Manhattan in Reverse Hardcover – 7 Oct 2011
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--4 stars, SFX
'The seven tales allow Hamilton to show his skill at communicating heavy ideas, while telling an engaging story of varied length... All the stories are totally accessible, and if you're looking for a collection of truly well written and engaging short science fiction stories, then Manhattan In Reverse is a great read.' --SciFiNow
A short story collection from one of the world's bestselling SF writersSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Watching Trees Grow
Starting off with the longest offering in the collection, Watching Trees Grow was initially published back in 2000 by PS Publishing as a limited edition, though it was later re-published in the Futures anthology from Gollancz.
As an alternate history tale, this story looks at a world where the Roman Empire never fell and the grand families continued to prosper. With the planet in a golden age of sorts it has allowed technology to advance quicker than in our world, with the starting point of the story in the early 1800's comparable to the mid to late 19th century. By selective breeding in the `Sport of Emperors', life spans of the grand families are now measured in centuries rather than decades of the Shorts.
At its heart Watching Trees Grow is the story of Edward Bucahanan Raleigh's continued investigation into the death of one of his family members at university. Told through his eyes from the night of the murder in 1832 through to the transcendence of the human race to pure energy, Watching Trees Grow is an interesting look at big events during that world's future, all wrapped around the one question: who killed Justin Ascham Raleigh?Read more ›
First up is Watching Trees Grow, previously a stand-alone novella published by PS Publishing. The novella is a riff on one of Hamilton's favourite subgenres, the SF mystery thriller, this time set in an alternate history where the pace of technological development was much faster than in real life and there are electric cars on the streets of Oxford in the early 19th Century. A murder takes place and one man becomes obsessed with tracking down the killer...even if it takes centuries. An effective and clever story, riffing on traditional SF tropes about extended lifespans, alternate timelines and technological development.
Footvote is a political satire, in which a politician opens a wormhole to another planet, allowing people to escape from early 21st Century Britain to make a fresh start, but will only allow a narrow definition of people through, resulting in social unrest. One family is torn apart in the resulting chaos. It's an interesting story about escaping responsibility for your actions, but suffers from having some quite dated references already (Gordon Brown as British PM etc). There is a nice line in humour, though, with the constitution for the new planet (which bans traffic wardens from emigrating) apparently designed with Daily Mail readers in mind.Read more ›
His characters are the most sympathetic and memorable in the genre.
This is a perfect example of his ability, and a perfect introduction if you don't know him.
I don't know any other author who loves a 2-line barmaid just as much as the "hero".
If you have his paperbacks, you will come out of the 6 month read feeling you've somehow taken part in something extraordinary with some real people...not a self-conscious word in 18 inches of shelf space. No tricks, no gimmicks: just solid storytelling.
3D, 7.1, extended...if anyone tried to do a Lord Of The Rings film epic with one of his tales, it would make Game Of Thrones look like a brief precis.
I met Peter Hamilton at a Question and Answer session and book signing a couple of years ago and I have to say that he really does come across as a genuinely really nice, down to earth almost humble guy. He signed a couple of my books for me too.
On to this book:
Peter Hamilton is best known for his doorstop sized 1000 page plus mega-novels, but as this collection proves, he can turn his hand pretty well to a short story too - even if some of these stories (with the notable exception of The Forever Kitten) are actually longer than most other short stories, but that is just the nature of the man.
This collection features seven stories:
Watching Trees Grow - 85 pages - A science fiction murder mystery spanning two hundred years. I really liked the alternate history in this book. It is much closer to what I as a child in the 1960s and early 70s hoped the future would look like than what it actually turned out to be. My favourite of this collection.
Footvote - 24 pages - A nice story based on a wormhole being opened to another planet but only those deemed worthy are allowed through. Some interesting political statements in this one.
If at First... - 10 pages - A different take on time travel with a nice little twist at the end, but still in my opinion the weakest story in the collection.
The Forever Kitten - (1000 words) - The shortest by far of this collection and a pretty decent immortality story with an ending that quite literally had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up! Very clever for such a short story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A brilliant Hamilton story. Well written, well told and brilliantly engagingPublished 2 months ago by S A Smith
I enjoyed all the stories, and will be purchasing more of Mr Hamilton's work, especially anything with Paula Myo in.Published 6 months ago by Andrew Reid
It can be difficult to give an accurate review of a collection of short stories, as it is inevitable that only some of the content will appeal to the any one reader. Read morePublished 14 months ago by decco999
Well worth a read. I'm only two stories in, and "footvote" is just hilarious.Published 16 months ago by Bookhoarder
Some great stories, some okay. Several fill in details in the Commonwealth timeline, especially for Paula Myo's work. Read morePublished 17 months ago by William Donelson
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