Book Review – The Reality Dysfunction Part 2: Expansion

realitydysfunction2The Reality Dysfunction Part 2: Expansion is the second part of the first book in the Night’s Dawn trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton.  Both parts are available as one book in the Tor edition.

This book continues just as part 1 left off.  The familiar characters are all back to continue their rather perilous-looking adventures.  It continues to be gritty and is becoming darker now.  What’s impressed me about the story is that there are many threads, and they’re all starting to converge into one point.  In the beginning, they all seemed unrelated, but now they all have the same purpose, to try to figure out how to stop the expansion of this invasion into the world of the living.  Not only is this science fiction, it also has elements of horror.  This isn’t about zombies, but more like possession (don’t worry, this is all on the cover of the book).

The characters are incredible.  They consist mainly of the Edenists, those that are capable of a kind of telepathic communication with each other and their living spaceships and habitats, and the Adamists, who are more like regular humans.  This book focuses far more on Joshua Calvert, as well as one small group of unaffected humans on Lalonde lead by Father Horst Elwes, and Ione Saldana.  Syrinx is in this book far less than part 1, but I expect a big return in future books.  I’m really liking the pair of Joshua and Ione.  They’re both young and rich, Joshua is a bit reckless and daring, while Ione has a lot of responsibility and seems to handle it well.  Father Horst has to take many children under his wing and protect them from the invading dead.  There are many more characters, but these three stand out the most for me.  I must say that Joshua is showing quite a bit of depth.

Hamilton’s style of writing is very descriptive.  He uses a lot of technical terminology, but doesn’t make it difficult to understand.  He makes it easy to create an image in the mind of what is happening.  Lalonde itself is very much alive in my mind, as is Tranquillity.  I continue to be very impressed with this.

I have a big recommendation.  When reading this book, make sure you read it right after you finish part 1.  It was difficult to get back into the story after several months, as I’d forgotten who was who.  The cast of characters is so vast that it can be difficult to keep them all straight.  But after a bit, it was no trouble.

By the end of this book, some loose ends were tied up, but the main problem still exists.  I’m looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.  As with part 1, I recommend this very much to fans of science fiction and space operas.  I’d give this 5 out of 5 stars.  Great stuff!

Write to Live or Live to Write?

I came across this interesting article about self-publishing this morning when it was shared on Facebook.  It made me think about my priorities and expectations for writing.

Page 1 talks about the priorities of both self-published and traditionally published authors, as well as aspiring authors and hybrid authors.  I’m in the aspiring author category at this moment, so I’ll see how I compare.  One of my biggest priorities has been to achieve a lifelong ambition (more like a 14 year ambition).  I’ve been wanting to write a novel for 14 years, and finally started this year.  I don’t expect to make a living writing.  A lot of aspiring authors want that.  It would be nice, but I just want to get my story out there.  If I get picked up by a major publisher, great.  If not, I’ll be happy with self-publishing.

Page 2 shows the median number of published and unpublished manuscripts per author type.  It shows that aspiring authors tend to have around 4 unpublished manuscripts.  I have none finished, but 3 started.  One is for a non-fiction book I’d like to write, but is on the back-burner.  One is for a story I started during NaNoWriMo last year and found I had no time to write.  I’ll go back to it eventually.  It’s another story I’ve had planned for quite some time.  And the other one I’m currently working on and hope to have the next part ready for critiquing tomorrow.

Page 3 shows the income for each type of writer.  Interesting how even traditionally published authors often don’t have much income from writing.  I’m in the lowest group, having no income at all from writing.  But then, I haven’t published.  Well, technically, I am published, but for a travel magazine’s blog.  It’s unpaid, though.

So, why am I doing all of this if I don’t expect to get much money from it?  Well, I enjoy the process of writing stories, and I want to give people an interesting story to read.  I love creating.  For those of you who are writing, why do you write?  Do you want to make a living off of it, do you write just because you like it, or some other reason?  Please leave a comment.