The Reality Dysfunction

{4.5/5} “When their full size has been reached they slide up out of the water to range through the planetwide jungle. Gills adapt to breathe the harsh musky air, tentacle muscles strengthen to support the drooping limbs away from the water’s cosy buoyancy. And they eat, rummaging through the matted undergrowth with insistent horns to find the black, wizened nutlike nodes that have been lying there neglected since the storm. The nodes are made up of cells saturated with chemical memory tracers, memories containing information, the knowledge accumulated by the Ly-cilph race throughout time. They bring understanding, an instant leap to sentience, and trigger the telepathic centre of their brains. Now they have risen above a simple animal level of existence they have much to converse about.”

In the 27th century humans are spreading throughout the galaxy. Starship captain Joshua Calvert gets the bright idea to buy mayope, a very hard wood, from Lalonde and trade it to people on Norfolk for some of their rare Norfolk Tears. Humans have been on Lalonde for years and more are coming all the time. Each new group builds a little town with farms around it. Then some people get taken over by something very dangerous — and something no one expects.

The Reality Dysfunction by Peter F. Hamilton was published in 1996. It’s the first book in the Night’s Dawn trilogy.

It’s in the neighbourhood of Alastair Reynolds and Iain M. Banks, with action taking place on starships and different planets. Most characters are human, but there are a couple of alien species in this universe.

For quite a while the chapters alternate between two different storylines but they eventually converge. The action proceeds to a dramatic finish. At the end of the book the story isn’t completely over but there is a conclusion to some events.

It’s different than anything else I’ve read, and thus worth reading.

Start this book when you have the time and brain power to focus on it. It’s 1000 pages long, and the first five chapters each introduce a new situation and characters. Each of them is interesting, though.

It took me longer than usual to read it because of its use of language. There are a fair number of technical terms and words that aren’t quite everyday words. If you’re a fast reader, go ahead and pick it up — if not, you might want to wait until you retire.

This is the first book by Hamilton I’ve read. Although I’m not going to continue with this series right now, I am interested in reading more of his work.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 at 8:30 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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