AD 3580. The Intersolar Commonwealth has spread through the galaxy to over a thousand star systems. It is a culture of rich diversity with a place for everyone. Even death itself has been overcome. But at the centre of the Commonwealth is a massive black hole. This Void is not a natural artefact. Inside there is a strange universe where the laws of physics are very different to those we know. It is slowly consuming the other stars of the galactic core - one day it will devour the entire galaxy.
Inigo, a human, has started to dream of a wonderful existence in the Void. He has a following of millions of believers and they now clamour to make a pilgrimage into the Void to live the life they have been shown. Other starfaring species fear their migration will cause the Void to expand again. They are prepared to stop them no matter what the cost.
And so the pilgrimage begins....
©2008 Peter F. Hamilton; (P)2008 Macmillan Digital Audio
Hammilton does again. Creating a truely manificient Si-Fi future, with a magnitude of ideas and technology I for one have not come across before. The plot unwinds slowly - this book alone is over around a 1000 pages and the story continues in the newly released follow-up. But that does not make Hammilton a slow writer - the story is facinating and captivating all the way through.
Reades migh be confused by the sheer number of characters and parallel plotlines, as well as the little trick of inserting a series of dreams essential to the plot inbetween the normal chapters. But rest assured knowning that Hammilton is the man to bring it all together to create that perfect picture in the end (the eventual end, that is).
It might be recommended that you start with Pandoras Star followed by Judas Unchained, since a few characters reapper (and that series is now completed). Not essential though, as the timeline has progressed 1200 years, and the plot is all new.
Hammilton is a must-read for Si-Fi fans, but be warned: Like me, you might not be able to turn it off. Beam me up.
Toby Longworth's narration places this audiobook at the pinnacle of dozens I've heard from Audible. His pacing and voice acting is effective and diverse, and brings the book to life. The Dreaming Void itself is pure space opera, and really enjoyable. My previous exposure to Hamilton was via the Night's Dawn trilogy, which spun off into left field with its mystical/afterlife/religious overtones. I'm very glad to report that with a mix of post-singularity galactic society and very human politicking this one feels a lot more like Ian M Banks' style, particulary when the measured pacing explodes into the microsecond scale and violent energy of high technology combat. Great space opera, but the clincher for this audiobook is unsurpassed commitment and acting by the narrator.
OK I found the start of this book a little confusing, the narrative flits around like a butterfly from plotline to plotline without fully explaining who the characters are, but you get the hang of it eventually.
And then... Just when I was really getting into the book, it ended. It didnt really end with a satisfactory conclusion, or even a cliffhanger to have you wanting a sequel, it just stopped. It's as if the author was told by the publisher to hurry up and finish it. Well I for one am hoping there is a sequel. But I can only give it 3 stars because of it's ending.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
"Justine Burnelli examined her body closely before she put it on. After all, it had been over two centuries since she'd last worn it." So goes life in the middle of the 34th century in Peter F. Hamilton's The Dreaming Void (2007), the first book in his Void Trilogy. Justine usually lives as a downloaded consciousness in the ANA (Advanced Neural Activity) virtual universe, but she's been called upon to don her body (with all its limitations) because ANA:Governance needs physical representatives to deal with the many still physical humans and aliens during a galactic crisis. The Pilgrimage--an armada of ultra-drive starships packed with Living Dream adherents--is preparing to embark for the Void, a mysterious, unimaginably old anomaly. If the Pilgrimage enters the Void, it will either attain paradise or cause the end of the galaxy. Which outcome is more likely or desirable depends on how you envision the peak of human evolution: for Highers (like Justine) it's post-physical life in a collective computer consciousness; for Advancers it's to ever genetically enhance their bodies; for Multiple Humans it's to put their minds into dozens of artificially grown bodies; and for Normals it's to live as naturally as possible. Each of these sub-cultures belongs (at least nominally) to the Greater Commonwealth spread over numerous human worlds.
The situation is complicated by the fact that the Highers are divided into myriad factions, from those out to eliminate all other forms of humanity to those trying to maintain the status quo, and by the presence of many technologically advanced alien species with worlds of their own. Its event horizon and tendency to eat everything around it make the Void resemble a black hole, but it's probably an artifact created by a long vanished alien civilization. Although alien cultures (joined a few centuries ago by humanity) have been studying the Void for millennia, none have been able to plumb its mystery, and only relatively recently could anyone make contact with it: a human called Inigo apparently flew a starship into the Void, dreaming dreams therein that were shared by millions, and then flew out, thereby founding a new religion called Living Dream.
