NigHT WiTHoUT sTars
Curtain falls on The Fallers
released OUT NOW! 768 pages | Hardback/ebook
Author Peter F Hamilton Publisher Macmillan
There are times when franchises become too packed with stories. Think of the pre-reboot Trek or – please don’t write in – the way the mythical has started to overtake any humansized drama in Doctor Who. With this second, concluding instalment of the Chronicle Of The Fallers, Peter F Hamilton’s Commonwealth sequence may just be reaching a point where it’s similarly full.
That’s more of an observation than a criticism by the way, because this is a fine book, the kind of epic space opera that Hamilton seems somehow to turn out effortlessly. Picking up from events in The Abyss Beyond Dreams some years down the line, it details a crisis on Bienvenido, a planet where the human population is threatened by Fallers – shapeshifting aliens – but is millions of light years from assistance. Worse, the shapeshifter apocalypse is nigh…
Or is it? While Bienvenido’s technology base is limited and its authoritarian government somewhere between misguided and corrupt, a mysterious figure known as the Warrior Angel is able to bring Commonwealth technology to bear against the aliens. Then a spacecraft crashlands on the planet carrying a baby. This is no ordinary child, though, but someone who can save this distant outpost of humanity.
We don’t want to say too much more for fear of too many spoilers but, after The Abyss… used scientist and industrialist Nigel Sheldon as a central character, this is a child we’ve met before. And here, at least if Hamilton is to take the Commonwealth books forward, may lie a problem. It’s not just that this is now a fictional universe stuffed with stories, it’s that so many of these tales sit on the shoulders of very few central characters. Jonathan Wright
A fictional universe stuffed with stories
The book’s society has a ’50s feel – Hamilton “wanted to kill the nostalgia-forthe-rosy-past lie politicians peddle”.