I have such a difficult relationship with Peter F Hamilton, or rather his books. For a couple of years I have waddled through the Commonwealth Saga and Void and Fallers series, the books growing in size and page count, and there's always another book between me and the conclusion of the huge overarching story. The problem is that they are about 30% amazing visions and pure sense of wonder and thrill, and 70% boring detail of boring people's boring lives – even if the protagonists are living in an alternate universe with completely different laws of physics from our normal universe, which eats away the heart of our galaxy and threatens the survival of all life, the characters have internal life and motivations exactly the same as any person you'll meet on your way to the grocery store in the West in late 20th early 21st century. And every meal they eat and every chair they sit on and every piece of clothing they wear is described accurately and at length (I usually don't complain about that last item, but most of the time Hamilton's clothing descriptions are not relevant to world building, and also, everyone in the Commonwealth universe has terrible colour sense. They put together light green pants and rust colored shirts and some yellow hood, apparently just to sear my mental eye with the colour combination).

But when he's good, he's good. His aliens are superb. Morning Light Mountain is one of my favorite enemies of mankind ever invented. The High Angel is wonderful. In the book I'm reading right now, mysterious and dangerous Faller eggs which duplicate people tickle my imagination. And he has a sense of vast scale which I adore. It does feel like the galaxy is a big place. And time is long. The way the human society changes across millennia is well-thought out.

What I'd love to do is to take an axe and hack the books into tiny pieces, throw away more than half and then put the remains back together. There is a really really superbly wonderful compact trilogy trapped inside the massive library that is the Commonwealth and Void and Fallers series. I guess there's a real demand for near-endless scifi books, or he's paid by the word, but for the good of literature and humankind, his editor should have mercilessly snip snipped with some big editorial scissors.

Another thing that irks me is the recurring theme of promiscuous 19-year old girls. He really really has a soft spot for pretty teen chicks knowingly luring men with their luscious bodies and wicked smiles. It's all fully consensual, which is great, but it reeks of infantile wish fulfillment. I mean, sure it's OK to write your fantasies in your books every once in a while, but in every damn book! Several times! With the same choice of words every time! If I never again come across (perfectly ordinary) sex described as 'wicked', it would be just fine.


I've already read approximately million pages, so it feels like I'd be wasting effort if I quit now instead of reading another few hundred pages to conclude the saga. I know there's a name for this fallacy, yes. But I'm going to read the next one as well, and complain while I'm at it.