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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Manhattan in Reverse
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 3 January 2018
This really deserved to come out of my to be read pile much earlier than it actually did. Hamilton has become known for doorstop sized books that come in either daunting pairs or even more daunting trilogies. However these short stories show that he can pack just as much clever, sense of wonder infused, science fiction into the short story format. Two of these stories are also greatly helped by the appearance of a familiar Commonwealth Saga character Paula Myo.

Hamilton is fabulous at creating huge impressive vistas, both in terms of space and in showing the spread and timeline of conjectural human societies. However, like many of even the best science fiction authors, his individual human characters often have a two dimensional quality where they mainly perform a function or a plot role rather than being simply interesting in themselves. Paula Myo is very much the exception to that rule, and she adds greatly to the stories she features in. There is a great deal of irony in this, in that her origin story might lead one to think that she would be a difficult character to empathise with. In fact the reverse is true and in these stories we and she herself, begin to see what makes her unique.
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on 9 January 2016
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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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.

Blessed by an Angel - 17 pages - The first of three stories set in the Commonwealth universe. This one fills in some really important background about one of the main characters in The Void trilogy and sets the scene to the conflicts between Highers and Advancers. If you have read the Void trilogy you can probably work out the meaning of the title.

The Demon Trap - 72 pages - The first of two Paula Myo stories. In this one, Paula really does show her true nature in that she just can't let a criminal get away with not being properly punished.

Manhatten in Reverse - 43 pages - The second Paula Myo story and a very different type of case for Paula to solve involving proto-sentient aliens. My second favourite read in this collection.

Overall: 5 stars - I bought this collection primarily for the Commonwealth stories, but actually enjoyed one of the others the most! Well worth reading
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on 9 February 2013
The first is a detective story used as a "vehicle" for some way out SF concepts of human society in the future. The second is a comment upon England's government and social breakdown (in an alternative reality - this IS fiction after all) and a surprising "Way Out". The third is another detective story . .
I cant be bothered to scroll through my Kindle at only one page at a time to refresh my recollection for more comment upon the remaining stories - . Herein lies the advantage of a real book - I can jump through it so much more easily !!!!
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on 27 April 2017
I've yet to find a Peter Hamilton I didn't like. He writes huge epics but this book shows he is master of the short story too. Highly recommended. Enjoy.
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on 24 June 2014
I really enjoy Peter Hamilton's books - and this one was no exception. I can imagine that he could write great poetry because along with a rich and engrossing ability to write amazing stories he writes very good descriptive prose. I have everything he has published. No pressure Peter - but when can we expect the next one?
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on 21 December 2012
Science fiction is one of the most difficult genres to master, few do it well, certainly in the last half century.
There is plenty of science in these stories and plenty of fiction too, but no real depth. Reading Peter Hamilton's work is like surfing, you are skimming the surface of the story with the promise of so much more beneath, but never realized.
There is no doubt that the author has considerable imagination and technical knowledge but the story telling and plot development is sadly lacking.
The final two stories share the same lead character, and most of them a similar theme of law enforcement in the far distant future, with a little effort most of these stories could have been combined to make a novel and still left time for character and plot development.
Will I go on to read Hamilton's take on the full length novel? Maybe, I'll have to check out the reviews!
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on 11 September 2016
I really enjoyed these stories. I've familiar with the Commonwealth saga and enjoyed delving back into the shenanigans there with not one but two cameos from Paula Myo. My favourite though had to be the first story which without any intro took a few minutes to get into the alternate timeline, but was rewarded for my patience with a great detective story
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on 10 February 2015
Some great stories, some okay. Several fill in details in the Commonwealth timeline, especially for Paula Myo's work. Great fun, and the birth of one Very important character in the Void series is shown.
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on 2 December 2017
Good read.
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