbed teenagers, the Prime are terrible litterbugs. Who like to nuke things. Lots of things.

    For me the time the character 'Ozzy' spent wandering through 'the Slvian paths' was less interesting, at least until we finally get to meet the 'adult' Slvians anyway.

    If you liked Seven-of-Nine you'll find a lot to like in these books, because there are many nymphomaniac beautiful women running around the Galaxy who just can't get enough sex.

    In fact, the sex scenes are kind of interesting the first time, but after a while they get kind of tiresome. I use the Audible Android player, which does have 30 second back button, but not a 30 second skip forward button. I wish it did so I could skip some of the entirely predictable sex scenes.

    These characters are all potty mouths, take that into consideration if you listen with kids around. The 'F' word is used frequently.

    Hamilton uses a lot of abbreviations, and he only spells them out once. Pay attention! I understand the dead tree editions have an appendix but of course we don't get that with the audio version.

    Some of the most important abbreviations in Pandora's Star are:

    CST - 'Compressed Space Transport': The giant corporation that owns and controls the wormhold technology that humans use to move instantly all over their part of the galaxy.

    RI - 'Restricted Intelligence' - Pretty much every physical object (and every person) has a computer in it, most of the time these embedded computers are 'RI's, which have some firewalls in them to keep them from becoming sentient.

    SI - 'Sentient Intelligence' - A computer that occupies an entire planet, and is sentient. It's like 9000 HAL 9000s. Only nicer.

    'Enzyme Bonded Concrete' - OK, not an abbreviation, but get used to it. Everything in the Commonwealth is made of this.

    Your iPhone is called an 'Array' in the Commonwealth.

    I think the narrator does a good job, he's not quiet up to Patrick Tull's level, but given the huge cast he's not bad at all. He does American accents pretty well.

    As many have observed, this book could be edited down about 10-20% with no real loss of reader enjoyment.

    I started listening to Pandora's star a second time because I used my monthly credit on a book that didn't really pan out.

    I'm hooked again. Despite the flaws, it's just a great story with some fascinating characters. In fact, I think I enjoy it more the second time because I'm less confused by the subplots and the huge cast.

    Yesterday I listened to the part where the pathetic humans go out to the Prime solar system, which some unknown entity has encased in solid opaque force field. They realize that somebody went to a lot of trouble to enclose this whole solar system. Maybe, just maybe, the unknown entity did this for a reason. Or maybe the force field just cuts us off from a race of big, fluffy, happy bunnies.

    Being humans, our heroes start messing around with this force field. What could go wrong?

    They find what they think is the main control room of the darn thing, and then start poking and prodding it, pushing buttons and throwing switches just to see what might happen. I'm screaming 'DON'T TOUCH THAT KNOB!!!!!!!!!!!!'. But sadly, they do touch that knob with disastrous results.

    Of course, right at that point there is a cut to the detective solving a murder or the 500 year old hippie genius (eerily similar to Steve Jobs) is trying to find himself.

    But just when you want to give up we're back in space and in the world of hard sci-fi.

    I really like this book!


    What other book might you compare Pandora's Star to and why?

    The Foundation Trilogy, which is of course the Mother of All Epic Space Sagas.


    What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I think he gives excellent voices to the many, many characters. This adds to the story.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The second time I listened, when the humans start futzing about with the 'barrier'. I of course knew that this was a bad idea, and I dreaded and was fascinated by the terrible consequences.


    Any additional comments?

    Much of the criticism of this book is justified, but the book is so good that it rises above these petty quibbles.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randall 03-09-12
    Randall 03-09-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    3
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    "At best...Tedious"
    What did you like best about Pandora's Star? What did you like least?

    What a long and tedious journey. Hamilton is nothing if not descriptive. One could say obsessive about details, but to the detriment of the flow of the story. Hamilton may be the only author whose description of metal rusting would take longer than the actual event.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    A difficult book to narrate. However the accents of the characters are either too similar or just simply silly.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Win Waterloo, SC, United States 03-09-12
    Win Waterloo, SC, United States 03-09-12 Member Since 2009

    Naturalist, firefighter, actor.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    "The Best Sci-Fi Space Opera This Century"

    No, really, it is. Im a pretty harsh critic of contemporary scifi novels. I miss Heinlein and Asimov and their like. But Peter Hamilton has shown me there is hope yet for the genre. Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained are big, loud, action-packed thrillers that don't skimp on the visionary science. These two novels have packed in pretty much everything that makes the genre great. John Lee's performance brings the huge number of characters into bright 3-D reality. I can't really think of anything negative to say about these books. Get em, you'll like em.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marijan Dublin, OH, United States 03-09-12
    Marijan Dublin, OH, United States 03-09-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    232
    3
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    "Horrible narration of sometimes long winded book"

    The book was a very difficult listen. Primarily due to horrible narration. Most of the time it was practically impossible to differentiate between various characters. Additionally, lack of pauses during narration made it difficult and confusing to follow the story.

    The story itself was adequate but often too long winded resulting in apparent lack of direction.

    Overall I cannot recommend this book, primarily due to horrible narration. Book would be a lot more bearable in print, for it would be possible to skim over long winded parts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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