Pandora's Star : Commonwealth Saga

  • by Peter F. Hamilton
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • Series: Commonwealth Saga
  • 37 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Britain's bestselling SF writer returns to outer space.
In AD 2329, humanity has colonised over four hundred planets, all of them interlinked by wormholes. With Earth at its centre, the Intersolar Commonwealth now occupies a sphere of space approximately four hundred light years across.
When an astronomer on the outermost world of Gralmond, observes a star 2000 light years distant - and then a neighbouring one - vanish, it is time for the Commonwealth to discover what happened to them. For what if their disappearance indicates some kind of galactic conflict? Since a conventional wormhole cannot be used to reach these vanished stars, for the first time humans need to build a faster-than-light star ship, the Second Chance. But it arrives to find each 'vanished' star encased in a giant force field -- and within one of them resides a massive alien civilisation.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The good just about outweighs the bad

I read this in print some time ago but when I recently listened to it on audio it seems to have lost some of its magic. What struck me most this time was Hamilton's long-winded explorations of trivia and his excruciating fixation on teenage girls. Almost every female character has a body age of under 19 and Hamilton describes them in detail, normally starting with the breasts. It's a wonder he can write so many books using only one hand.

That aside I do still like the universe he creates and the way he integrates believable future tech into the story. As a creator of believable far-future worlds he's one of the best.

And the narration? No. Just, no. John Lee would make a great newsreader but for a story like this, not a chance. He sounds like a cross between Rising Damp's Rigsby and the host at a spelling bee. He pronounces every syllable with such clarity you can almost hear him winding up before each word, the individual sounds clattering off his tongue like the noise of malfunctioning farm machinery. If he could do this whilst retaining the emotive content directed by the text then maybe I could live with it, but he can't, and I can't.
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- Si "Barely human."

Horrible, horrible narrator

Another reviewer commented on how great he found the narrator. I absolutely cannot agree.

I can't say anything about the story itself, because I had to quit after 1 1/2 hours (during the bar scene with the socialists).

John Lee's intonation is just maddening. He starts every sentence - every single excruciating sentence - much too loud and then drones off into a low mumble, sometimes making the last few words barely understandable.

At first I found this only mildly annoying, but after the first hour it began to feel like Chinese water torture to me.
Definitely check out the audio sample before you buy the book. If narrator's style doesn't bother you, ignore my review. But if you find Mr. Lee's style even slightly off-putting, consider staying away from this audiobook as the sheer length of the recording will drastically magnify the problem.
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- Michael

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-09-2010
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.