• Pandora's Star

  • By: Peter F. Hamilton
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 37 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (9,415 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Critics have compared the engrossing space operas of Peter F. Hamilton to the classic sagas of such SF giants as Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. But Hamilton's best-selling fiction - powered by a fearless imagination and world-class storytelling skills - has also earned him comparison to Tolstoy and Dickens. Hugely ambitious, wildly entertaining, philosophically stimulating: the novels of Peter F. Hamilton will change the way you think about science fiction.

Now, with Pandora's Star, he begins a new multi-volume adventure, one that promises to be his most mind-blowing yet. The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.

Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, a faster-than-light starship, the Second Chance, is dispatched to learn what has occurred and whether it represents a threat. In command is Wilson Kime, a five-time rejuvenated ex-NASA pilot whose glory days are centuries behind him. Opposed to the mission are the Guardians of Selfhood, a cult that believes the human race is being manipulated by an alien entity they call the Starflyer.

Bradley Johansson, leader of the Guardians, warns of sabotage, fearing the Starflyer means to use the starship's mission for its own ends. Pursued by a Commonwealth special agent convinced the Guardians are crazy but dangerous, Johansson flees. But the danger is not averted. Aboard the Second Chance, Kime wonders if his crew has been infiltrated.

Soon enough, he will have other worries. A thousand light-years away, something truly incredible is waiting: a deadly discovery, the unleashing of which will threaten to destroy t...

©2004 Peter F. Hamilton (P)2008 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"The depth and clarity of the future Hamilton envisions is as complex and involving as they come." ( Publishers Weekly Starred Review)

What listeners say about Pandora's Star

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Epic Scifi

"Pandora's Star" and its sequel are two of my favorite audiobooks, and I've listened to atleast 50 audiobooks over the last few years.

I do have one warning, the story is fairly slow going at first and there are many characters/subplots. I almost gave up after a few hours, but I'm glad I kept going. I caught myself wishing at points that he'd just stop introducing new characters, but hang in there, the story is well worth the initial effort. Some of the characters who I thought were boring and extranious at first ended up being the most interesting and exciting in the end.

Peter F Hamilton has created a unique new scifi universe in these two books. Like all great Scif universes this is futuristic and imaginative without feeling fake or "made up". The humans still act like humans(with human strengths and flaws) and the aliens are truely alien(not just humans that look different). Hearing about life in the Commonwealth is almost as interesting as the story itself.

I would definitely consider this epic scifi, but there are elements that appeal to the Cyber-punk fan in me. This is certainly edgy with plenty of sex and violence. There aren't that many sex scenes but sexuality is certaintly a driving force in some characters and is often refered to in the context of the story. There are also several homosexual characters, but he hardly makes it into an issue, its just one part of a few characters lives. Its refreshing to have characters who also happen to be gay rather than "gay characters".

Some reviews have been critical of the narrator, don't believe them. I think he did a great job, sure some of his american accents aren't flawless, but give him a break hes obviously british. Each character is easy to distinguish and he does a good job with the individual voices without going overboard(like some narrators when they voice a different gender)

Highly Recomended!!

133 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Have to resort to headphones to listen

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Intricate and engaging story. In terms of value, this is such a long book that "paying by the pound" is returned by the 30+ hour playing time.

Would you be willing to try another one of John Lee’s performances?

This book is almost impossible to listen to using speakers (car, Amazon Echo, entertainment system). The reader's volume changes so much across a sentence that it is either blasting at the start or inaudible at the end. This book (and any like it by the same performer) *really* needs to be "remastered" with dynamic range compression to boost the quiet speech and attenuate the louder speech. Dynamic range compression could fix this completely.

If the listener has any hearing loss, the book's performance is impossible to understand. I hear ok, but the only way I can listen to it is with good headphones. Impossible listening on room speakers of any kind.

87 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

An entertaining listen. My one critique...

is that there are often no audio queues, such as a slightly longer pause for breath, signaling the transition from one story arc to the next. The narration often sounds like one extremely long paragraph; which led to moments of confusion before I realized the author had taken me from one arc to another.