Hamilton's novel, then, concerns the efforts of Living Dream to prepare and launch their Pilgrimage and of other human and alien cultures and factions to prevent them from doing so. Hamilton depicts the points of view of many different humans: Aaron, the mind-wiped, combat "biononics" and battle software equipped super agent seeking the vanished Inigo; Ethan, the new Conservator of Living Dream maneuvering to get the Pilgrimage underway no matter what; Araminta, the black sheep trying to earn enough money to buy a flat to renovate and sell to make her fortune; Troblum, the socially challenged Higher physicist savant pursuing his obessession with the legendary heroes of the old Starflyer War; and more.
Hamilton has fun with future tech and humanity. Space travel via hyperspace, wormholes, starships, and ultradrives. Connectivity via the unisphere, an interstellar internet you access via your u-shadow (avatar-interface). Telepathic shared dreams and emotions etc. via the gaiafield. Nifty weaponry: battle software, energy fields, jelly guns, distortion pulses, nerve janglers, quantum busters, Hawking m-sinks, etc. People are virtually immortal via biononics, genetic enhancements, clones, memory cells, and "re-life." And multiple humans, solido projections, sense-enhancing drugs, and sex focusing software, etc., lead to orgy scenes that actually play a role in the plot by permitting some characters to enter a dream state that may access the Void.
Into his plot Hamilton interweaves a series of Inigo's dreams that may take place in the Void on a planet colonized by humans who use psychic abilities ("farsight," "longtalk," and "the third hand") rather than technology to do things like genetically modify animals. The protagonist of the dreams is Edeard, who begins as a teenaged apprentice in the Egg Shapers guild in a boondocks village and tries to hide his superior psychic powers. These chapters feel at least as "real" and involving as the main story.
Audiobook reader Toby Longworth enhances the novel, giving most of the characters appropriate unique voices: an impersonal u-shadow, a booming machine-translated alien, a coarse NYC-esque black market dealer, a rugged Texan-esque rancher, a sophisticated British-esque villain, and so on. At times he might try too hard, as with the African American-esque voice he gives Oscar Monroe (whom I think the text doesn't say is black).
The Dreaming Void does what the best sf does: entertainingly use the future and advanced technology to examine religion, politics, economics, sex, the body, life, death, and so on, stretching humanity into interesting places that make us reflect on how we live now and how we want to live tomorrow. And the book evokes the sense of wonder with time, distance, and technology. It defamiliarizes the normal: "He smiled down on it the way a Natural man would regard his newborn child." And familiarizes the strange: "Exoimages and mental icons unfolded from neutral status to standby in his peripheral vision, lines of shifting iridescence bracketing his natural sight…. All standard stuff." It is a witty novel, with clever references to things like Barsoom, RAH, and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
But I was disappointed that the ending leaves multiple unresolved story strands, including cliffhangers. I wished that Hamilton had brought things to more of a temporary closure plateau at the end of his trilogy's first novel. It made me value all the more Iain M. Banks' Culture novels, each of which is completely self-contained. Readers who like intelligent space opera would like this novel, but should only dip in if willing to read a long trilogy.
The narrator was relay good and the tempo of the book was nice.
The entagelment of the stories.
His carracters voices and a personal feel on the book.
No it is way to long for that.
A really good story, very well narrated, interesting characters, excellent plots, came together well, plots believably intertwined.
Pandora's Star (Trilogy) same writer and should be listened to in advance of the Dreaming Void. Both the Pandora's Star & Dreaming Void triologies are brilliantly written and delivered.
Wasn't sure at the start as I prefer John Lee, but actually really enjoyed the book/listen overall and would listen to a narration by him again.
Would make me buy more Peter Hamilton.
The Dreaming Void starts off slowly for the first hour or two and I nearly turned it off and deleted it. That would have been a really big mistake. It sets the scene, albeit slowly, for the rest of the book, which is a really good and enjoyable listen. By the end of the two trilogies you really miss the characters, and the stories, and want the whole thing to keep going.
To be honest, I don't usually like far future, all over the galaxy and many races kind of sci-fi. However this one is imaginative enough without too many cliches. Story lines start out loose but nicely merge eventually and the world seems well thought through.
If I compare it with Hyperion, I enjoyed this one more.
I'm definitely going for the second book.
It would be probably even better if I read the previous books of Hammilton, as he often refers back to the events of the Commonwealth saga. It is not necessary however.
Also some characters are difficult to understand due to their extreme accent, but those are allways minor characters, so it never hurts the story.
I enjoyed the writing and the narration
The Commonwealth Saga (Pandoras Star & Judas Unchained) which should, but doesn't have to be read first
This book is the first of a trilogy, and sets the stage for a master science fiction work.
The book describes two universes, one, where physics laws work quite differently to ours (telekinesis and telepathy are natural), and another where a futuristic conglomerate of planets and races whirl around this first universe. The plot is multilinear, we follow from the beginning various characters whose stories slowly integrate.
