The Space Opera Renaissance: Peter F. Hamilton

Untitled 2.jpg I’ve always been intimidated by Peter F. Hamilton. The reason for that is one of those inconsistencies of character that I cannot really explain. His books are just too big.

I regularly read fantasy novels that are over a thousand pages and enjoy them. In fact I feel cheated – in many cases – if my fantasy is shorter than five hundred pages long. For some reason I feel just the opposite about science fiction. If it’s longer than five hundred pages I get scared of reading it and shy away.

Peter F. Hamilton writes thousand page science fiction books that are so complex that – much like a fantasy author – he was forced to produce an encyclopedia for one of his trilogies. His books are bestsellers in the UK and, when they make it to the new world, they sell just as well here.

As far as I can tell he’s never done anything except write – his first book was published when he was only twenty-seven years old – and that’s what he continues to do.

“Escape Route” contains all the space opera tropes that I love, without sounding repetitive or cliché – which is not as easy as it sounds… and it doesn’t sound very easy. There are treasure hunters and ancient alien derelicts. There is exploration and action and time travel and wormholes – this is a lot less Star Trek than it sounds. The whole thing is wrapped up in brilliant dialogue and exciting prose that pulls the story along from one page to the next.

I’ve enjoyed a fair number of these stories but so far only three of the authors have inspired me to seek out other works of theirs. Peter F. Hamilton is number three. His strength at story telling and the casual way in which he introduces the reader to the universe are all perfectly orchestrated.


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