Daily Archives: Thursday, 1st Nov 2012

Peter F Hamilton – Great North Road

Peter F Hamilton, as I’ve mentioned before, tends to write rather long books, and usually puts them in groups of two or three. His latest is another big one[1], but it’s a one off, complete story rather than the start of a series.

Much of the story takes place in Newcastle in 2143, which obviously appealed to me. By this time, the city seems to have spread to take over Gateshead, which doesn’t seem too unlikely. There’s a lot of nice local detail – streets I know well are still there, many of the buildings are the same, but much has changed. For a start there’s a honking big interstellar gateway in the Team Valley, now known as Last Mile, for reasons the story soon explains.

In the usual Hamilton manner, there are numerous threads to the story, lots of flashbacks which gradually reveal the truth. A good chunk of the story is a 22nd century[2] police procedural – a member of the powerful North “family”[3] has been found dead in the Tyne near the Millennium Bridge. He was killed by a strange five-bladed weapon that shredded his heart in an identical manner to a mass murder which occurred on the planet at the other end of the gateway twenty years earlier.

Another thread is the military expedition into remote areas of the planet in search of the impossible alien killer. On that expedition are several people with secrets, and soon people start dying…

It’s a big, complex, and ultimately satisfying story, set in a future that could be the basis for further novels. Good stuff, well worth reading, provided you have the time for a 1000 page monster.

[1] The hardback is about the size and weight of a large brick. Have I mentioned that I love my Kindle?
[2] Though the text of the Kindle edition several times suggests it’s the 23rd century, which is the kind of error that editing should have picked up
[3] A load of clones, actually

Stuff Report – 1 November 2012

Well, that was a fun day. Got all the things done in Bristol that I needed to, picked up my suitcase from the hotel[1] and walked to Bristol Temple Meads. Last time I was in Bristol, I’d cut it a bit fine[2], so this time, I allowed myself enough time to get to the platform nice and early. The train arrived on time and got to Newport on time. And there I had a bit of a wait for the train that would take me to Pencoed. Well, that train was just about to arrive when it was announced that all trains between Newport and Cardiff had been stopped because of “an incident”. Now that’s usually something minor, but in this case it eventually turned out to be a problem with an ethanol container at a freight depot that was sufficiently dangerous that the fire brigade ordered all trains to be kept away.

The train did pul in to the station after a while, and I got on, as it seemed better to be on a warm train than a cold platform. And after a looooooong time, all passengers were asked to move to another train, and that one set off for Cardiff, where my brother picked me up.

Anyway, enough muttering, here are some bridges



Camera: FinePix X100
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 23mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 24 October, 2012

[1] No point taking it to the office and back to the station when those nice Novotel people will look after it for me…
[2] If the train hadn’t been late, I might have missed it…