Tag Archives: Peter Hamilton

Comets and Book Clubs

IMG_9503We are landing on a comet tonight! This is a momentous event. After ten years of chasing, using gravity assist, the Philae Lander, a robotic spacecraft, will catch up to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, or 67P, and anchor itself there for hopefully a year long ride.

The Rosetta project, led by the European Space Agency with contributions from NASA and others, will be studying this comet in order to better understand the composition of comets, thought to bring water to primitive Earth, and possibly life itself. Eventually it will be within 180 million km of the sun and expelling water and gases because of intense heat.New Image of Comet ISON

Find more at: CNN.com: Rosetta Landing or www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta

This is the ESA’s official website, where you can find the latest news, images and animations on the spacecraft and its lander .

touching-crystal-thumb-1Why does this intrigue me? My sixth novel, Touching Crystal deals with the impact of a comet against Alysia’s moon, Thanos, and the resulting consequences to my world of Alysia.

Science will now explain what was once mystical, a harbinger or omen for humans. Although it took ten years to get close enough to land, the idea that we can interface with a moving comet offers hope that we may be able to divert any future threats to Earth from this type of cosmic threat.

Although, we certainly didn’t see the meteor that crashed into Russia last year and took us by surprise. We were too busy staring at a passing asteroid.

NeuromancerI am currently reading Snow Crash, as it is a selection of my Powell’s Book Club and we meet tonight. It is a Hugo winner classic from 1992 and is very different. Think William Gibson and his Hugo winning book, Neuromancer, which created the sub genre of Cyber-punk in the early 1990s and you have an idea of the story.Snow Crash

The Powell’s book club is a rowdy group of fifteen to twenty-five or so science fiction and fantasy enthusiasts who have been meeting for over ten years at the world famous bookstore of Powell’s in Beaverton. They are awesomely intelligent about science fiction and not shy about offering opinions.

Makes for lively discussions, so I need to be prepared.

Abyss Beyond DreamsI also plan on reading The Abyss Beyond Dreams by Peter Hamilton, and will report on that new offering in the next week or two.

someones_clone_front-cover_v2_finalBut first, I have my proof for Someone’s Clone in my hot hands and expect a November 20 publication date. Until then, I’ll be working feverishly to put the final touches on it and conquer the format and download monster.

Check out Amazon for this exciting new adventure, one of my best to date. A murder, a mystery, time travel, romance, aliens…this one has it all…so stay tuned.


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A Science Fiction Murder Mystery

IMG_0174If an author writes more than two books, most likely he/she is hoping that you’ll like one and move on to read the others. Often readers choose a book because they’re familiar with the author and want to read other works by that author.

That’s my cunning plan, anyway.

That’s often how I choose what to read.

Readers often start  a new author because a friend recommends them. In my case it was a neighbor. My next door neighbor is a highly intelligent avid scifi reader, so I asked him what he liked. He introduced me to Peter Hamilton.

Whoa Nelly!

Mind Star RisingI first read Mindstar Rising. Loved it! This is an early work when Hamilton wrote normal sized novels. I raced back and delved into Nano Flower and Quantum Murder. Awesome. Then I waded into his the Night’s Dawn Trilogy and liked it, but felt like I had over eaten at the banquet table. (three really large novels)The Neutronium Alchemist

So I digested for several years until Great North Road caught my eye. Here’s a stand  alone novel that involves a dynasty of clones and a murder mystery. Yea!

Great North RoadAngelo Tramelo is a one-in-ten, which means she looks like twenty, but is much older and has a life span in the hundreds. (my fantasy) She’s witness to a brutal mass slaying at the mansion of bioil powerhouse Bartram North, one of three surviving cloned brothers from which several generations of clones have sprung, creating a few edit errors along the way. Angelo is the sole survivor of this mass murder and in her defense, she claims that the murderer was an unknown alien.

Yeah right.

No one believes her and she’s off to jail. Twenty years later another North clone is murdered in the same manner…five whirling blades to the chest, and Angela is pulled out of prison to help solve the crime. By now the three brothers have established Northumberland Interstellar Corp. that funds gateway systems manufacture and opens gateways to worlds throughout the galaxy. Brother Augustine stays on Earth, brother Bartram heads to St. Libra to establish the algae paddies for a bioil conglomerate (and is murdered) and Constantine launches a Jupiter habitat.

So the story is rich in high tech gadgets, future medical and energy advances and galaxy spanning action.

Enter detective Sidney Hurst. He is given the case of the murdered North mystery clone.  Methodically he fights the city’s bureaucracy to try to solve a murder case that just keeps getting more and more complicated and weirder. He’s very much your stereotypic detective who plods along, but is smart and a great family man and you’re just rooting for him to succeed against ridiculous odds. He just won’t give up until the case is solved.

Hamilton does a nice job of balancing the clues so that the reader goes back and forth wondering if it’s a North Dynasty power struggle or a possible weird alien involvement, or maybe both.

I have noticed a number of science fiction murder mystery/detective style novels lately and I enjoy this sub genre. Katherine Rusch does a nice job with her Retrieval Series and Jon Courtenay Grimwood also with his Arabesk Series (Pashazade, Effendi and Felaheen). I really liked his Nine Tails Fox that had a detective solving his own murder after being downloaded into another body.


See earlier blogs for detailed reviews.Pashazade

Needless to say, I was up until 1:30 last night trying to finish Great North Road.

I liked the action that keeps ramping up as the story progresses. Unfortunately at 948 pages, Hamilton could have used a good editor to hone the story a bit. I would get a piece of action in the mystery and then, a flashback to a whole block of earlier events in a particular character’s life.

This time, however, the number of characters were manageable, except for the clones and that was helped by the fact that if the clone was a clone of Augustine, his name began with an ‘A’ . Bartram’s clones began with ‘B’ and Constantine with ‘C’. Of course, since they were all clones and looked alike, those labels were not always truthful. Shuffling around clones can get a bit confusing, especially if you can’t identify the victim exactly, much less discover a possible elusive alien murderer.

Needless to say, it’s a good story. The ending could have been pared back as Hamilton goes on and on after the action is done about what happens in the future. Nice to know, but it gets to be a bit much. Besides, by then, my eyes were blurry and needed  rest.

All in all, though, I highly recommend the novel and hope you enjoy it.

I am in the proofing stages for Space Song and expect the book to be published soon. Looking over the several books, I noticed that they each have a subgenre. Caught in Time is a time travel romance, A Dangerous Talent for Time is a  time travel with scavenger hunt/riddle, Cosmic Entanglement is a mystery at a Space Academy and Past the Event Horizon is a space adventure involving alien first contact. Space Song is a genetic mystery with an alien invasion threat. So, hopefully, one of them will strike your fancy.

If you like one, then tell your neighbor.

He or she might appreciate it.

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