Hamilton, Peter F. 1960–
Hamilton, Peter F. 1960–
PERSONAL: Born March 2, 1960, in Oakham, Rutland, England; married 2001; wife's name Kate; children: Sophie and Felix. Education: Attended Worksop College. Hobbies and other interests: Sports.
ADDRESSES: Home—Rutland Water, England.
AWARDS, HONORS: British Science Fiction Society award for best short story, c. 2001, for "The Suspect Genome"; shortlisted for Arthur C. Clarke Award, British Science Fiction Association/Science Fiction Foundation/Science Museum, 2002, for Fallen Dragon.
"GREG MANDEL" SCIENCE FICTION TRILOGY
Mindstar Rising, Pan (London, England), 1993, Tor (New York, NY), 1996.
A Quantum Murder, Pan (London, England), 1994, Tor (New York, NY), 1997.
The Nano Flower, Pan (London, England), 1995, Tor (New York, NY), 1998.
"CONFEDERATION UNIVERSE" SERIES
The Reality Dysfunction (first volume in "Night's Dawn" trilogy), Macmillan (London, England), 1996, published in two volumes as The Reality Dysfunction: Emergence and The Reality Dysfunction: Expansion, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1997.
The Neutronium Alchemist (second volume in "Night's Dawn" trilogy), Macmillan (London, England), 1997, published in two volumes as The Neutronium Alchemist: Consolidation and The Neutronium Alchemist: Conflict, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1997.
A Second Chance at Eden (short stories), Macmillan (London, England), 1998.
The Naked God (third volume in "Night's Dawn" trilogy), Macmillan (London, England), 1999, published in two volumes as The Naked God: Flight and The Naked God: Faith, Aspect (New York, NY), 2000.
The Confederation Handbook, (guidebook to series), Macmillan (London, England), 2000, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Lightstorm (juvenile; part of the "Web" series), Orion Children's Books (London, England), 1998, reprinted as part 5 of The Web: 2027, Orion (London, England), 1999.
Watching Trees Grow (novella), PS Publishing (Harrogate, England), 2000.
Fallen Dragon (novel), Macmillan (London, England), 2001, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Misspent Youth, Macmillan (London, England), 2002, Del Rey (New York, NY), 2006.
"COMMONWEALTH SAGA" SERIES
Pandora's Star, Del Rey/Ballantine (New York, NY), 2004.
Judas Unchained, Del Rey (New York, NY), 2006.
Contributor to Futures: Four Novellas, edited by Peter Crowther, Aspect (New York, NY), 2001; contributor to anthologies, including Dreams, New Worlds 2, New Worlds 3, New Worlds 4, (with G. Joyce) New Worlds 5, and Futures, Gollancz (London, England), 2001; contributor to science-fiction magazines, including Far Point, Fear, Interzone, and New Moon.
SIDELIGHTS: Successful science-fiction novelist Peter F. Hamilton started writing during a period of unemployment in 1987. It took him only until the next year to begin selling short stories to small magazines, and one more year to sell his first story to a mass-market science fiction magazine. His short stories led directly to his novel-writing career; a book editor at Britain's Pan publishing house read one of the stories in Fear magazine in 1991 and asked to see Hamilton's novel-in-progress. A mere two months later, Hamilton had signed a contract for a first novel. It was published as Mindstar Rising in 1993 in Britain, and released in the United States in 1996.
A cyberthriller set in England after global warming has wreaked havoc with that country's climate, economy, and politics, Mindstar Rising focuses on Greg Mandel, a freelance action hero who, as a former member of the Mindstar Battalion, has been enhanced by the surgical implantation of a gland for empathy and truth-detection. Mandel is hired to help save a cybertech company from the evil machinations of its rivals; he becomes allied with the cybernetically enhanced granddaughter of the company's dying owner and calls in another enhanced colleague to pursue an online and offline battle. A Publishers Weekly contributor asserted that Mindstar Rising reads "like a collaboration between William Gibson and Ian Fleming," and pointed to an action-filled plot, "exotic hardware," and compelling characters as elements that enhanced the "fast-moving" novel. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews lauded the "believable characters and a solid plot set against a carefully worked-out background," which contributed to what was assessed as "an assured, effective debut from a writer to watch."
Mindstar Rising was the first volume in a trilogy set around Greg Mandel; the second, A Quantum Murder, was published in 1994. Julia Evans, the cybernetically-enhanced billionaire of the previous volume, once again features strongly in the second, as she hires Mandel to investigate the murder of a Nobel laureate who was doing research for her firm. Russell Letson, reviewing the novel for Locus, praised the "nifty" murder plot and its "tidy double-bluff" solution, but expressed some doubts about aspects of "sophomore slump" in the novel. Let-son faulted what he termed the novel's slow-moving first half, and excessive attention given to "nonessential" aspects of Julia's life, but acknowledged that "solid mystery plotting and a science-fictional sensibility that promises a few surprises to come will keep me reading and recommending Hamilton."
The "Mandel" trilogy ends with 1995's The Nano Flower, after which Hamilton initiated a new trilogy, the "Night's Dawn" series, with his highly successful novel The Reality Dysfunction. The 1996 novel delineates events that occur in a putative golden age in the year 2600, when a criminal has a traumatic encounter with an alien entity. The space opera series continues in The Neutronium Alchemist, in which a doomsday weapon becomes the focus of an galactic hunt. Part three of "Night's Dawn," The Naked God, is a "massive conclusion to [this] elaborate metaphysical trilogy," according to a Publishers Weekly contributor. Starship captain Joshua Calvert races through the galaxy in search of a legendary entity whose powers may save the human race from the invading armies of evil prophet Quinn Dexter. The universe suffers a rupture between reality and afterlife; the deceased are able and willing to cross the boundary to possess the bodies of the living. By incorporating death, soul and afterlife into this novel, Hamilton "encompasses a broad sweep of philosophical and moralistic themes, yet he keeps a tight focus on his 100-plus 'principal characters' and the highly fantastical universe they inhabit," wrote the Publishers Weekly contributor. In a review of The Naked God, London Sunday Times contributor Peter Millar praised the series' combination of "credible characters" and philosophical concepts, and concluded that with this volume, "Hamilton has reclaimed Britain's dominance of the sci-fi genre."
