After my last experience with a Hamilton story (Wasted Youth, which I wrote about in August), you might think I would have been put off. Truth is, and as I said when I wrote about that one, I’ve read other of his novels and found them to be entertaining and well written, so when I was confronted with this phonebook sized volume in a display at Borders, I kind of had to go for it.
With The Dreaming Void, the first in a trilogy, Hamilton returns to his familiar Commonwealth universe – where although set another thousand or so years further on many of the same characters are still active.
The titular Void is a vast (seemingly) impenetrable region of space at the heart of the galaxy, and indeed is also the heart of the story. Humanity has spread far and wide, and features several distinct factions, one of which, known as The Living Dream, wants to fly into the void. The others reckon this will either kill them, or possibly kill everyone. (The Void, you see, is slowly devouring the galaxy, with a rapid expansion expected if .) Some of the Commonwealth’s alien buddies are pretty unhappy at the prospect of our shared galaxy being consumed, and start getting a bit hot under the collar. Hilarity ensues. (Well, it starts to, nothing really comes to a head in the first book.)
Though set on a galactic scale, most of the story focuses on just a few men and women, and their heavily armed, destructive, and highly entertaining. Most of them are out in the Commonwealth, and acting against each other on behalf of the major factions (Highers and Advancers), but one is -apparently at least – inside the void.
You may recall that one of my biggest complaints about Misspent Youth was all of the sex, there’s even more of it here. Hamilton is completely (perhaps pathologically) obsessed with group sex. He really needs to get some, so he can just get the fuck over it. At best, it’s distracting from the interesting stuff. (Seriously, this sort of thing is only exciting for teenage boys.)
Aside from the sordid carrying on, this is a fine piece of work, and should prove highly satisfactory for anyone who likes a good science fiction saga. So if you can ignore that (or if you like it) I highly recommend this as a good long read.