Peter F. Hamilton (born 2 March 1960) is a British science fiction author. He is best known for writing space opera. As of the publication of his tenth novel in 2004, his works had sold over two million copies worldwide.
Peter F. Hamilton was born in Rutland, England on 2 March 1960. He didn't attend university. He said in an interview, "I did science at school up to age eighteen, I stopped doing English, English literature, writing at sixteen, I just wasn't interested in those days."
After he started writing in 1987 he sold his first short story to Fear magazine in 1988. His first novel, Mindstar Rising, was published in 1993, followed by A Quantum Murder and The Nano Flower. After this he wrote a massive space opera, called The Night's Dawn Trilogy. His latest work is The Evolutionary Void. As of 2008 he still lives in Rutland, near Rutland Water, with his wife Kate, daughter Sophie, and son Felix.
Peter F. Hamilton generally uses a clean, prosaic style. His space opera is characterised by the way it switches between several characters...often there are three or more main characters, whose paths begin separated but eventually cross. Common themes in his books are sexually precocious teenagers, politics, religion, and armed conflict.
Critically, Hamilton is often grouped with Alastair Reynolds, Stephen Baxter, Ken MacLeod, and other writers of new space opera in the United Kingdom.
Hamilton first came to prominence in the mid-1990s with three novels featuring the psychic detective Greg Mandel. Set in a near-future Britain which has been run into the ground by global warming and a communist government, the books describe a society beginning to rebuild itself through the production of advanced technology. The books are a blend of lively scientific, political and social speculation mixed with elements of detective fiction. The books, and Hamilton himself, took some amount of criticism in British science fiction literary circles for his less than positive portrayal of an authoritarian left-wing British government.
Hamilton stated in SFX Magazine that he chose this route for his books in order to make people think and challenge their preconceptions, stating that it would be too easy to make the bad ex-government a fascist one.
The Night's Dawn Trilogy (1996—1999)
After the Greg Mandel novels, Hamilton wrote a space opera in three volumes, known collectively as The Night's Dawn Trilogy. The three books are each well over a thousand pages long and are not standalone novels. The trilogy is set in a universe with a wealth of worlds and artificial orbiting colonies. The plot is centered on the souls of the dead coming back from a hellish "beyond" to possess the living, and the latter fighting back. It was followed by a companion to the series, The Confederation Handbook, an informational book containing data about the universe of the Night's Dawn trilogy. Hamilton re-set several earlier short stories in the Confederation timeline, published as the collection A Second Chance at Eden, including the newly written title novella.
Fallen Dragon (2001)
His next full length novel, Fallen Dragon, is in many ways a condensation of the ideas and styles (and even characters) of the Night's Dawn trilogy, if rather darker in tone. The stand-alone book describes a bleak corporatist society dominated by five mega-corporations which wield almost unlimited power. It describes the troubled military campaign by one of these companies to "realise assets" from a minor colony, through the eyes of a veteran mercenary. One of the more interesting aspects of the book was its unconventional description of a spacefaring society which had not been able to develop an affordable method of interstellar travel, and where mankind does not easily adjust to zero gravity/free-fall conditions.
Misspent Youth / Commonwealth Saga (2002—2005)
Misspent Youth is much shorter than either the Night's Dawn novels or Fallen Dragon, and again depicts a near-future version of Britain (but different from that in the Greg Mandel trilogy). It combines a rejuvenation theme with a growing preoccupation with the phenomenon of European integration from the Eurosceptic point of view. This was his least well received book critically, perhaps because it was Hamilton's first attempt at an in-depth character study or perhaps because much of the book was taken up with descriptions of sex which did not allow many of the characters (the women in particular) to be developed. In addition, most of the protagonists had severe character flaws which added a more uncomfortable tone to the novel than much of his other work. The author Graham Joyce has a cameo part in the book.
Misspent Youth is placed in the same universe as the Commonwealth Saga, though it is not integral to the storyline of those novels. Much of the technology used in those novels (rejuvenation and low cost/high capacity memory storage) is established within this book.
The Commonwealth Saga is published in two halves, Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained. Set approximately 300 years later in the same universe as Misspent Youth, it explores the social effects of the almost complete elimination of the experience of death following widespread use of the rejuvenation technique described in Misspent Youth. In somewhat similar style to Night's Dawn, Hamilton also outlines, in detail, a universe with a small number of distinct alien species interacting essentially peacefully and who suddenly become faced with an increasingly ominous external threat.
Void Trilogy (2007—2010)
Set in the same universe as the Commonwealth Saga, the Void Trilogy is set 1200 years after the end of Judas Unchained. Announced in August 2005, it has been revealed that the contract calls for the series to be completed by 2011. The release date for the first book, The Dreaming Void, was 3 August 2007. A time line that links the Commonwealth Saga with the Void Trilogy, filling in the 1200-year gap, has been written by Hamilton.
The second book in the trilogy, The Temporal Void, was released in 2008. The third book in the trilogy is titled The Evolutionary Void, and was published in August 2010.
The Reality Dysfunction (1996, published in two volumes in the U.S.: Emergence and Expansion), ISBN 0-330-34032-8
The Neutronium Alchemist (1997, published in two volumes in the U.S.: Consolidation and Conflict), ISBN 0-330-35143-5
The Naked God (1999, published in two volumes in paperback in the U.S.: Flight and Faith; the US hardback was one volume), ISBN 0-330-35145-1
Others in the Confederation Universe
A Second Chance at Eden (1998, collection of short stories set in the Confederation universe), ISBN 0-330-35182-6
The Confederation Handbook (2000, a guide in non-fiction style to the universe of the Night's Dawn trilogy), ISBN 0-330-39614-5
Misspent Youth (2002), ISBN 0-330-48022-7
The Commonwealth Saga
Pandora's Star (2004), ISBN 0-330-49331-0
Judas Unchained (2005), ISBN 0-330-49353-1
The Void Trilogy
The Dreaming Void (2007), ISBN 9781405088800
The Temporal Void (2008), ISBN 9781405088831
The Evolutionary Void (2010), ISBN 9780345496577
Fallen Dragon (2001), ISBN 0-330-48006-5
"Falling Stones" (1992)
"Spare Capacity" (1993)
"Adam's Gene" (1993)
"Starlight Dreamer" (1994)
"Eat Reecebread" with Graham Joyce (1994, published in Interzone)
"The White Stuff" with Graham Joyce (1997)
Watching Trees Grow (2000, novella originally published as a limited signed edition by PS Publishing; later anthologised in Futures; then published in a mass market paperback edition), ISBN 0-575-07305-5
The Suspect Genome (1993, novella featuring Mandel published in Interzone)
2008: Master of his Universe, The Guardian, September 24, 2008
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