Hamilton published a stand-alone sci-fi novel, Fallen Dragon, in 2002. The story is set in the twenty-fourth century, where interstellar trade has resulted in insatiable corporations—led by the powerful Zantiu-Braun—that dominate space exploration by pillaging the resources of colonial worlds. Zantiu-Braun scion Lawrence Newton, being groomed for a position on the corporation's board of directors, instead opts for field work, taking a job exploring space. After working his way through the ZB ranks, Lawrence works his way to the planet Thall-spring, where he brings new meaning to the term "corporate raider." A Publishers Weekly contributor found this saga "a sort of Starship Troopers as if written by Charles Dickens," and ranked Fallen Dragon one of Hamilton's best works. Bryan Baldus of Booklist also enjoyed the novel, calling it "nearly as philosophical as it is entertaining." Fallen Dragon earned the author a nomination for the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award.
Hamilton has also published a collection of short stories set in the Confederation universe, A Second Chance of Eden, as well as further novels. As a children's book writer, he has published Lightstorm for Orion Children's Book's "Web" series.
Hamilton has also written another series titled the "Commonwealth Saga." In the first book of the series, Pandora's Star, Hamilton writes of human's efforts to solve the mystery of the Dyson Pair, a strange barrier around the stars. However, when humans finally solve the mystery and penetrate the barrier, they let loose a horde of struggling aliens, known as the Primes, who are now free to invade human space. Regina Schroeder, writing in Booklist, commented: "Hamilton is never simple, and even his aliens are well written, complex creations with their own motivations." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author's "exhilarating new opus proves that 'intelligent space opera' isn't an oxymoron."
In the sequel to Pandora's Star, titled Judas Unchained, an evil alien known as the Starflyer controls key leaders in the human's government while the Primes are discovered to have a shared single consciousness. "What with dozens of other plot threads, all this barely hints at the vast scope and complexity of Hamilton's construct," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. In a review in Booklist, Regina Schroeder called the novel "a dense, engaging space opera that satisfyingly balances shoot'em-up action and thoughtful debate." Another reviewer writing in Publishers Weekly noted that the author "adroitly leaps from the struggles of one engaging, quirky character to another."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 1997, John Mort, review of A Quantum Murder, p. 312; January 1, 1998, John Mort, review of The Nano Flower, p. 786; February 1, 2002, Bryan Baldus, review of Fallen Dragon, p. 930; March 1, 20 04, Regina Schroeder, review of Pandora's Star, p. 1145; January 1, 2006, Regina Schroeder, review of Judas Unchained, p. 73.
Bookseller, December 9, 2005, review of Judas Unchained, p. 30; December 9, 2005, review of Misspent Youth, p. 34.
Choice, April, 1997, p. 20; February 1, 2002, Bryan Baldus, review of Fallen Dragon, p. 930.
Guardian (London, England), November 3, 2001, review of Fallen Dragon, p. 11.
Interzone, May, 1995, James Lovegrove, "From Rutland to the Universe."
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1996, review of Mindstar Rising, p. 791; December 15, 2001, review of Fallen Dragon, p. 1727; December 1, 2005, review of Judas Unchained, p. 1260.
Library Journal, June 15, 1996, review of Mindstar Rising, p. 96; December, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of The Naked God, p. 193; March 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Fallen Dragon, p. 111l; March 15, 2004, Jackie Cassada, review of Pandora's Star, p. 110; February 15, 2006, Jackie Cassada, review of Judas Unchained, p. 110.
Locus, July, 1994, Russell Letson, review of A Quantum Murder, p. 65; May, 1998, "Painting Big" (interview).
Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, May, 2002, James Sallis, review of Futures, p. 32.
New Statesman & Society, April 30, 1993, David C. Barrett, review of Mindstar Rising, p. 47.
New York Times Book Review, January 13, 2002, Gerald Jonas, review of Futures, p. 21.
Publishers Weekly, July 22, 1996, review of Mindstar Rising, p. 232; September 22, 1997, review of A Quantum Murder, p. 73; December 22, 1997, review of The Nano Flower, p. 42; December 20, 1999, review of The Naked God, p. 61; January 28, 2002, review of Fallen Dragon, p. 274; February 23, 2004, review of Pandora's Star, p. 56; January 9, 2006, review of Judas Unchained, p. 36.
SFX, December, 1997, Mary Branscombe, "Big Is Beautiful."
Sunday Times (London, England), January 18, 1998, Peter Millar, review of The Neutronium Alchemist, p. 9.
Times (London, England), October 31, 1998, Peter Millar, review of A Second Chance at Eden, p. 18; October 16, 1999, Millar, review of The Naked God, p. 18.
Locus Magazine Web site, http://www.locusmag.com/ (October 20, 2006), "Peter F. Hamilton: Painting Big," interview with author.
SciFi.com, http://www.scifi.com/ (October 20, 2006), online interview with author.
SF Reviews, http://www.sfreviews.net/ (October 20, 2006), review of The Reality Dysfunction.
SFF World, http://www.sffworld.com/ (October 20, 2006), Rob H. Bedford, reviews of Judas Unchained, Pandora's Star, and Fallen Dragon.