83 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book; terrible production

This review relates to both Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained. These are two books of the same series

Firstly the narration: Generally I like the performances of narrator John Lee. I have listened to a number of others of his books including White Tiger, Pillars Of the Earth, Count of Monte Cristo. But the narration in this series leaves much to be desired. This production, while not as bad as Pandora’s Star, is a hopelessly flawed engineering fiasco. One can never tell when there is a change in chapters unless it is stated in the literary context. When there is a change of scene or arc, the narrator just connects the end of the one with the beginning of the next and we are left wondering, where in the universe we are. The variations in modulation are unnatural, distracting and just plain horrible.

However, despite all that Audible has done to detract from the greatness of this selection, it is almost without peer in its greatness. Hamilton creates a world of places, people, aliens and events unlike any I have read. The stories, and there are many, are complex and they all come together in multiple, exciting conclusions. Unlike the series Wheel of Time which seems to go on for several volumes and have very little new to add than what we discovered in the first volume, every part of these two books is fresh, interesting and surprising.

This masterpiece of literature deserved better than the treatment it received by Audible. All of that being said, I could not recommend a selection more highly. It is too good to miss even with all of its detractors.

65 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Poor sound quality

It's as though a sound engineer was playing with the volume slider, or the mic was swinging on a cable. A single sentence or phrase will go from too loud to inaudible and back again. It would be tough to make it through 37 hours of that.

57 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not my cup of tea

The great thing about audible, especially the sales, is that it gives you the chance to try out new authors. If a writer writes a big book, does that make it a great book?

This author has been compared to Frank Herbet and I believe that to be fairly accurate. Other then Dune, what are your favorite FH books?

I really liked the prologue and thought the book would be very exciting. There was an exciting science discovery and the question was what would that lead to. Then we are taken on many side stories. Each chapter starts with the description of a different planet. This includes the fauna, how it was planted, how it grew , what happened to it over the centuries and what is like today. With a James Michener novel, when you know it is a real world this can be interesting, but on a made up planet, not so much.

I wanted to find out what was going to happen with this discovery, but my mind kept wondering. I would tell myself to concentrate and then PH would start describing some non-essential plant or building or waterway and the next thing I knew my mind was thinking about something else. The book is 37 hours long and I kept saying to myself, Stupid you could listen to three Robert J. Sawyer books in that amount of time. You would get the exciting science, maybe some characters you care about without the Hawthorne part. So after Eleven hours I quit and started a Koontz book.

About the sound quality. I don't know who is at fault, but I found listening very hard on my ears. For a couple of hours when ever John lee would start a new sentence the bass would vibrate in my ears, causing pain, as he would continue the sentence he would get quieter and just when it got comfortable, Wham, he would start a new sentence. That stopped for a while and then the volume would change with new chapters. Like watching a tv show and then a commercial comes on louder then the show. I have listened to hundreds of books and I have listened to John Lee before and this has not been a problem in the past.

55 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent listen!

My first Peter F. Hamilton book and I was most pleasantly surprised. Big story, lots of characters, interesting and novel ideas all woven together with a talented hand. Looking forward to listening to the sequel and any future books by this author. Remember, when judging a book by the reviews, click on the review writer's name to see what they thought of other books, it can be very enlightening.

51 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Very poor narration

Would you try another book from Peter F. Hamilton and/or John Lee?

I'd try another book from Peter F. Hamiltion, but I'll avoid John Lee in the future. I don't know if he is to blame or if the sound engineer is to blame, but the audio quality is terrible.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Very little tone or inflection. Poor pacing, poor accents. Inconsistent audio levels. Sentences start off loud with a pop and drift away to a mumble. Incredibly difficult to follow.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment in audible for allowing this through their quality control.

45 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Bad audio

Can't say much about the story since I stopped listening only a few minutes in. The poor audio quality made the narrator sound like he was speaking from the inside of a plastic bag that was in turn being repeatedly dunked in a puddle.

44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Excessive language and sexual content

Great SciFi when you can get to it. The excessive foul language and obsession with sexual content really detracts from the book. I also found myself frustrated with the extensive detail on things that simply don’t matter. At one point I actually yelled out loud while listening “Who cares?!” I would love it if someone would carve out the language, sex and stuffing. Do that and this book would really great SciFi book!

39 people found this helpful