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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Reality Dysfunction Part 2: Expansion

The Reality Dysfunction Part 2: Expansion by Peter F. Hamilton

5 of 13 people found the following review helpful:

September 4, 2001

I see no reason why people actually like these books. Is it because of the characters who all have the morality of drunken frat boys at spring break? Is it the tangled web of characters and plots that you need a score card to keep track of? Or is it just Hamilton's masterful way of spinning a long-winded, cheesy yarn?

Sorry to anyone who, like me, thought this series had merit, but you would be sorely mistaken. First, and foremost in my mind, is that the editor completely dropped the ball on these books. There are so many plots and characters running around that the author clearly loses track of them. Remember the voidhawk captain Syrinx from part 1? Oh yeah, she appears for one scene. What about Quinn Dexter, the Satanist who started this fiasco? One scene about 480 pages in is all he gets. Then of course there are the "possessed" who are taking over some Edenist habitat and a couple of planets, but they drop out of the picture for the last 100 or so pages. Hamilton has no concept of smooth storytelling, it's all bits and pieces, nothing comes together, and like the first part, the second part of The Reality Dysfunction ends so abruptly that you'll probably run to the bookstore to make sure that every copy is like that.

Another thing that really annoys me about Hamilton's style is that all along the way we get these wonderful history lessons about every stinking rock in the "Confederation". I'm sorry, but I as the reader simply do not care about why or when or how some navy base was created, it has no relevence to me. After a while I just started to flip past these scenes, and found myself not the least bit confused. Like I said about the first book, if you cut out most of the gratuitous sex scenes, and these history lessons, there would be no need for two parts.

There's also a lot of stuff that the only word to describe it is cheesy. One guy gets chased by a mixture of Viking boats, triemes, and (of all things) a pirate ship! At the end is a climactic battle between 27th Century cyborgs and medieval knights. Best of all, there's a scene right out of The Exorcist where Father Horst banishes one of the possessed by reading the ritual exorcism prayer and waving his crucifix and Bible around. And representing the possessed we have an Irishman from the 1920s, a Nazi soldier, and an Australian who died during the Vietnam War, plus the wonderful promise that guys like Custer, Stalin, and Hitler are just itching to make their way back to the other side. Why is that cheesy? Maybe to most people it isn't, but to me when you start throwing around all of these 20th Century references A) it shows a lack of creativity and B) it makes it sound like the 20th Century was the most important time in human history (which it may be news to you, but it wasn't).

Remember what I said about characters? You probably think I'm exaggerating, but not really. We find out along the way in this masterpiece that our resident "hero" Joshua Calvert has gotten not one, but two different girls pregnant, hoo-ray! Most of the main characters are so loose that you start to wonder after a while exactly how all these souls from Hell taking over people will make things much different. Heck, it might be an improvement.

So maybe by now you've seen my review and all these glowing ones and you must think I'm all wet. Maybe, but I thought I'd like these books and so far have found really no redeeming qualities in them at all. Most books I can at least find something good to say, but not for these. They're long and disorganized, lacking decent characters, dialogue, or a well-planned story. You can believe all the rosy reviews and buy these books, but if you think you're getting quality literature, you will be sorely mistaken as I was. As for myself, this is as far as I go with this series, I can't take any more of it.

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