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Manhattan in Reverse Hardcover – 7 Oct 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (7 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230750303
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230750302
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 374,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Fiendishly clever'
--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

Book Description

A short story collection from one of the world's bestselling SF writers

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've been a Peter F Hamilton fan for a long time, in fact the reason I read sci-fi nowadays is because of Pandora's Star. The last collection of short stories by Peter F Hamilton was A Second Chance at Eden released way back in the late 90's, but it was a collection of Confederation exclusive stories based on his Night's Dawn universe. On hearing about this new collection I was rather excited, hoping to see all of the stories that he's written since then. Aside from one glaring omission this is a pretty decent collection and worthy of a place on the shelf of any Hamilton fan.

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?
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Format: Hardcover
Best-known for his immense doorstoppers, Peter F. Hamilton is also an experienced writer of SF short stories. Manhattan in Reverse is his second collection of short fiction, collecting together seven stories published over the last eleven years. Unlike his first collection, A Second Chance at Eden, where the stories were all set in the same universe, this time around the fiction is not linked by any theme or setting.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you really admire solidly-grounded but utterly incredible adventure, Peter F. Hamilton is the go-to SF author par excellence.
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Peter Hamilton is probably my current favourite science fiction author with his Commonwealth/Void books being right up there in my top science fiction reads.

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.
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