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
"The depth and clarity of the future Hamilton envisions is as complex and involving as they come." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)
If you're not already aware, there is a (necessary) sequel to this book, entitled Judas Unchained. If you're considering buying this book, be prepared to buy the next one too, less for unbounded excitement and more for a desire to complete the story arc. I'm not crazy about the narrator, but it gets the job done. I regularly lost track of who was saying which lines in a conversation, and I'm pretty sure the voice for a given character would change a bit from one conversation to the next. It felt like each conversation was made to have distinct voices for the duration, but the accents didn't necessarily follow the character to the next section of dialog. Narration aside, the book is very much "space opera". Absolutely do not expect fast-paced action. There is no piece of the storytelling that doesn't have at least a 15-minute backstory inserted somewhere along the way, although usually much longer than that. (5-part book, hint hint) The people you expect to be mere satellite characters are actually worthy of entire story arcs themselves, sometimes going through entire segments of their personal lives from years in the past for little other reason than to make it believable when they act a certain way later on. The author writes in an exploratory fashion... the writing is not concise and driven by fitting into X pages, but instead is a presentation of the lives of the characters, as they would act, even if it means little to the story at large. If you don't understand a friendly alien race, just wait and it'll come out eventually, however bad your anxiety attacks may be. The ending, although extremely thought-provoking of the entire story thus far, is really no ending at all, and the mysteries of the story are mostly presented by part 4, and left at that. There is some headway that can be made if you sit and scrunch up your forehead for the half hour after you finish the book, but some bits just can't be simply explained away in a rational fashion.
The narrator often starts sentences loud and finishes quiet. It is almost like he was slowly rocking back and forth in front of the microphone. I found it very difficult to find a comfortable volume level. Also, the recording sounds somewhat compressed, perhaps this was done to try and level out the narrators volume inconsistencies. I tried a higher quality audio format and it did not help.
What a really good book! I dont usually read science fiction but I brought it because it was on sale. I am on the second book now. My only problem with it is that the narrator does not pause when he is changing so I have had to repeatly go back and listen to find out what happened.
I gave up. This book has no heart. I can't find a hook. Not one character I can hold on to. I slogged through to the end of the first part and then ... I still didn't have a desire to read it. So, I skipped to the last part because everyone said that was the best part but still nothing. I wont read anymore of this book or it's sequel. Thank goodness I bought it on sale.
If you enjoying watching the endless political bickering with bits of corporate backstabbing and greed thrown in this is the book for you. There was very little sci-fi in what I listened to. I was unable to make it through the entire book, I found it incredibly boring. Maybe it gets better further in but I just can't listen to anymore.
I found the book to be imaginative and well written for the most part but I found the different story lines difficult to follow. There are several stories that are running simultaneously and the book transitions from one to another practically in mid sentence. The story lines tend to stop without a natural break point and pick up the next story some time removed from where it had previously stopped. I found myself backing up often to make sure that I had not missed something or that my attention had not lapsed in a transition. The stories do intersect (at least some do) with varying degrees of relevance to each other. In the end I had difficulty determining what the main story line was and found that almost all of the stories ended in mid air with no conclusion or resolution. It almost seemed as if Mr. Hamilton was writing this book so that he could write a sequel (book 2) and guarantee sales if you want to find out how all the story lines end. I don't mind that as long as I know in advance that this book is part of a series and I generally like this type (gallivanting through the galaxy (my term)) of Sci Fi but I am not sure I would listen to a book 2 with its multiple story lines to track and relate them to this book. Bob Phillips
I like the story, I like the narration.
However, the book just stops leaving you literally on the edge of an abyss.
The next book Judas Unchained picks up the story without any background or setup.
You cant read Judas Unchained without Pandora Star, in a normal series there is some rehash this has nothing.
It???s like the giant novel was cut in half with little regard for the reader.
I???m still reading Judas Unchained (the second half) but I hope it ends at a point that makes some sense.
The sex and profanity give a gritty edge to the book. IMHO the novel could not withstand the excision. If you prefer a G-rated version may I commend the fast forward button to you?
Very fun! Excellent scale/action/sci-fi! Hard science fiction (after the wormhole concept) with a strategic & political focus.
Only real downside is the editing, as is common in audio books. The editing essentially eliminates pauses between scene changes to the point where they are non-existent. I wish an audio book editor would read these reviews or perhaps Audible could point them out to an editor. I know I'm not the only one writing this in these reviews: When you read a physical book or watch a movie, and the viewpoint changes, there is either blank space in a book, or an audio/visual queue in the case of a movie. This is there to indicate to the reader/viewer that there has been a change in scene and allow them a second to mentally adjust to the new scene. In this audio book and many others, a scene change is at least as brief or more so than the pause after a normal sentence end. This tends to cause one to lose track of the story and sometime I have to rewind. Why not just give us a couple of seconds of dead air?
Dr. Chip - Former Military Officer - love Sci-Fi & Thrillers!
Epic! Instant Classic! So many layers and intricate interwoven levels. It hooked me from the beginning and I couldn't stop listening! Hamilton penned a Masterpiece!
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