September 18, 2021

From Gerald R. Lucas

Progress covid-19: day 554 | US: GA | info | act

I finally finished Peter F. Hamilton’s first novel in his Commonwealth Saga, Pandora’s Star. It is a big book, and I agree with one reviewer that it could have used an editor in some parts, but I do admire Hamilton’s ability to pull together various narrative threads that I originally though would go nowhere or mean anything. I must admit that I did enjoy it—particularly the worldbuilding. Like the civilization in Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos, the multi-planet civilization is joined together by wormholes, making space travel as convenient as a train ride and keeping a commonwealth that spans hundreds of light years feel like local travel. It’s an intriguing idea. Other than the ability to spread out and live indefinitely through rejuvenations, the commonwealth is a lot like western civilization—starkly capitalist and hierarchical. Characters are pretty well developed, though some of them seem to lack the wisdom and control of a human that has been alive for centuries. I’m not too convinced by Hamilton’s women, really, but he does aliens well—especially the Prime. Still, I like it enough that I start the equally large second volume Judas Unchained.

I finally got to work on the actual writing of my article on Norman Mailer’s late short stories. I’ve made some progress, though it might be longer and slower-going than I’d anticipated. Still, it’s nice to have it started.