I enjoyed it a lot, the reading is of excellent quality, and the plot quickly immersing. I look forward for the second volume (the temporal void), if I can wait for the audio version...
A must for science fiction readers.
"Listen to this"
Do not read this book - listen to Toby Longworth, it is a great performance.
All I wish - is for the rest of the story to be published. Also I would have liked to be informed about the fact that this is part of a series which goes like this:
1. Pandora's Star (2004) Commonwealth Series #1
2. Judas Unchained (2005) Commonwealth Series #2
3. The Dreaming Void (2008) Void Trilogy #1
4. The Temporal Void (to be published in march 2009) Void Trilogy #2
Audible have published book two, Judas Unchained, but not the first. Why in the universe would they do that? I like the whole story - unabridged please.
Audible - are you listening?
Never really came to care about any of the (very large ensemble of) characters. Edeard was an engaging character, but even he was predictable. The rest was just ... very long and listening to cardboard-cutout schoolboy-fantasy sex scenes on audiobook was cringe-inducing.
That said, Toby Longworth's narrration was very, very good. There's a huge cast in this book and he manages to come up with a unique, believable voice for each one. He has an amazing repertoire of accents. I'll happily listen to his work again.
Peter F Hamilton just gets better and better, this is his first Commonwealth series book available on Audible. It basicaly contains two seperate books, a hard sci-fi book with lots of knowing winks to his previous Starflyer books and a medieval style fantasy tale, although of course somewhere down the line they will connect.
The charcters are excellenty drawn, and the plot is tight yet expansive. I particularly like the details he adds in some of the sub plots that makes the book come alive. Thoroughly recommended and cant wait for the next book (this being the first of a trilogy)
While Toby Longworth is a good narrator and shone in the mindstar series he rather disrupts the congruent flow of this series with his interpretation of character voices, especially Paula Myo, set by John Lee in the commonwealth prequel. The narration returns to John Lee in the subsequent book where even the pronunciation of key character names are changed. Don't the narrators and author talk to each other??
"Great book but not concluded"
I really enjoyed this book. Well written and space opera at its best. Be warned the story doesn't conclude in this book. Twenty one hours in and your left at a cliff hanger. Now audible needs the next one!!
"A bit of a let down"
No where near as good as Judas unchained. Far to slow to get going for my liking.
Yes. I have already listened to Judas Unchained and found it excellent and would highly recommend that title.
"'Read' them in order"
Follows on in a universe and using characters created in Pandoras Star and Judas Unchained. Epic stuff!
Toby is ok but John read the first two and the next two after this. I would have preferred him there for the entire series. Oliver Monroe may have been from Tennessee but John didn't read it that way and to suddenly have to deal with a character that had apparently acquired the accent of a lesser educated individual from a cotton picking region was strange. Likewise with Paula Myo.
Kudos to Peter F. The story is great!
"This audio book got me interested in audio books!"
I read the hardback of this novel last year and quite liked it and when I saw the audio book on Amazon I bought it to listen to in the car on the way to work and back. Superb! Absolutly superb. Toby Longworth adds a new dimension to the book, a different voice for each character and a lovely measured tone for the descriptions. I actually prefer it to the hardback and have now downloaded Iain Banks' Matter (from audible.co.uk) as it is also read by Toby Longworth.
As another reviewer said, this novel is part one in a series (book two is out October 2008) and blends space opera with a fantasy tale. It works too.
"Is that it...?"
This was a long book and had a number of stories running through it. It never seemed as though the stories were related but at the end you 'kind of' recognise a bit of inter-relation. I listen while travelling/commuting etc so occasionally miss a snippet here or there, however, usually i manage to follow most novels pretty well.
This one left me feeling as though a number of the story lines just ended. Thery weren't obviously tied into a central theme and just seemed to stop as though the author got bored, i know i was!
The enjoyable story line was about a guy called Edhard (sic) and it was complete but left me wanting to know more about him.
On the whole quite disappointing really.
Having listened to a good few hundred Audio books, I would have to say this series is without any doubt the best of all I have heard, I was so glad to step back into this universe and find some of the great characters from the fist series of books still around. The narration, characters, writing and plot are all superb, utterly addictive listening and each book is so luxuriously long! I listened to the full Dune series and I really thought I would struggle to find something that good again, I was wrong, this series is easily that good. Only very slight issue is the change of narrator for this book, then back to original narrator for second (or fifth - depending on where you start). Both are excellent but obviously it would have been nice for continuity to have just used the same narrator for the full series, overall not a major issue as I am happy to have either one read me this fantastic series of books.
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