Peter F Hamilton - The Reality Dysfunction

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002
I found the book to be over-written, badly structured, and mostly irrelevant.

The first four hundred pages were spent following - in depth - entirely peripheral characters.

Yes, Hamilton does write well, and he really is very good at writing character. Essentially I actually do think he's a excellent writer in terms of bringing a sense of belief to the majority of his content.

However, he cannot structure properly - most of what was present was completely redundant and was of little worth to the actual story. I simply wanted to rip a red pen through most of it, and considering the non-ending (it's essentially mid-chapter) then the whole trilogy looks like one single completely over-written novel.

If it had actually all been condensed into a single novel then I could perhaps have cared more for it. I did even care for some of the characters, and actually wanted to know what happened to some of the characters.

But I noticed his use of plot wasn't very accomplished either - essentially he's got so many characters plodding about the place that there's never real opportunity for the story to actually shape into a specific tangible direction. Things happen because time moves forward, rather than the actual story moves forward.

When the actual "unleashing" occurs on the colony world I actually threw the book down in disgust. It was pathetic cliche. I only read on in the hope that he was trying to associate with Biblical imagery, which is powerful stuff in skilled hands. Unfortunately, I don't think he knew what to do with it. The clues are there...yet the more I read the less it seemed that Hamilton actually knew how to handle symbolism.

And the attempt to rescue the reporter was so unbelievably forced as a plot element.

Overall - here is a talented writer who can make SF seem real. So it's very disappointing to see that he wastes so much time focussing on entirely peripheral characters. Not only does this mean he fails to develop key characters, but also means that he fails repeatedly to build secure plot.

If you want to see a possible future that seems real - and is entirely immersive - then perhaps this is something for you.

But I would have preferred something structured much more tightly and actually focussed on plot.

The ego-fantasy was annoying as well.
I read the four book and just count get into book 2

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