The Void Trilogy reread: The Dreaming Void, part one

Refresh your memory, or get started for the first time, and join in with our re-read of Peter F. Hamilton's Void Trilogy in order, starting here at the beginning with the first part of The Dreaming Void. 

Hello and welcome to the first ‘proper’ part of our Void trilogy reread. I hope you all managed to get to page 225 and were able to hold out until today. As with all of Peter F Hamilton’s works, the Void trilogy is incredibly in depth and features many complex ideas and characters. This reread series is set to be a basic guide for those who have forgotten what happened in the trilogy and for the newcomers who want to discuss sections of the books with others.

I thought it best to briefly introduce myself as we’ll be with each other for the long haul. I’m Daniel, I’ve been an avid reader and writer for years – enjoying books from all genres, though Sci-Fi and Fantasy hold a special place. I’ve read all of Peter F Hamilton’s works and enjoyed them all for different reasons. It’s been a long time since I read the Void trilogy, back on original release. I’m not usually one to reread books, but with a writer such as Peter, I wanted to refresh my memory with likeminded readers and fans.

This is a very basic summary of the important moments within the books. I won’t go into great detail as we want you to join in through the comments and pitch in with views, ideas and background explanation. Please remember, we’re reading together so if you do jump ahead in the book, don’t spoil it for others.

The Dreaming Void opens with a prologue that only hints at a few of the ideas that will later become the big features of the novel. In fact, for much of the opening few hundred pages Hamilton refers to technology or concepts that take some time to flesh out. Don’t feel too worried if you’re confused at the start, as the pages turn everything is explained rather nicely. In this prologue we meet Inigo as he travels and arrives on Centurion Station, through his conversations with other travellers we get a glimpse of the Void that the story centres around and we’re with him up to the point he retires to bed and dreams a dream that isn’t his. We’ll come back to this, but I really enjoy how Hamilton dangles a major plot point in front of his readers and then snatches it back. Inigo is an important member of the cast, but as we move into chapter one he takes on a more mythical image.

From here, we lightly touch a plethora of characters. Most are new to us, though some old favourites from Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained make a return. Within this first chapter we meet Aaron who has no memory of who he is, all he knows is that he has a mission and was hired by somebody. As his story opens he becomes an intriguing cog in the machine, but if he doesn’t know who he is, then we certainly don’t either. Ethan then takes the stage and we learn that he is the replacement of Inigo who has vanished from the Commonwealth. Ethan instantly seems shady, particularly as he refers to the Second Dreamer (another person whose dreams are projected into the manmade Gaiafield, which many people are connected to). There are mentions of pilgrimage and a waterwalker.

Troblum is a man who features more later on in the book, but is introduced here as an expert on the Starflyer war and an inventor of sorts. We find him giving a presentation of new technology to the Interstellar Navy in which more mentions of the Void are brought up. The narrative then shifts to Corrie-Lyn, an ex-romantic partner of Inigo, who greatly interests Aaron and his hunt for the first dreamer.

As we move into Inigo’s First Dream, there is a massive switch in style and even genre. From the technological Commonwealth we are given a glimpse of a world which resides inside the Void. It is this world which Ethan and the Living Dream are obsessed with and want to make pilgrimage. In this world, Hamilton explores a more fantasy setting as there is only basic technology in what, on the surface, seems to be a Medieval land. Here humans have evolved differently and have abilities similar to those in the Commonwealth but that have grown organically within them.

Here we meet Edeard, an apprentice in the eggshaper guild. His job is to use telekinesis and his “third hand” (a bit like The Force from Star Wars) to sculpt animals into new creatures while they’re still incubated within an egg. It is Edeard’s great skill that make him our focus. His powers are particularly strong – the strongest in his village. This first dream is a mere snapshot of Inigo’s world and there isn’t a lot revealed to the reader. We meet his friends, his master and Salrana, a young girl who has been Edeard’s friend for years.

