The Abyss Beyond Dreams

Back into some glorious science fiction. Peter Hamilton caught my attention with his Commonwealth Saga, a wonderfully science based, character driven, galaxy spanning war epic. I ate it up.

The Abyss Beyond Dreams is smaller fare. But it’s better for it. Shrunk down in size, most of the action takes place within “The Void.” A place where technology fails, and where alien species vastly superior to humanity don’t dare to venture. But when a preacher on the outside starts receiving visions from within the void, our alien friends ask Nigel Sheldon (hero of the commonwealth) to go inside and figure out how to bring it down.

Suffice to say, if you haven’t read anything in the Commonwealth Saga, this novel is quite pointless. The amount of lore and technological mumbo jumbo will go right over your head because you should already know what that term means you plebe! Even though I read those books a little under two years ago, I found myself drowning under some of the language.

The book makes some serious time jumps as well. It made sense near the end (as an overall theme of the book: time manipulation) but at first it threw me for a wide loop. It’s hard to jump from the most technologically advanced person humanity has to offer, to a small town soldier. To be fair, the soldier and everyone on his planet has telekinesis.

The problem with the book is that, for everyone in actual danger, I didn’t care much for them. I enjoyed their story, but I didn’t really care for them. And for the people I did care about, they were clones or droids that could be re-lifed whenever. I appreciate the change in scenery and the addition and subtraction of “powers” (since at that techy level, they basically are), but the great set up of the Commonwealth was humanity had reached immortality essentially. And then an alien race started killing us all. Right now, Abyss doesn’t have the same stakes.

So, good novel. Great writing. But not accessible without reading other books. Approach if you like his other novels.

3 out of 4 stars.

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