Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Great Science Fiction and Travel

Sean O'Reilly
Pandora's Star
by Peter Hamilton
7:16 AM PDT, September 6, 2006
I have been a fan and reader of science fiction for 45 years now and while my enthusiasm and consumption level for the genre has waxed and waned, this book absolutely captured my imagination. Hamilton peoples his books with a vast array of original and wonderfully inter-linked concepts. His portrayal of the alien Prime is the best description of an alien intelligence I have found in the genre and his marvelous triple analogy between the Prime Immotile, the motiles and the human re-life program using clonal immortality and the AI is beyond brilliant. Probably no one besides Frank Herbert, Daniel Keys Moran, Dan Simmons and Resnik can touch this guy.

One of my favorites from the book was his description of robotic battle destroyers called Alamo Avengers. This is just a masterful fusion of historic names with future possibilities. At some point in the distant future, historians will study science fiction with a certain kind of amazement along the lines of: "how the heck did they see that coming so long ago?"

Science fiction is in many ways a close relative of the travel genre and in this fuller sense of the medium, Hamilton is one of the greatest of travelers.

Speaking of travelers, I don't know why Nasa hasn't chosen some of the best science fiction writers to go into space so that the rest of us can really get a description of what the future holds for humanity. Poor NASA is now going retro with a glorified Apollo reincarnated in the Orion program. The lack of imagination and vigor is just sickening.

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