Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Demon Trap by Peter F Hamilton

My second top notch sci-fi police procedural in a month.  What are the chances?

Peter F Hamilton is of course the author of this cumbersome colossus and this brobdingnagian breezeblock but perhaps this is just what the doctor ordered - a Peter F novella!

It's the same world as the Void trilogy, set presumably thousands of years earlier, but featuring one of the many, many characters from those books - Paula Myo.  She had some great action scenes in those books, and I knew she was a feared and respected badass, but finally I've got an idea why.

Paula's a genetically engineered supercop, hardwired to always serve justice.  In fact, she's technically illegal everywhere but her home world, known as Huxley's Haven (TH or Aldous is left deliberately unsaid.)  She's investigating a terrorist attack against the most important families (again, familiar names from the Void books) and of course not all is what it seems, but the nicely unfolding plot turns on fantastic sci-fi ideas.  I especially like the use of wormholes - a train which goes from Paris to London to Sydney to the Moon in just a few hours - then you can catch another train to other solar systems.

It reminded me of how many great concepts there were in his longer books, but how as a whole they became a bit indigestible.  Clearly novellas like this are the way to go first.  Ideally one featuring each of the two or three dozen main characers of his longer books.

This is part of a new collection he's got out called Manhattan in Reverse, and I got this on a cheap kindle download.  I was particularly intrigued by the sound of one of the other stories called Watching Trees Grow, about the Roman Empire in space.  Then I realised I read it years ago, and it's just being re-released.  It's damn good as well though, so this collection gets a double recommendation from me.


Anonymous said...

Sounds cool. I'm reading the Black Dahlia now. Lend me this if you still have it as it'd be a good follow up i think...

- bryce

Joe said...

kindle I'm afraid sucker. Never Let Me Go and Black Dahlia - that sounds like a pretty harrowing double bill. Probably best to follow up with some Calvin and Hobbes comics or something.