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A Second Chance at Eden
Peter F. Hamilton
Warner Aspect Books, 421 pages

Art: Jim Burns
A Second Chance at Eden
Peter F. Hamilton
Peter F. Hamilton was born in Rutland, UK in 1960. In addition to the three Greg Mandel novels, Mindstar Rising, A Quantum Murder and The Nano Flower (all from Tor), he is the author of the UK bestseller, The Reality Dysfunction, which, along with The Neutronium Alchemist, form volumes 1 and 2 of Night's Dawn trilogy.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Greg Mandel Trio
SF Site Review: A Quantum Murder
SF Site Review: The Neutronium Alchemist
Mark/Space: The Nano Flower
Peter F. Hamilton Tribute Page
Info on Peter F. Hamilton

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rodger Turner

Hamilton 4, Turner 3.

A pretty lousy score, I know. But in my own defense, I've been playing with the farm team for some time now.

It was while I was reading A Second Chance at Eden when I remembered why I have read novels almost exclusively for many years. Back then, I found myself guessing at how a short fiction piece (novellas, novelettes, short stories, etc.) was going to end. Mostly I was right. Where's the fun in that, I thought? I drifted towards reading novels where I knew about what the ending was going to be (at least for North American ones) and it was the journey that intrigued me.

This is Peter F. Hamilton's first collection of short fiction and is set in the same universe as his bestselling Night's Dawn trilogy. Rumour has it that the original versions of some these stories were rewritten to some extent in order to set them here.

Sequenced chronologically, the stories begin when the affinity bond was new technology. "Sonnie's Edge" tells the story of a time when death matches between constructed monsters controlled through human affinity bonds are the rage. It reminded me of WWF bouts. But one of the most successful contestants has a particular advantage much to the suprise of her opponent.

The novella, "A Second Chance At Eden" is a locked-room mystery. Eden, a bitek habitat orbiting Jupiter, mines the fusion fuel upon which Earth is dependant. But one faction wants to break from the stranglehold of Earth's dominance. A murder takes place in full view of the whole population of the sentient satellite. But nobody can identify the perp or the motive. A new cop must investigate but his chances of success are slim. The story is a fine example of its type with "red herrings" galore.

"New Days Old Times" may be my favourite. It's a poignant story of how human nature and human prejudice can continue to be at odds with technology. Settlers on a planet, Nyvan, are hoping for a new life but need the help of others to make ends meet. Cay you say "ethnic cleansing?"

"Candy Buds" shows us the impact of wealth and obsession meeting revenge. A crime-lord rules with a jealous eye on his control of the bitek trade. When an astonishing new substance appears on his streets, he must have it. Little does he know that this may not be his best choice.

Have you seen Enemy Mine? Have you read I Am Legend? "Deathday" plays on this alone-against-the-world scenario to give the reader quite a different view of whether the lone survivor should be the victor.

"The Lives And Loves Of Tiarella Rosa" is an interesting ditty I found quite gruesome. Passion for a person is never a reason to make someone love you beyond what fate has in store for us and use science to make it so. But, hey, that's just my opinion. Maybe you'll find it endearing.

"Escape Route" starts out as a swashbuckler and ends up a run-for-your-life type of the-aliens-are-coming and they're mighty cranky story. A starship encounters a long-abandoned alien spacecraft, with the alien escape route still intact. Where does it lead? If the crew claims salvage rights, the technology inside could make them wealthy beyond belief. But they have to decide in which direction the path flows.

This is a collection for Hamilton fans (I'm an unabashed one). It is a delightful supplement to the Night's Dawn trilogy with its techno-chronology between stories. It holds characters finely crafted, plots intricately drawn and continues to affirm for me that the writing of Peter F. Hamilton never disappoints.

Copyright © 1999 by Rodger Turner

Rodger has read a lot of science fiction and fantasy in forty years. He can only shake his head and say, "So many books, so little time."

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