For chapter two, we’re back in the Commonwealth and getting reacquainted with Justine Burnelli and her father, Gore. Fan favourites from previous books, it’s great to have them back and they’re the ideal characters to lay out a little more background and information regarding the Void. Living Dream want to make a pilgrimage into the Void, in the hope of living a life like Edeard. This is a moment in human future where those who have lived for hundreds of years are choosing their end life plan. Some are leaving their physical bodies behind and downloading into ANA, a sentient program made up of the people who have downloaded. Others, such as Living Dream have other ideas.

Most of this chapter highlights the dangers of entering the Void. It seems the Void can only stay established by consuming energy from the surrounding space. Were Living Dream to enter, many feel that the Void would grow and consume the entire Commonwealth, as well as other galaxies. It’s here we meet the Raiel, aliens that have lived for millions of years longer than humans and constantly monitor the Void. Then there’s another alien race called the Ocisen, whose hostility towards the Void expansion is bringing them closer to war with humans. Now we can begin to understand the importance of the Void. It seems that many factions within ANA and others around the galaxy have ideas about the enigma at the centre of their existence. Thus begins the tussle between various political parties and the plot of the novel is laid out.

A seemingly unimportant character, Araminta, appears as more of a background piece though we all know that anyone given space in a Peter F Hamilton novel will hold some importance at some point. Also, Troblum is visited by Marius, a suspicious man who is clearly working for a faction within ANA and wants to harness the technology at Troblum’s fingertips.

We’re heading back into Inigo’s dreams of Edeard, now and we see that the apprentices are going on a hunting trip to learn more skills and life lessons. It is here where we truly see how powerful Edeard is as his party is ambushed by savages. Here’s the first real action packed scene in the novel and I have to say is incredibly tense and exciting. Watching as Edeard uses his third hand to throw the invaders around and take control of their animals is edge of the seat reading. He singlehandedly saves his party of apprentices and leaders, which draws their unwanted eyes and attention.

Chapter three and the last bit of reading for this opening week of the reread. Aaron is being questioned by Corrie-Lyn as to his creation and existence which allows us to see a darker side to him. Together they head into a Living Dream compound for Corrie-Lyn to talk with an old acquaintance regarding Inigo’s disappearance. It doesn’t take long for Aaron to be needed, for the proverbial to hit the fan and for a great escape sequence to play out. It is here where Aaron decides that they need to visit Inigo’s birth planet of Anagaska and the ultra-drive starships are unveiled.

Troblum and Araminta appear again to flesh out a little more of the plot. Troblum visits with a black market dealer and discusses the possible pilgrimage, while Araminta begins her business venture of remodelling apartments and takes her first step towards sexual adventure. It is during a call with her ex-husband that the idea of human migration is presented. Humans that are in their later years are moving back towards the centre of the galaxy with the option to either download into ANA, or convert to higher culture.

*Here is where some may begin to develop some confusion. Advancer culture in the trilogy aim to use biononics to protect them from harm, this means that they don’t need to rejuvenate when they come to the end of their bodies life. Higher culture is explained as those who take life slower and have no need for money. (Please feel free to go into greater detail in the comments section if needed)*

We end week one of our reread with Corrie-Lyn telling Aaron she can read his dreams on the Gaiafield and she begins to probe who he is and how he lives with not knowing his true self and Troblum returns home to find that sabotage by his own scientific team has rendered his latest creation ruined.

And there we have it. Week one is in the books (pardon the pun) and this is where you get involved. We want you to discuss these opening chapters within the comments below. Please feel free to expand on my VERY BASIC explanations of the story so far. Obviously, we’re dealing with a set of books that contain so many details; it would be great if we could help each other out by talking about the technology, along with the sections and characters we all love, or hate.

To join in with the next reread post, our starting page is 225 (Inigo’s Third Dream) and we’ll be reading to page 426, Inigo’s Fifth Dream. 

To find out more about Peter F. Hamilton visit his official Facebook page.

Night Without Stars

Book cover for Night Without Stars

Can't get enough of Peter F. Hamilton and the Commonwealth Universe? Following the astonishing The Abyss Beyond DreamsNight Without Stars is the epic second and final part  to Peter F. Hamilton's Chronicle of the Fallers, and set in the same universe as the Void Trilogy.

You can also catch up on the whole Void Trilogy Reread: