Wednesday 5 September 2012

Manhattan In Reverse - Peter F. Hamilton

I'm not going to write much of a blurb for this one. Simply because I find it difficult to write a blurb for short stories that are mostly unrelated to each other. If you have read his Commonwealth Saga then you will recognise one of his characters from that series in a few of these stories. Paula Mayo is the best detective in history because she has been designed to be thanks to the hive. She has been asked to look into terrorist attacks on one of the dynasty families. In the second story she is having to redeem herself and has been sent to a newly settled world to discover why seemingly docile animals have begun attacking the settlers.

Those are only two of the stories but they all have a similar theme. Most of them are detective stories and they all have Hamilton's signature technology. The Mayo stories stood out for me though because I liked her character back when I read the Commonwealth Saga. It was nice to see her getting her own story and I actually would have liked more. A strong female character who is determined that justice will always prevail. She always gets the bad guy.

One of my favourite stories in the collection though was the first one. A boy from a ruling family is murdered. One of the family who has been charged with discovering the murderer spends a few centuries doing so. The murder investigation itself was interesting although I had guessed from the start who the murderer was (just not he reasons and there is absolutely no hint as to why until it is revealed by the investigator). What I loved about this story was that it was set in a completely different universe to all the others. In this one the Roman Empire didn't leave Britain. It just changed hands a few times. It story begins around the late 1800's and it's interesting to see that technology has developed a lot quicker. Later I enjoyed the differences and the parts which paralleled our own history and technological advancement. It was these little bits of detail that made the story for me.

I'm not sure if it's worth reading if you haven't read any by Hamilton before. I would probably recommend his Greg Mandel trilogy first. Their his first books and whilst a little different to his later books they do give a taste of his later series. Plus they aren't as bulky as some of his others.

I was looking forward to these stories though when I first saw they were being released as a collection and I wasn't disappointed. Hamilton claims that he is unable to write anything short and this is probably true with only one story coming in at a few pages. However, that didn't bother me in the slightest. Last month after reading Reynolds I was down on the whole space opera genre but this has renewed my interest in it. Which is why I have chosen another book by Hamilton for this months Sci Fi read.

I read this as part of the sci fi challenge hosted by Ellie of Curiosity Killed the Bookworm. I am a little late in posting this review but if you want to see what others read in August you can do so here. Septembers book is Earth Girl by Janet Edwards but as I mentioned I have went with another Hamilton.

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