Monday, August 23, 2010

Progress Report: 8/23/2010

In terms of news, it's been a light week.

Okay, so I've been writing, I've been trying to get an agent, and that continues to go on. Until something breaks in the pattern, that doesn't qualify as news.

Er... so let's see. I'll do an author recommendation. Let's go with:

PETER F. HAMILTON

While I haven't read Peter Hamilton's full and impressive body of work, I've read enough to say that he's excellent. To date, I've read three books in his "Commonwealth" series, and I'm on the fourth.

The first of these books is Pandora's Star, and its opening chapter (the prologue) now ranks as one of my favorites. Without giving too much away, he starts with the first manned expedition to Mars in the near future. He sets the scene in a classic, Right Stuff sort of style, invoking all the pioneering spirit and pride that comes whenever you see a picture of Neil Armstrong stepping on the Moon. And then, when he's got you caught up in the momentous historic event, he throws in The Twist. Which sets the stage for the entire future universe he's created.

Sweetly done.

Hamilton has a very nice grasp on creating a plausible future world. The two main technologies that go into the creation of the human Commonwealth are a means of crossing vast distances very quickly (to enable space colonization) and cellular regeneration treatment (to enable long lifespans). The thought he puts into the culture that is built on these technologies is a big part of the fun. The Commonwealth comes across as a very plausible, scientifically-sound vision of the future.

Which makes it even more fun when he hits that next gear and we get humans-vs.-aliens interstellar war.

Contrast it, say, to the Star Wars series, which get labeled as science fiction by virtue of the fact that there are space ships and robots, but which is really fantasy. There's nothing particularly plausible about the technology or culture in the Star Wars movies. Hamilton's universe, on the other hand, is well-realized and quite convincing. It also makes you want to live there, which is a nice break from the dystopian futures that have become so popular in fiction.

And in terms of characters, voice, and plot, he's definitely got the skills.

But don't take my word for it! Smart author that he is, Peter Hamilton has sample chapters online. Go check out the prologue to Pandora's Star. If you like what you see, then you've got a lot of good reading ahead of you.

Enjoy!

2 comments:

Jeremy said...

I enjoyed the series, although there's a substantial rework of Dracula in it - especially in the last book.

Mike said...

It's been almost a solid year since you stopped your webcomic, and I still miss it. I read a fair number of webcomics, but there are precious few that I really feel anticipation or even excitement over. Thunderstruck constantly sent my mind to speculation over future events, and more than once set me to looking up information to know more about the sources that it was drawing on. The internet is the worse for its absence even a year later.

I hope that whatever you're working on turns out to be really great, because the hundred and fifty or so new strips that you might have put up by now are a high opportunity cost to beat.