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Sunday 12 July 2009

The Nano Flower

by Peter F Hamilton

The Nano Flower is the third book in the Greg Mandel series, set in a not-too-distant future following global warming, economic and political crises. The novel can be read as part of the series but also stands well by itself. Unlike some of Hamilton's more epic works, these stories are not quite so "hard" Science Fiction. They're more like murder mysteries and other crime tales, though set in a future world. Don't worry, hard SF fans will still enjoy the big ideas and big hardware, though they're not so up-front as in the Confederation or Commonwealth series.

The Nano Flower, like the previous two, features Greg Mandel, a psychic with artificially enhanced abilities who helps to solve crimes. This one has the additional feature of involving humans' first encounter with an alien species. This first contact is by no means conventional and certainly far from some of the clich├ęs in lesser tales. Characters are very real and very diverse. The new world is clearly painted; a recovering and hopeful one, following the Warming and its associated troubles.

Anyone who still thinks SF is full of cardboard characters, spaceships, bug-eyed monsters and girls in bikinis is in for a big shock: the genre has moved on and grown exponentially since the "B movie" days (where have you been for the last six decades?). I can highly recommend this and all of Hamilton's work for the great stories, great characters and huge ideas. Open your minds and find out what you've been missing.

The Nano Flower is available from Pan Books, ISBN 978-0-330-33044-2
See also Mindstar Rising (978-0-330-32376-8) and A Quantum Murder (978-0-330-33045-9).

Reviewed by Captain Black

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