Friday, July 8, 2011

The reality dysfunction – Part II: Expansion

Peter F. Hamilton
MacMillan, 1996 (my copy is from Warner Books, 1997)
Size: Long (my copy has 572 pages)
Theme: Futuristic space opera
Narrative: third-person
Main character: Joshua Calvert
Recommended minimum age: Young Adult
Would purchase as a gift to any sci-fi reader: YES

The second volume of the Reality Dysfunction continues the story of the previous book. The narrative, as expected, follows the same structure and pace. The book is comprised of many very short chapters, each switching focus among the myriad of characters and locations involved in the plot. As such, the story continues to be extremely compelling. There is never a dull moment, nor is the author prone to unnecessary excessive descriptions. Action flows naturally but with a sense of foreboding and several adrenaline-filled scenes.In this volume, we see the (failed) efforts by the outlaw Laton to overcome the possession effect, and his flight from Lalonde. We are introduced to the Rubra personality which controls one of the Edenist habitats and his angry ex-pupil Dariat, who sets up an alliance with the possessed. We also follow Alkad Mzu, one of the creators of the Alchemist, an ultimate weapon with the power to destroy entire planets, and who has been held under guard in one of the habitats for some decades, since the war between two major civilizations from which fallout can still be observed in the confederation. Many other characters and side-plots are brought into play, most of which will continue involved throughout the other books.

As the possessed continue to take over Lalonde, they are now also spreading out throughout the confederation, leading to a ban in most space travel. Nevertheless, this does not seem to stop them, and the confederation army is engaged to destroy this menace. Also, Joshua Calvert is recruited to bring a team of specialized mercenaries to Lalonde to identify the source of the possessed infection and attempt to learn more about it.

Related work:
Note that you should read this book after the previous volume, “Reality Dysfunction - Part I: Emergence”. The Night Dawn’s trilogy starts in The Reality Dysfunction, continues in The Neutronium Alchemist and ends in The Naked God.

Spoilers (warning: the following text contains information that may hamper/ruin how much you enjoy the book):

The last part of the book is focused on the fight between the possessed and the mercenary team in the jungles of Lalonde. As the camp children and father Horst manage to stay hidden and even fight off some possessed, the mercenaries attempt to rescue them. The book ends with Joshua picking up the surviving mercenaries as they become overwhelmed by the possessed. In Norfolk, Dexter has taken over, including completely destroying the Kavanagh estate and forcing possession on Louise’s parents.

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